The Legend of the Titanic is a full-length animation loosely based on the infamous Titanic disaster, specifically the then-recent hit Titanic. It was released in 1999, produced in Italy by Mondo TV and animated in South Korea by Hahn Shin Corporation and in North Korea by SEK Studio. Impressively enough, this movie is not the only Italian animated film featuring talking mice on the Titanic where nobody dies - there's also the other Titanic cartoon called Titanic: The Legend Goes On, which this film is not to be confused with.
The plot is set on a voyage of the RMS Titanic, and concerns the romance between a Duke's daughter, Elizabeth, and a Romani prince who calls himself Don Juan. Maltravers (called Baron Vandertilt in the dub of the sequel) is the unscrupulous owner of a whale hunting company, who wishes to own whaling rights of all seas owned by Elizabeth's father. He intends to marry Elizabeth, and then make her father to sign over all whaling rights to him. Oh, and then he intends to cover his tracks by sinking the Titanic afterwards. Talking mice, dogs and undersea animals make an appearance.
Unlike that other Titanic cartoon, though, this one actually has a sequel called In Search of the Titanic, also titled Tentacolino, which takes place three years after the first installment. In Search of the Titanic has little screen time for the actual Titanic ship and most of it takes place in Atlantis. It also features some musical numbers which compete with those in Titanic: The Legend Goes On. It also got a Sequel Series called Fantasy Island; as that never aired outside of Italy and North Korea, it's far more obscure, though the production company has uploaded all the episodes to YouTube.
The movie was produced by Mondo TV, who prior to making this helped co-produce the anime The Story of Cinderella with Tatsunoko. Later, they would go on to produce the cartoon Angel's Friends.
Both films provide examples of the following tropes:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: CG models sometimes appear, most commonly seen during long-distance shots of the Titanic, but also elsewhere in the first film and ocean in the second.
- Accidental Pun: Smiley belongs to an Andalusian prince, and is therefore an Andalusian dog.
- Animals Not to Scale: Tentacles is far larger than any real life octopus. The largest real life octopus, the North Pacific giant octopus, has a maximum size of roughly 600 pounds in weight with a thirty-foot arm span. Depending on the scene, Tentacles is either about three times the size of a great white shark or almost as big as the Titanic itself. He's also stated at one point to be a "kid", suggesting that the adults of his species are even larger.
- Artistic License – History: Everyone survives the sinking. It can be assumed that in this film's universe, Titanic had enough lifeboats for all souls onboard. Interestingly, Harland & Wolff designer Alexander Carlisle originally proposed 64 lifeboats for the Olympic-class liners before being overruled by White Star’s managing director Bruce Ismay.
- Artistic License – Marine Biology:
- Tentacles has a canine muzzle, as opposed to the hard beak all octopuses have.
- The sharks being able to overpower a killer whale. In real life, killer whales will occasionally prey on sharks.
- Artistic License – Physics: For starters, unlike what the first movie depicts, icebergs don't sink. Speaking of said iceberg, the sharks keeping the Titanic from dodging it was pointless because the ship had too much momentum to swerve in time. All they accomplished was putting themselves in unnecessary danger.
- Big Bad: Maltravers in the first film, who goes so far as sinking the ship in order to keep up his whaling business.
- Disneyfication: A grossly extreme example. In the first film, the ship is rescued from sinking by a giant octopus atoning for having chucked the iceberg in the ship's way in the first place. And everyone survives, even the captain and the band. The only possible saving throw is the ending, which implies that the narrator of the story, as a sailor, exaggerates and makes up stuff. This does absolutely nothing to excuse the sequel, which involves mermaids, Atlantis, talking toys, and evil mice.
- Eyepatch of Power:
- Baron Maltravers, the primary antagonist of the first film wears an eye patch and he's a baron.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Elizabeth is a kind, pure-hearted girl with golden blonde hair.
- Heroic Dolphin: The talking dolphins that are trying to stop the evil whalers and sharks.
- Inconsistent Dub: The cast's names are changed and even shuffled around between installments. Most blatant is Tentacles becoming "Oddy" and then going back to Tentacles.
- Ms. Fanservice: Elizabeth has a curvaceous build and tends to wear outfits that show off her cleavage (which would've been scandalous in the 1910s).
- Recurring Riff: The melody of Ocean of Dreams is heard in both both movies and TV series throughout.
- Simpleton Voice: Jeffrey, Maltravers' assistant speaks with goofy voice. He's also not the brightest characters out there.
- Super Strength: Tentacles (known as Oddy in Tentacolino) is strong enough to throw icebergs and even move the entire Titanic.
