|Written by|| Anna Sandor |
|Directed by||Duwayne Dunham|
|Starring|| Hayden Panettiere |
|Theme music composer||Steven Bramson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||88 minutes|
|Production company(s)|| Stu Segall Productions |
First Street Films
|Distributor|| Stu Segall Productions |
Buena Vista Television
|Original network||Disney Channel|
|Original release||August 6, 2004|
Tiger Cruise is the 54th Disney Channel Original Movie. It stars Hayden Panettiere and Bill Pullman. The film's fictional events are intertwined with the real-life events of the September 11, 2001 attacks. USS Constellation was, as depicted, actually returning from her 2001 Western Pacific deployment with "tigers" on board when the September 11 terrorist attacks occurred.
This is one of only two films to date in which both Panettiere and her real-life younger brother Jansen appear, the other being The Forger . (Both were also involved with Racing Stripes – Hayden was the human star and Jansen's voice was used for the young zebra, Stripes, at the beginning of the film.)
Teenager Maddie Dolan hails from San Diego. She looks forward to the day her father Gary, a Commander in the U.S. Navy, retires from military service so that he can share Maddie's life at home with her sister Kiley and their mother Kate. Maddie's dad invites her to participate in Operation Tiger, a week-long cruise for military families and their friends aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. She agrees and soon hits it off with fellow teens Anthony and Tina. Tina is fascinated by the military, her elder sister Grace being a United States Naval Aviator. Anthony, an aspiring drummer from New York City, would rather have nothing to do with the military, although his elder brother Kenny is a sailor. Maddie also bonds with preteen Joey, whose mom is a "Squid" (Naval slang for sailor) aboard the Constellation.
On September 10, 2001 (one day into the cruise), the "Tigers" are excited about the day's upcoming air show. Tina hopes to take pictures from the flight deck of Grace's jet taking off. However, the flight deck is a restricted area due to safety regulations; non-military personnel must watch the airshow from "Vulture's Row". Tina, Maddie and Anthony disguise themselves as members of the deck crew so that Tina can get the pictures she wants. The threesome are recognized by the instructor and brought to Captain Anderson's office. The Captain reprimands the teenagers for their reckless actions, warning them that violation of any further regulations will get all three confined to their quarters until the carrier docks. After the teens retire, Anderson admits to their families that - more than anything else - his threats were intended to scare the threesome into line and keep them there.
Gary, Grace, and Kenny express their disappointment over what happened during the air show. Commander Dolan tells Maddie about another, tragic incident when a crew member was killed landing a jet during practice maneuvers. Maddie tearfully divulges her true reason for accepting his invitation: she dislikes the negative connotations that come with being a military brat. Maddie recalls how she and Kiley got jumped on their first day at school and suspended for fighting. Gary agrees to come home after the voyage.
On September 11, 2001, the crew and passengers learn of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. With the Constellation abruptly going on full alert, Tina finally realizes the truth behind her sister's assertions regarding the less-glamorous side of military life. Anthony fears for the safety of people he knew who had jobs in the Twin Towers. Maddie experiences her father's honor, courage, and commitment to his family and also his will to make sacrifices for their country. Although upset that her dad is still needed in the military, she and her fellow Tigers express their pride and support by unfurling a giant American flag on the Constellation's flight deck. Maddie, having concluded that being a "brat" isn't so bad after all, tells her father and his crew-mates to keep doing what they do.
When USS Constellation arrives in San Diego, California, downtown San Diego is featured in the background, showing the Twin Hyatts. In actuality, only the first one had been completed by September 2001, roughly around the time of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Much of the movie was shot on board USS John C. Stennis, with additional filming on board USS Nimitz and at least one passing shot of USS Abraham Lincoln. (Constellation was decommissioned before production started). The hull numbers of all three ships are visible at various times throughout the movie. Actual crew members of John C. Stennis were used as extras, and a few can be seen wearing John C. Stennis ballcaps instead of the proper Constellation caps.
On September 12, 2001, the full moon was shown. The actual phase of the moon was a waning crescent less than a week away from a new moon.
The shots in the beginning of the movie featuring Maddie's home were filmed at Orange Lake Country Club in Kissimmee, Florida.
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USS Bennington (CV/CVA/CVS-20) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was the second US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for the Revolutionary War Battle of Bennington (Vermont). Bennington was commissioned in August 1944, and served in several of the later campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning three battle stars. Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an Antisubmarine Aircraft Carrier (CVS). In her second career, she spent most of her time in the Pacific, earning five battle stars for action during the Vietnam War. She served as the recovery ship for the Apollo 4 space mission.
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