Dick De Jong
December 8, 2012
On the 100th anniversary of the unthinkable sinking of the unsinkable sun king of ocean liners comes Titanic: Blood & Steel, a 12 episode (634 minute) mini-series.
Rather than focusing on the ill-fated maiden voyage, this opus begins in 1909 and centers around the building of this massive ship in Belfast, Ireland, a town teeming with labor disputes, political upheaval, religious factions and social unrest.
Though if you are looking for an historically accurate documentary, Blood & Steel is not it, as the show takes minor and major poetic license with the facts.
Of course, like any mini-series worth its salt, Blood & Steel, supplies numerous personal intrigues and love stories (unrequited, lost, and found).
The story revolves around the brash Dr. Mark Muir, (Kevin Zegars), a metallurgist, who is hired by J.P. Morgan, (Chris Noth with a brushy mustache), to advise on the construction of the riveted steel structure.
Also highlighting the cast are the inimitable Derek Jacobi, who plays Lord Pirie, the chairman of the shipyard, and the luminous Alessandra Mastronardi, as Sofia Silvestri, the draftswoman who catches Muir's eye when they first meet.
This period piece is beautifully rendered. The set design, art direction and exquisite costumes keep your eyes entertained even when the pace of the story slows.
The Blu-ray of Blood & Steel looks remarkable on a big screen. Shot digitally, the detail is fabulous without being artificially sharp and the lighting is great.
The Blu-ray offers two bonus featurettes, "The Visual Effects of Titanic: Blood & Steel" and "The Making of..."
Having written about the visual effects in the James Cameron Titanic movie, I was more interested in the story of how Windmill Lane VFX Ltd in Ireland digitally recreated not only the ship itself, but also how the artists virtually rebuilt the expansive Harland and Wolff shipyard.
To be fair, the "Making of" segment does furnish interesting behind the scenes insights from the director and crew.
Finally, if Titanic: Blood & Steel sounds familiar, this Italian/Irish co-production that was shot in Serbia and Dublin, has aired on various international networks as well as Starz and Encore in the United States.
Studio: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Director: Ciarán Donnelly
Cast: Kevin Zegers, Alessandra Mastronardi, Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell, Chris Noth, Ophelia Lovibond, Massimo Ghini, Billy Carter, Branwell Donaghey
Length: 634 minutes
Rated: Not Rated
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH and Spanish