Review by James Lindorf
On April 8th, just days before the 110th anniversary of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, Fox’s ad-supported streaming service Tubi released “Mysteries from the Grave: The Titanic.” This new original documentary dives deep into one of the world’s most shocking disasters and collective obsession. The movie covers everything from construction in 1909, the ill-fated five-day journey in 1912, the discovery of the wreckage in 1985, and beyond.
With 110 years’ worth of fascination, it should come as no surprise that there have been hundreds of books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts about the most famous nautical event in history. This makes some people question why they need to see this latest project, which can be a fair question. Still, there are two reasons I would recommend “Mysteries from the Grave: The Titanic” to anyone with even a casual interest in the Titanic. There is always new research and speculation to discuss, which happens here, so don’t worry about a total rehash of 50-year-old material. I have heard many of the facts in other places or in different ways. Still, there was information new to me, and I would say I have seen more than the average amount of Titanic documentaries. More than the latest facts, the most significant selling point for this film is the personal connection it offers by having the relatives of passengers sharing stories. One of those stories involving Macy’s Department Store and 3rd class passengers will be one I share anytime I discuss the Titanic because I think it deserves to be more widely known.
For modern audiences, there are only three problems to be found with “Mysteries from the Grave: The Titanic.” The first won’t come as a surprise, which is commercials. They may infuriate or scare away some viewers, but it is what keeps Tubi free in an era of complaining about new streaming services to pay for. “Mysteries from the Grave: The Titanic” has a runtime of 125 minutes, and that means you should expect five or six 1-2 minute breaks throughout the movie for ads, which is fewer interruptions than you would get on the Fox television network.
The second problem is that it was designed for those ads and is generally overproduced. You instantly know when an ad is coming because the voice-over and music change to be much more ominous. It feels like a throwback to the 90s, and they are trying to lure us back from the long commercial break with the promise of shocking information on the other end. They also have some interviewees provide their input at max volume to try and make their statements more exciting. It is like they forgot they were making a movie about one of the most important and fascinating events of human history. The mystery of what happened to the Titanic is enough to attract people. The rest is just them trying too hard and distracting from the excellent information and insights they provide.
The third problem isn’t really much of a problem, and that is that the CGI isn’t excellent. It looks like it could have been taken from a 20-year-old video game. There isn’t an overabundance of CGI scenes, and they are used to fill in gaps, not something that is relied on. With great information, a personal touch, and the three problems consisting of the one you knew about coming in, a laughable quirk, and essentially nothing makes “Mysteries from the Grave: The Titanic” a solid 4 out of 5.