- Talking Animal: Unlike in that other Titanic cartoon, humans and animals have no problem communicating with each other. At first, it appears that the heroine Elizabeth has been given a special magical gift due to being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing by accident (namely, shedding a tear at night over the rail of the ship causing it to catch the moonlight); but soon afterwards, we see that other human characters have no problems speaking with animals either. Don Juan in particular is supposed to be able to understand the animals because his soul is in tune with Elizabeth's.
- Threatening Shark: Evil jailbird Sharks prevented the Titanic from swerving around the iceberg.note
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Dolphins and whales = good. Sharks = bad. Tentacles/Oddy, an octopus, is also given a head that resembles a dog version of Casper the Friendly Ghost because the idea of a hideous or bizarre-looking good guy is unthinkable. In the sequel, clams are also evil - they serve as back up singers for and congratulate the shark - even though they look like generic cartoony bivalves.
The Legend of the Titanic provides examples of the following tropes:
- Aborted Arc:
- At one point, Don Juan tells the mice that the only people they can trust are his Roma friends, and that they should search the ship with them to try and uncover Maltravers' evil plot. The friends are never brought up again after this scene.
- Earlier in the film, Maltravers orders his henchman to follow Don Juan and find out everything that he can about him, out of concern that Juan and Elizabeth have fallen in love (by smiling at each other once before boarding the ship). This doesn't go anywhere.
- Adaptational Alternate Ending: In contrast to real life, everyone survives the disaster in the end.
- Animal Jingoism: The film features perhaps one of the most ludicrous examples of the usual Heroic Dolphin vs Threatening Shark dichotomy. Sharks aren’t just villains in this setting, but they are also evil convicts who personally orchestrated the demise of the Titanic, while dolphins didn’t just try everything in their power to save thousands of people that they didn’t even know, but they are also magical!
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted with Elizabeth and her father, but played straight with her stepmother.
- Arranged Marriage: Elizabeth's father arranges her to be wed to Maltravers, which she is against.
- The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: Ronnie. He loves soccer, is good at playing soccer, and mentions feijoada carioca at one point in the film.
- Captain Ersatz: There are a few. Thankfully the designs are much better than the ones in the other Titanic cartoon, but one could easily figure out who everyone is based on. Specifically, Elizabeth is one of Rose, Don Juan is Jack, Maltravers is Cal, and Rachel is Ruth.
- Covers Always Spoil: The Everybody Lives ending is openly spoiled on the back of the DVD in order to reassure parents that this story is family-friendly.
- Dance Party Ending: When the narrator finishes telling the story.
- Dirty Old Man: One may assume Maltravers was this to Elizabeth, but he's only interested in the whaling rights; he actually has no apparent interest in her at all.
- Disney Death: Two times, neither explained.
- Everybody Lives: Yup. Even the captain, and the band, and the ship.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: And news at the end showed that yellow journalism was already active during that point of time.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Elizabeth and Stella have matching ones.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Subverted in that it turns out that they aren't really dead, but we have a mouse who basically gets his brain fried by electric currents and an octopus who gets crushed by the Titanic itself. And it's all shown onscreen. Yeech. Made ironic by the fact that the " everybody lives" ending was openly spoiled in promotions for the film and on the DVD box in order to emphasize the film being more family friendly than other tellings of the disaster.
- Fantastic Racism: "There's one thing I'm not, and that's a racist." is remarked by a mouse who is teased for having has a crush on a human woman. Also a Non Sequitur.
- Flashback: Most of the film is told as a story one of the mice is telling his grandkids.
- Flat Character: Don Juan has next to no personality outside of being Elizabeth’s Love Interest. Stealing and sniffing her glove is the most character he gets.
- Fluffy Fashion Feathers: The ostrich plumes in Rachel's hat and the hats of many of the background women.
- Flying Seafood Special: The dolphins that talk to Elizabeth have the ability to float for a short time in midair.
- Going Down with the Ship: The captain of the ship decides to go down with Titanic, but Tentacles won't have it.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Many women are depicted with beautiful dresses. Some characters are shown in more than one of such as well.
- Green Aesop: Against dolphin/whale hunting, to the extent that the evil whaler is the reason the Titanic sank.
- Grow Old with Me: Top Connors and Stella seem to have been married a long time after the events of the movie. Both of them are still alive at least 80 years later! Mondo TV's website states that the young mice are their great-grandchildren. Ronnie is said to have gone back to Brazil, but it is unknown if he's alive or not.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Elizabeth is the blonde and kind female heroine.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Maltravers rants to the Duke that he needs the latter’s “aristocratic John Hancock”, especially since it sounds like he’s saying "hand cock".
