Picks and Pans Review: Titanic: Anatomy of a Disaster
Man the lifeboats! Eighty-five years after it hit bottom on its maiden voyage, the Titanic is on a multimedia roll. Last fall it was a CBS miniseries. Getting ready for Broadway, a musical. And, coming this summer, a megamovie.
Let others exploit the catastrophe for spectacle or soap opera. This two-hour program, which covers an August 1996 scientific expedition to the North Atlantic site of the sinking, sponsored in part by the cable network, concentrates on such technical questions as whether the ship's hull began admitting water through one huge gash caused by an iceberg or a series of small holes.
If you were hoping for startling new evidence suggesting that the infamous berg was planted by terrorists—or a rival shipping line—you'll find the nautical investigation awfully dry, despite Martin Sheen's excited narration. But if you're a Titanic buff, you'll be fascinated by the deep-ocean photography, the sonar imaging, the computer modeling—even the stuff about iron-eating bacteria snacking on the wreckage. And when it shows archeologists painstakingly restoring ceramic figurines, the ship's whistles and passengers' personal effects for exhibit around the world, Titanic finally finds time for the human element.