Titanic: Blood & Steel Review Blu-Ray Review

It’s a safe bet that everyone knows the tragic story of the sinking of the Titanic by now. Lord knows James Cameron has released enough versions of his fictionalized account of the disaster-turned-love-story, but Titantic: Blood & Steel takes a more profound, and in my opinion, far more interesting look at the creation of this infamous ship in this 3-disc set that brings all 634 minutes of the original miniseries to stunning Blu-ray.

Much like Cameron’s opus, this miniseries blends real-life characters and events with fictionalized trappings to create a more compelling and entertaining drama lest the series devolve into a how-to-build-a-boat documentary. The timeline is quite thorough as we begin at the beginning with metallurgist, Dr. Mark Muir (Kevin Zegers) who joins the ranks at Harland and Wolff in Belfast to research and create the new steel that will be used for the new White Star ships. Muir will soon find himself working with various other individuals such as Lord Pirrie (Derek Jacobi), J.P. Morgan (Chris Noth), Sofia (Alessandro Mastronardi), the prerequisite love interest, and the ship architect, Thomas Andrews (Billy Carter).

The story not only revolves around the building of the ship but the people who built it, mostly dealing with the various class distinctions, both socially and religious, creating a unique parallel of Protestants vs. Catholics to the rich vs. the poor. These class issues become front and center when Jim Larkin (Liam Cunningham) comes in to champion the working class. While there is a surprisingly large number of historically real characters and situations, much of the drama is heavily fictionalized, and other supporting characters are tossed into history to keep things freshly dramatic such as the New York Times Writer, Joanna Yaeger (Neve Campbell).

The story wanders at times and the pacing is a bit off as you get into middle third of the 10+ hour event, but there are enough characters and side plots to keep you interested until the inevitable climax. But it is a long and unpredictable road, so make sure to spread your viewing out over several days, much like the original presentation. For those looking for a story about the ship, keep in mind this miniseries deals with just about everything but, and the Titanic is merely a backdrop for a lot of human drama unfolding around it.

To their credit, the cast performs admirably despite a script that stumbles on occasion, and the overall production value is tremendous with great locations, incredible wardrobe, and mostly seamless CG effects for virtual sets and period effects. The 1080p AVC transfer looks great while preserving the 1.78:1 original aspect ratio. Contrast is good, colors are realistic, and the detail levels are razor sharp. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix is functional and mostly underutilized with the exception of a few of the larger scenes around the shipyards and such. Those are immersive, but for the most part this is a front and center, dialogue driven experience, and as such I have no complaints.

For those looking for more after the 10+ hour drama you won’t find much in the way of bonus features; just two relatively short features including The Making of Titanic: Blood and Steel, and The Visual Effects of Titanic: Blood and Steel, that cover the production of the film and the use of CG visual effects.

The title and even the DVD cover art is a bit misleading in that viewers might think they are getting another shipboard drama that unfolds onboard the infamous cruise ship, but in reality what you end up with is a lot of interesting drama about the people involved in the creation of the Titanic as well as an unique look into the class and religious distinctions of the period. Not many miniseries ever achieve, let alone maintain a film-worthy presentation throughout, but Titanic: Blood & Steel does just that from start to fateful finish.


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