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|Directed by||Duwayne Dunham|
|Produced by||Bill Borden
|Written by||Anna Sandor
|Music by||Steve Bramson|
|Original channel||Disney Channel|
|Release date||August 6, 2004|
|Running time||88 min.|
Tiger Cruise (released August 6, 2004) is the 54th Disney Channel Original Movie. It stars Hayden Panettiere, Bill Pullman and Jansen Panettiere, Hayden's real-life younger brother. The film's fictional events are intertwined with the real-life events of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
This is the first (and, as of June 2013, only) film in which both Panettiere siblings appear, although both were 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).
Tiger Cruise is one of only two Disney Channel Original Movies to receive a TV-PG rating and a "Viewer discretion" warning, due to intense and/or disturbing scenes and/or images. The other is Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior, another Disney Channel Original Movie, "inspired by true events".
Maddie Dolan, an artistic teenager from San Diego, is on a mission to convince her father Gary Dolan, a U.S. Navy Commander (O-5) and executive officer of the USS Constellation (CV-64), to give up his career and come home where he belongs. As part of her plan, Maddie accepts her father's offer to participate in Operation Tiger, a week-long cruise for military families and their friends aboard his aircraft carrier. She meets two other teenagers boarding the Tiger cruise, Tina and Anthony. Tina is fascinated by military life and her older sister Grace is a naval aviator under Commander Dolan. Anthony, whose older brother Kenny is a sailor, is a carefree drummer who prefers to have nothing to do with military life.
On September 10, 2001, one day into the cruise, Maddie and Tina are excited about the day's upcoming air show. When Grace hears that the girls want to be on the flight deck taking pictures of her jet taking off, she refuses, telling them that the flight deck is a restricted area due to safety regulations. The girls protest, assuring her that they will be out of the way. Grace tells them they can watch the airshow only from Vulture's Row. Uncaring about the rules not to go onto the flight deck, they ask Commander Dolan the same question. He, too, refuses their request. Anthony, however, leads the girls to the flight deck via a shortcut. There, the three teenagers, disguised as navy pilots, proceed to take pictures of Grace's jet taking off. However, before Tina can take pictures of another jet that is about to take off, the instructor spots them and instructs the guards to chase and capture them. The teenagers attempt to get away from the advancing guards, hiding briefly in the stairwell as the guards pass by. They emerge from the stairwell, thinking that they have evaded the guards, but two other guards catch them, and the trio is sent away.
In Captain Anderson's office, he tells the teenagers that their deliberate actions have violated safety regulations, and they could have been punished to the full extent of the law, if they had been sailors. He lets them go with a warning and one last chance: if any of the three cause any more trouble, they would be reported and confined to their quarters for the remainder of the voyage, and possibly prosecuted to the full extent of the law when the carrier lands in the U.S. The teenagers' families, including Commander Dolan, are disappointed and infuriated over the trio's actions.
After he talks to their families about the incident, a disappointed Commander Dolan confronts an unrepentant Maddie about disobeying the rules. He tells her about another incident that happened seven weeks earlier, when a crew member was lost while trying to land a jet during a practice maneuver. He tells her that going out on the flight deck is dangerous, and that she will need to start thinking about her actions and not ever make the same mistake again.
At the same time, Kenny confronts Anthony about his actions and berates at him for violating the rules, feeling he made a mistake in allowing Anthony to come aboard the aircraft carrier. He tells his younger brother that, for the next few days, he will have to behave himself and not get in any more trouble. Later on, Maddie, Anthony and Tina are overcome by emotion and fear, apologizing to each other and discussing how their parents reacted to the teenagers' actions. Later that evening, Maddie apologizes to her father for what she and her friends did. Commander Dolan forgives her and tells her that this incident is behind them. Then he tells her he will come home after the voyage.
On September 11, 2001, two days into the cruise, the passengers learn of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. The ship goes into high alert. Many of the passengers are afraid and confused, but display a mental strength.
Tina finally realizes the full meaning of her sister's assertions that military life was not as glamorous as she thought it was. Anthony, who lives in New York City, realizes the gravity of the situation when he finds himself fearing for the safety of the people he personally knew who had jobs in the Twin Towers. Maddie, while comforting other passengers, experiences first-hand her father's honor, courage, and commitment to his family, and his will to make sacrifices for his country. She realizes that now he will have to remain in the military, which upsets her.
At the end of the movie, at Maggie's suggestion, the passengers hold up a giant American flag on the deck of Tiger Cruise, which impresses her father and the other military officers. By the end of the cruise, Maddie tells her father to keep doing what he's doing. She has accepted being a military brat, a title which she used to dislike.
Tiger Cruise is a fictional story inspired by actual events aboard the USS Constellation (CV-64) and the events of 9/11.
When the 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 the USS John C. Stennis, with additional filming on board USS Nimitz (the 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 the Stennis were used as extras, and a few can be seen wearing Stennis ballcaps instead of the prop 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.
- My Hero Is You by Hayden Panettiere
- Hayden Panettiere as Maddie Dolan
- Bill Pullman as Cmdr. Gary Dolan
- Bianca Collins as Tina
- Nathaniel Lee, Jr. as Anthony
- Mercedes Colon as Grace
- Mehcad Brooks as Kenny
- Jansen Panettiere as Joey
- Lisa Dean Ryan as Diane
- Troy Evans as Chuck Horner
- Ty O'Neal as Danny Horner
- Chris Ellis as Capt. Anderson
- Gary Weeks as Lt. Tom Hillman
- Barbara Niven as Kate Dolan
- Jennette McCurdy as Kiley Dolan
- E. Matthew Buckley as Pilot Brown
- Mark Christopher Lawrence as Pop
- Ben Schenk as Tiger Kid
- Lee Otts as Crewmember/Corpsman in Camo
- "Moon Phases: 2001 to 2025". nasa. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2013.