China is now hard at work on its latest replica — the “New Titanic.” The future tourist attraction promises visitors a chance to experience a simulated collision with the iceberg which sank the original “unsinkable ship” more than a century ago.
After being announced way back in 2013, work finally began on the 1 billion yuan ($145 million) project this past Wednesday. Developers say that it will feature “close reproductions” of the original ship’s opulent interior including a ballroom and theater.
However, the reproduction will only go so far. For instance, this latest version of the Titanic will not be an ocean-going vessel, but a landlocked ship built in a reservoir in Sichuan’s Daying County, located more than 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) away from the sea.
Still, it promises to be a wild ride. The 1912 sinking of the HMS Titanic which killed over 1,500 people will be recreated for tourists’ enjoyment, making the visit into an “interactive experience.”
Hollywood production designer and producer Curtis Schnell, who is helping with the project, assured naysayers that attraction-builder Star Energy Investment Group is treating its source material in a “very respectful way.”
In the past, China has been accused of being less than respectful when constructing its vast range of copycat reconstructions of iconic world landmarks. Back in 2014, Egypt complained to UNESCO about a copy-Sphinx that was built in Hebei. That Sphinx has since been unceremoniously beheaded. More recently, a Shanghai sundial sculpture was demolished on Wednesday for being a complete ripoff of a famous London landmark located by the Thames.
When it’s not busy building copies of famous sunken vessels, China has had its own troubles with keeping real ships afloat. Last June, over 450 people died when the Eastern Star cruise ship sank during extreme weather on the Yangtze River.
China’s obsession with the Titanic goes back to the 1997 James Cameron blockbuster which served as the country’s top grossing movie for years. This likely means that nostalgia rather than tragedy will be on the minds of Chinese tourists visiting the attraction, which is optimistically slated to open in late 2017.
After all, unlike the danger of the iceberg that is mostly hidden underwater, the resonating romance of the Titanic emanates outwards, lingering at its tip. And there’s nothing wrong with just the tip.
By Charles Liu
[Images via Global Times / Sohu News / Jiangsu News / New Titanic]
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