- Heroic Sacrifice: Two times. But both characters have an Unexplained Recovery.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Maltravers, Rachel, Jeffrey, and Rachel's sister leave in a lifeboat just before the Titanic hits the iceberg. Maltravers planned to have Mr. Ice guide them to his whaling ships. But Mr. Ice was defeated, and his message never went out, and thus they are left to be drowned at sea, although Maltravers and Jeffery are alive in the sequel without explanation of how they survived.
- Impossibly-Low Neckline: Elizabeth's red dress has a neckline that is very low for the time period. Same goes for her stepmother.
- The Ingenue: Elizabeth.
- Innocently Insensitive: The captain proposes a toast to the soon-to-be-engaged Maltravers and Elizabeth, unaware that Elizabeth despises Maltravers.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Out of all the insults that Elizabeth uses to describe Maltravers, the only one that her father seems to take issue with is "old".After all, he's barely forty. She irritably changes it to "middle aged".
- Kraken and Leviathan: Tentacles is a cutesy version. He’s basically if you combined the Kraken with Casper the Friendly Ghost.
- Lens Flare: During CG flybys.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to most media takes on the Titanic and even the other animated Titanic movie.
- Love at First Sight: Don Juan falls for Elizabeth after just smelling her glove.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Elizabeth can talk to animals because her tear was caught in a net of magic moonlight, and the initial magic was enhanced by the dolphins. However, Maltravers's henchman can talk to the sharks, and the captain can talk to Tentacles.
- Meaningful Name:
- Tentacles is an octopus,
- Mr. Ice is a shark that lives in a cold environment.
- Baron Maltravers is a noble title.
- Don Juan is named after Lord Byron's romanticist hero of the same name.
- Mood Whiplash: The group of mice try to fix the telegraph by having one of the mice use their mustache to connect the wires with hilarious results of the signal going through but then he appears to die.
- Mouse World: While the humans are doing their thing, there's an entire secondary crew made of mice (including a mouse captain) who are doing their thing below decks. They spend a lot of time going over ship protocol.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Mice sabotage the telegraph on the ship to prevent Maltravers from sending the "open season" message to his whaling fleet. Unfortunately, this later prevents the Titanic from calling for help after it strikes the iceberg.
- The animators of North Korea's SEK Studio have quite a few problems regarding perspective at several different scenes. Most obvious ones are some of the objects or character not having a consistent size.
- Connor's model changes slightly here and there, missing whiskers, and having different ear and facial shapes.
- Perverted Sniffing: Don Juan takes a good whiff of Elizabeth's glove.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Quite a few fancy dresses are worn by the upper class ladies, all full of fancy fabrics and trimmings.
- Plot Hole: In the present day, how did Connors obtain the whistle the whalers use to contact Mr. Ice? How did he even know who Mr. Ice is? They never met.
- Pretty in Mink: Some of the first class ladies are wearing fur trimmed coats when they board the ship.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The filmmakers seemed to think they needed to invent a reason for why the Titanic didn't simply go around the iceberg. Mr. Ice tells the other sharks that they'll hold the rudder with their teeth to keep it from turning.note
- Rich Bitch: Rachel is an upper-class woman who is rude to Elizabeth.
- Right-Hand Cat Rachel and her sister have cats that they often hold.
- Satellite Character: Rachel's sister has an identical personality to Rachel herself, and does little aside from collaborating with the villains. She only speaks twice in the film (both times in unison with Rachel), and only once do any of the other characters acknowledge she exists.
- She's a Man in Japan: Tentacles’ killer whale friend Orcy is a female in the original Italian dub, called Orca. This makes the scene where Ice’s goons drag her into a shipwreck kicking and screaming way, way creepier.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Anyone who is associated in any way with the sinking of the ship.
- Swiss-Army Tears: Here, in conjunction with moonlight, they help Elizabeth to understand dolphins. Although other characters seem to understand them too.
- Too Dumb to Live: Tentacles. Firstly, he is easily duped by Ice and his gang into throwing an iceberg in the path of the Titanic, despite his friends’ warnings and Ice’s bad rap. Secondly, after being told the truth, he runs off to sulk in his cave instead of simply swimming up and moving the iceberg out of the way. Lastly, after saving every last passenger (including the captain) he still clings on to the Titanic as it goes under and gets crushed to death! Though he still somehow survives that.
- Trrrilling Rrrs: "But rrrememberrr, not all that glitterrrs is gold!"
- Unexplained Recovery: Camembert (the mouse who got electrocuted) and Tentacles, who was shown lying at the bottom of the seafloor, both miraculously make it back.
