Titanic: reviews

Reviews from the UK aren't exactly agreed on ITV's new Titanic miniseries.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding Julian Fellowes’ Titanic, but reviews from the UK aren’t exactly agreed on the ITV series.

The Telegraph:
The opening scenes were filled with a kind of wonder, as the passengers arrived for this magical voyage. The setting was handsome, the acting efficient. But the characters were never given time to develop, partly because the ship was speeding too fast towards its date with fate. No sooner were they on board and eating scones or sipping whisky than they were rushing towards the lifeboats. Bizarrely, however, the collision with the iceberg was curiously undramatic – represented by a bit of water in the engine room – as was the chaos that ensued. There was both too much and too little to concentrate on, and no-one to care about. If I were forced to judge Titanic on this one episode alone, I’d call it a damp squib – but having seen part two, I can assure you it gets better.

The Guardian:
In an innovative, but not entirely successful move, viewers will watch the boat begin to sink at the end of each episode, as Fellowes retells the story from different characters’ viewpoints. Who survives the tragedy, however, is not revealed until the final episode. The effect is sometimes confusing, with multiple story arcs overlapping, and the action both repeating and at times moving at such a pace that it threatens to leave viewers struggling to empathise with characters they have only just met. The dialogue too sometimes leans towards the “Shouldn’t we be careful of icebergs?” school of exposition – which viewers of the sometimes clumsy second series of Downton may recognise. Starring Linus Roache, Geraldine Somerville, Toby Jones and Celia Imrie, the production was filmed on an enormous set in Hungary, where a portion of the ship was re-created. The actors, swaddled in wool coats against the supposed Arctic winds, in fact found themselves sweating as they filmed the rush for lifeboats on the deck of the ship.

But another Guardian article says:
This leaves Julian Fellowes free to concentrate on what he’s good at: intricate class study. On board a ship this is a wonderfully literal business, with the servants of the first-class passengers a cringingly superb example of upward mobility. We also get an interesting interplay between nationalities: no one wants to be dubbed Irish, the Americans feel superior but are aggrieved that they’re looked down on, and the English and Scots want to stick together. As a phenomenon, it’s very watchable. Not least for the costumes which are stunning. And the hats … The hats! Perhaps less reassuringly fun is the existence of no less than 82 characters. I’m not sure EastEnders has had that many in its 27-year existence – and this is a four-part drama. At least whatever happens there can’t be a second series. As Fellowes has quipped: “It would have to be directed by Jacques Cousteau.”

As a steward slams the grilles on the third-class passengers, first-class ladies bicker about the seating arrangements in the lifeboats. And, because viewers will have to wait for next week for the more interesting overlaps to reveal themselves, it looks for now like a conventional telling of the story rather than a revelatory one. It has miraculously speedy romances, villainous plutocrats and relishable moments of Edwardian stiff upper lip. “First I will change into something more gentlemanly,” declares Benjamin Guggenheim calmly, as the saloon starts to tilt, “then we will wait upon events.” A fine moment, but as any Titanorak will know, life supplied that scene, not Mr Fellowes. We still have to see whether he can invent anything as good.

The four parter is expected to air on Seven next month.

12 Responses

  1. I saw the first episode because I was keen (like MuchoTB) to see Linus Roache, Jenna-Louise Coleman and also Toby Jones. Strangely, for a drama where things happen really quickly the whole thing was immensely boring. Without any bias, Roache was absolutely the best thing about the first episode.

    Having said that, I do kind of want to know what is going to happen, so I’ll be watching this one to the end, I think, which I suppose indicates that series does indeed have appeal.

  2. Having seen part one and two of the upcoming four-part mini-series, I can assure you all that you’re in for a treat. Each episode, except the last, follows different characters told from their point of view, that will end in a cliff-hanger as the ship begins to sink. The fourth and final episode will draw all the stories together and reveal which of the characters survived. It might seem a bit confusing at first, but once you watch episode two, it will all make sense. I think it’s definitely a great television drama, especially with the storyline’s moving at a reasonable pace. It doesn’t lag like most television dramas do. Hope you will all enjoy!!

  3. I am looking forward to this. However this could be bad for Seven although Seven knows how to promote a show. The promo they have produced with that Florence and The Machine song is amazing. However if the first episode is a dud then viewers may switch off in droves too. Seven has to be careful here because that week is going to be a strong one for Nine.

  4. Don’t think I’ll bother with this. I’ve just seen the 1997 movie The Titanic at the flicks premier in 3D…this was well worth watching…..and I’ll probably see it again…..

  5. I found it a bit boring, and the acting wasn’t that good in the first part. As you know the first 3 parts revolve around 3 different stories and the 4th brings them together, maybe it will get better?

    That said giving the subject and 100th anv it will probably still rate it’s head off for Seven.

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