Australian billionaire Clive Palmer recently announced creating the Titanic II, his grandiose plan to recreate the Titanic. Yes, the ill-fated ocean liner, best known for sinking on its maiden voyage in 1912 and propelling Kate Winslet and Leonard DiCaprio to mega-stardom in 1997, is gonna have another go. Palmer’s plans call for a $500 million check, a Chinese shipyard where they’ll build the thing (so that, like all our products, it will read “Made in China”), and a general suspension of disbelief.
Titanic II will be an exact replica, including the Grand Staircase, a dress code befitting 1912, no Internet, and three classes of accommodations: first (where tickets are going for a reasonable $1 million), second (borrring, you’re either a Rose or a Jack, make a decision), and steerage (where the real beer and silly times are). There is one important difference to note: Titanic II will have enough lifeboats this time. It’s never too late to right a wrong — apparently all you had to do was tread icy water for 91 years.
The Titanic II represents a spectacular, comical waste of money and a particularly unique form of bad taste, but I can’t knock it completely because it has inspired me to think of other things that should not be recreated or re-imagined. Turns out relaunching a very sinkable unsinkable ship is just one item on a longer list of things better left in the past:
1. Hindenburg II
Hindenburg II would be bigger, sexier, and less flammable.
If Titanic II is successful, then Hindenburg II is a natural spin-off destined for greatness – like how Joey was to Friends. While the original Hindenburg wasn’t quite up to snuff (it infamously caught fire and crashed in 1937), Hindenburg II would be the clunky metallic airship of your dreams, chugging along at a manageable 75 mph, and perhaps inspiring this generation’s Led Zeppelin. If Titanic II and Hindenburg II are commercial successes, we just may have a burgeoning franchise on our hands.
Of course what follows is to combine all the greatest super-disasters and, like The Avengers, repackage them for today’s audience. For just $4 million/person, the ultimate disaster experience can be yours: you board Hindenburg II, which launches but subsequently catches on fire and flops onto Titanic II; this causes the ship to sink, so you slingshot over to Lusitania II, which just happens to be cruising by; just as Lusitania II is torpedoed by the Germans, Tony Stark descends from the heavens, scoops you up, and deposits you at Base Camp 3 of Mount Everest, where you almost disappear Into Thin Air before finding the legendary Tower of Babel among the clouds and sliding gracefully down into a debt of $4 million. Plus interest.
2. The Oregon Trail a.k.a Carol Ann has dysentery
That's gross, Carol Ann.
If we’re recreating authentic, historical experiences, then the epic migration from East to West has to make the cut. Most of us are familiar with the Oregon Trail because of the MECC computer game, but this is different. This is real. No Internet, no maps, no rules … just the best medicine that 1849 can offer.
Throw away your cell phone, tell your boss you’ll be out of the office for the next 7 months, and find a pair of really sturdy boots. You’ll cough up — a metaphoric cough, not like the real one you’ll have when you contract typhoid — a fair sum of money for a wagon, six oxen, and rations for your companions. But don’t get too cozy with your trailmates. If you make it to California, you’ll arrive with a completely different group of people than the one you started with. Maybe you should’ve sprung $20 to hire that guide to take your party across the Kansas River instead of caulking the wagon, because Jacob floated downstream and we haven’t seen him in 30 days! Carol Ann got dysentery (no, you don’t just get that from Taco Bell, Carol Ann!), Antonia got really tired so we left her behind, and we had to put Benjamin down after he broke his leg. Sorry, but we’re revisiting something special, so if you do die of a broken arm, just know that you went down swinging. So to speak. If you want the most American experience that money can buy, grab that spare wagon axle and hit the dusty trails. Break a leg! Um… well, you know what I mean.
3. Movie sequels
With the exception of The Dark Knight (and a few choice scenes in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York), sequels are regarded as inferior to the original. Below is a brief glimpse at a slate of films that do not need to be remade, but would probably be shown in the screening room on Titanic II:
Gigli II: The Return of the Original Bennifer – they’re giving their love another shot. This time, he’s a two-time Oscar winner, and she’s a thrice-married divorcee. I smell big opening weekend.
Birth of a Nation —this was scary enough the first time. We don’t need to see a sequel, an explosive Michael Bay reboot, or the Extended Klan’s cut.
Titanic II – Couldn’t resist. In this straight-to-DVD non-classic, fate gives our star-crossed lovers Jack a second chance. This time, they dock safely in NYC as Jack and Rose Dawson, ready to commit to a life together. Forty-five minutes later, Rose realizes she actually knows nothing about Jack and that he hasn’t showered in several weeks. She leaves Jack in the middle of a Statue of Liberty tour and checks into a five-star hotel under the name, “DeWitt Bukater. Rose DeWitt Bukater.”
4. Taylor Swift's most recent relationship
Taylor, I just ... I can't do this again.
5. Rihanna and Chris Brown, Part II
This idea is worse than outfitting a massive ocean liner with only 20 lifeboats.
We all remember the shocking photos of Rihanna’s battered face that surfaced online after boyfriend Chris Brown assaulted her. They subsequently broke up and Brown has since received significant public backlash, while also allegedly skirting his community service detail. I can stomach a lot of things — a sequel to Gigli, doing the Oregon Trail for real — but if Rihanna and Brown ever got back together, it would create a disaster so epic, so upsetting, that it … wait, what? They did?!