- Unreliable Narrator: This was implied (whether or not on purpose) at the end of the movie, when Top Connors, the grandfather mouse, finishes telling his grandchildren the story. His wife Stella (who had also been on the Titanic as a passenger) tells the kids that "your grandfather loves to tell stories, but like all sailors you must not take everything he says seriously."note
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight
- None of the passengers seem to notice or care that a bunch of anthropomorphic mice are having a big dance party on deck in the middle of the film.
- That giant talking octopus appearing in the Hudson River doesn't seem to catch any media attention.
- Urine Trouble: Smiley piddles on an officer's shoe.
- Villainous Crush: Subverted. One may assume Maltravers has one for Elizabeth, but he's only interested in the whaling rights; he actually has no apparent interest in her at all.
- Voodoo Shark: Or Voodoo Dolphins. The explanation for why Elizabeth can talk to dolphins doesn't explain why she can talk to mice, or cephalopods for that matter.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- The introduction indicates that the film will feature some explanation of why the Titanic is remembered as sinking with tremendous loss of life, and even provides an easy way out by hinting that there's some magic that can turn people into dolphins. But no, the passengers simply arrive safely in New York City, with no explanation of why it's remembered as such as disaster.
- Ice and his gang, who were last seen fighting the dolphins, completely disappear after Tentacles frees Orcy and sends the three shark guards flying. Maltravers also tells his group that Ice will personally guide them to safety, but Ice never shows up, leading to their Laser-Guided Karma. Though given that Tentacles is a colossal octopus, it’s likely Ice and his goons went Screw This, I'm Out of Here!.
- How did Connors get that whistle?
- What happened to Don Juan's entourage?
- Whole Costume Reference: Some of Elizabeth's dresses are very close to Rose's. The scene in which she's first introduced is even a shot-for-shot replica of Rose's!
- Wicked Stepmother: Elizabeth's stepmother Rachel, who is much crueler than the stepmother from the other Titanic cartoon. Rachel is in league with Maltravers, wants Elizabeth to marry him, and even betrays her husband to Maltravers. She also has a cat named Lucifer. Rachel escapes with Maltravers after he sinks the ship. Makes you wonder why she didn't just leave her husband and marry Maltravers.Elizabeth: (to Rachel) If Mr. Maltravers is so important to you, then you marry him!
- Your Size May Vary:
- Most notably, Tentacles, who starts off about three times the size of the dolphins and sharks, then just a few scenes later is almost as big as the Titanic itself.
- Likewise in the Framing Story, those are either really small skyscrapers or really huge mice.
In Search of the Titanic provides examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Don Juan's eyes in the first movie were blue, but they change to gray here.
- Ambiguous Gender: Beyachio's voice could be thought of either way, young male or young female. Never outright stated as to which is true due to no pronouns being used.
- Ambiguously Gay: Pingo, the toy fish adviser to the King of Atlantis, talks in a stereotypical gay lisp and has a flamboyant personality and fondness for putting on various garish costumes.
- Animate Inanimate Object:
- There are Living Toys which were rescued by the Atlanteans,
- There's a living throne for Re, the king of Atlantis. The throne moves around so that Re has an easy way of sitting down.
- Near the end of the movie, Pingo becomes friends with a living screwdriver.
- Anachronism Stew:
- The submarine looks more modern than the one in 1915.
- Some of the toys in Atlantis look more like modern toys (especially the Barbie-esque dolls - one of them is even wearing Barbie's original 1950s swimsuit) than toys that existed at the time.
- Apparently Human Merfolk: A large part of the population of Atlantis are very humanlike in appearance. Some have colorful skin tones or technicolor hair.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Baron Maltravers regularly does business with talking, gangster sharks, but finds the idea of them fighting Fish People from Atlantis to be "ridiculous".
- Atlantis: Where most of the events take place in the sequel.
- Bag of Holding: Pingo's box holds way more clothing than it should be able to.
- Black Comedy: Supposedly the scene where the rats are in the insane asylum.
- Black Comedy Rape: The sumo rat grabs one of the nurses and forcefully kisses her.
- Boastful Rap: Mr. Ice, the shark leader from the first movie, raps about himself being the terror of the sea. About halfway, the genre of the song changes.
- Captain Obvious: When preparing for the war, Don Juan says "All we have to do is win".
- Chickification: In the first film, Elizabeth was assertive and willing to speak her mind, but here, she’s reduced to Don Juan’s passive wife who does nothing but follow him and agree with everything he says. She hardly even gets much dialogue.
