John Woodhouse: The plans for 'Titanic II' have left me with a sinking feeling
WHILE some films lend themselves to sequels – Rocky XXV, in which the great all-American hero takes on an Iranian powerhouse, despite needing a chairlift to enter the ring, is out on Monday – others are less well suited to such treatment.
Ill-fated follow-ups include Grilling Nemo, Back With The Wind (sponsored by Gaviscon), and the XXX-rated Anna Karenina Does Leningrad.
But there's one film which always strikes me as being particularly unlikely – Titanic 2. Astoundingly, though, such cinematic nincompoopery does actually exist, telling not of Leonardo DiCaprio's 30 years trapped in a third class air bubble, but of a doomed plan to sail a replica of the infamous vessel across the Atlantic.
The viewing public obviously considered this scenario far-fetched as the film went straight to DVD. It's witnessed now only on obscure satellite channels by disbelieving insomniacs at 3am.
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One chap, though, has clearly not let such reaction put him off. Australian businessman Professor Clive Palmer last week unveiled plans for just such a ship.
Titanic II, a modern day replica of the original, will, he claims, plough the same transatlantic route from 2016. "Titanic II," he says, "is about falling in love with your wife all over again." Especially if she's gone a bit rusty and her bulkheads have failed.
Palmer plans to recreate the Titanic's grand staircase, Café Parisien, and Moorish-influenced Turkish baths. Authenticity is his byword. So it's possible he might want someone from Stoke-on-Trent to crash it.
As with the original, there'll be first, second and third class cabins, and passengers won't be allowed to mingle. It sounds fun until the point late on the fifth day when a strange grinding sensation is felt along the starboard side.
At 883ft, meanwhile, Titanic II will be longer than its predecessor to accommodate an additional area where passengers will be able to recreate that familiar Jack and Rose pose made famous by DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the Oscar-winning boating epic. How much longer Titanic II will be depends on the planks in stock at B&Q.
Palmer is convinced people will be falling over themselves to get on his new liner, much like they were to get off the old one. He reckons 40,000 have already expressed an interest in clambering aboard. I'm no expert, but surely that's going to put an almighty strain on the lifeboats.
Personally, I find the whole enterprise somewhat ghoulish. It'd be rather like holidaying on a floating graveyard – which I'll admit is a step up from caravanning.
You know how sometimes you get a feeling something's asking for trouble? Well this is just such an occasion. I've rarely felt the words 'ill-fated' to have ever been more apt. I'd say a result for a passenger on this cruise would be for the unpleasantness to stop at the Norovirus.
I mean, if you were offered a flight on an exact replica of the Hindenburg would you take it up? Or would you just pay for your spouse?
What about a weekend on a newly smouldering Krakatoa? Surely not. Although that would possibly be less trouble than Kavos.
I suppose Titanic II is just feeding off the growing penchant for so-called disaster tourism, the act of travelling to a disaster area as a matter of curiosity, a bit like spending a Sunday in Wolverhampton.
I won't be taking a berth. I see this venture as being like my mum's mince pies – better off left. If you want that sinking feeling, there's a much cheaper alternative – just watch Prime Minister's Question Time.