Sunday, August 14, 2005

Admiring the triumphs of early 1980's science

Last night I was flipping channels, and stopped on the one showing Raise the Titanic. The premise of the movie is that a rare mineral which is only found in Russia was being shipped to New York on the Titanic when the ship sank. This rare mineral has unknown uses, but is believed that it can make the atomic bomb obsolete, which is reason enough to launch a full-scale project to (you guessed it) raise the Titanic.

I ended up watching this movie (or at least having it on in the background) for several reasons:
  • Obviously, this movie was made before the actual Titanic was found (in fact, it was discovered five years after the movie was released). But it was interesting to see what kind of assumptions they made about the condition of the ship, namely, that it was still in one piece.
  • Not having a multitude of reasons to justify the financial investment (which must have been huge) to undertake such a massive project. There might be a mineral on board that could put the US ahead in the arms race against the USSR. Good enough. No need to tack a whole lot of other reasons along side that one. (I can't remember what they were telling people about why they were doing it. Possibly, "just because" was the excuse.)
  • The USSR was the bad guy. It's nice to hearken back to an era where the bad guy was bad because of politics, and not because they were terrorists.
  • The overwhelming confidence that the technology of the time could accomplish the monstrous goal of raising the Titanic, despite current evidence that states otherwise. Everything was plausible, including filling the ballast tanks with foam and attaching explosive canisters to the hull in order to push it out of the bottom of the ocean and force it to the surface. It reminded me of a Robert Heinlein novel, in that any seemingly impossible task can be accomplished with the generous application of brainpower.
  • Most of all, the lamely cheesy (or cheesily lame) dialogue and special effects.
It wasn't a bad was to kill time on a Saturday night. Last weekend the movie channel was showing Airport and Reality Bites over and over. Airport was surprisingly good, in that it was able to maintain several simultaneous stories at the same time, and tying them all together in a nice, neat 1970's coloured package. Plus, George Kennedy rocks, in a cheesy sort of way.

Reality Bites sucked. I can't believe she went back to Troy.