- Clamshells as Mouths: Mr. Ice's Villain Song is accompanied by a group of clams whose shells open and close to imitate mouth movements as they sing.
- Continuity Snarl: This film directly contradicts the first film in many ways, and the ending is such that conflicts with the entirety of it.
- Cool Chair: The walking throne which the king (Re) has, which can shapeshift to a moving form so that he can walk behind the king.
- Crapsaccharine World: Atlantis is an accidental example. It's a utopia where its inhabitants - human or otherwise - are rescued, nurtured, and live in a city-sized Gilded Cage.
- The Dandy: Pingo is very concerned about his clothing and the way he looks.
- Demoted to Extra:
- Both Maltravers and the Duke of Camden; the former only appears in three scenes, never interacts with the main characters, and has little purpose in the movie; while the latter only gets to appear in one scene and doesn't even get any dialogue.
- Elizabeth mainly appears in the background, has maybe 5 lines, and is only really featured in the beginning and at the end. And she is the main character in the first movie.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: One of the soldier toys has a feminine appearance. When this is pointed out, he gets upset and makes it clear that he's a boy.
- Electric Jellyfish: A rather interesting example. Jellyfish are used by Mr. Ice to send telegraphed messages to Baron Maltravers.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: The male characters seem romantically interested in the blonde Elizabeth, despite her being married to Don Juan.
- The Faceless: Re the king wears a robe that hides his face.
- Face Palm: A "facetentacle" happens when the shark finishes his musical number.
- Fate Worse than Death: The rats are committed to an insane asylum and the head doctor announces that they'll stay there forever, with a menacing voice and pointy teeth no less. Oh, and the protagonists aren't feeling the slightest bit of guilt or sympathy either.
- Gender Equals Breed: Smiley meets a female dog who is a poodle.
- Happily Married: Don Juan and Elizabeth are shown to be in a loving marriage.
- Hypocritical Humor: Razorteeth, who hates the color yellow, has yellow on his captain suit.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: A variant. When the heroes are told to drink the elixir, Don Juan says that if the Atlanteans wanted to hurt them, they wouldn't have saved them.
- Improbable Age: Top Connors and Ronny were originally in their teens or twenties, but they somehow de-age in the sequel due to sounding younger. Either that or they were gender bent.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: It seems that the Atlantians have these missiles, which can electrocute and make one forget what is going on. This is used at the climax, to make Baron Maltravers and his forces forget what they doing in the Atlantic Ocean in the first place…
- Living Toys: Some of the denizens of Atlantis are living toys. It's explained that they came here because the ships they were on failed to make their crossing.
- Love at First Sight: Smiley and poodle immediately fall in love after seeing each other for the first time.
- The Masquerade: Inhabitants of Atlantis don't want their city to be revealed.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Beyachio is essentially a manta ray and an otter mixed together along with a warm color scheme.
- No Name Given: The female dog and the red dolphin not referred to by name, nickname, or title, making their name unknown. The female dog's name is revealed to be Chantilly in Fantasy Island
- Our Mermaids Are Different: For one thing, their king, Re is completely hidden in his robed outfit.
- Put on a Bus: Stella and Rachel are never seen or mentioned at all the movie.
- Scenery Porn: A lot of shots at Atlantis are very well-drawn, showing buildings and gardens in detail.
- Secondary Character Title: Tentacolino, or Tentacles the giant octopus, is not the main character and is Out of Focus for a good part of the movie.
- Shaking the Rump: It goes by pretty quick, but the showgirls do this during the rave musical number.
- Spring Coil: Pingo moves around using a coil.
- Stockholm Syndrome: The protagonists have no resentment at all towards the people of Atlantis after they were tricked into drinking the Elixir of Life, which forces them to stay in Atlantis for the rest of their lives. Throughout the rest of the movie, they continue to worry about a plot to overthrow Atlantis, but apparently have forgotten their friends and family.
- Technical Pacifist: Atlanteans are mostly pacifistic but are willing to fight against enemies if they must.
- Tempting Fate: "Honestly, there really isn't anything to worry about." Then sharks arrive.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Don Juan, who drinks a strange liquid because it looks pretty. He also never once questions any dubious events that happen.
- Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Don Juan is rather unkind to Smiley in this movie, repeatedly scolding him for complaining.
- Villain Decay: In the first film, Maltravers and the sharks were portrayed as sinister, genuinely threatening villains, capable of planning the Titanic's demise. However, in this film, they are portrayed in a more foolish, light-hearted way (the shark's leader even getting a rap).
- Villain Song: In this case, it is a shark in the second film who gets to sing.