To be clear, this here is not exactly a review of the recently released 3D-version of James Cameron‘s classic 1997 drama Titanic, but more my thoughts on the film itself as well as my opinion on the idea of re-releasing it with the addition of a gimmick that’s never been cool. Sounds like I’m not really in favour, does it?
Either way, it has been precisely 100 years since the ship hit the iceberg and was sent into the depths of the Atlantic, costing the life of many innocents. The highly accurate film that depicted the horrific event has therefore been released to theaters again and people still seem to agree that it is one of the saddest and most moving motion pictures in the history of film. Not sure if I quite see it as that but, well, we’ll get to that.
Titanic opens with a group of treasure hunters, led by Bill Paxton, making their way to the sunken wreckage of the Titanic in 1998. Failing to find the highly valuable “Heart of The Ocean”-diamond necklace, they instead find a nude painting of one of the passengers, Rose Dawson, one of the few to survive. She is an old lady (played by Gloria Stuart), residing in America and once the news about the painting reaches her, she travels to meet with Paxton’s crew and tell them what she knows of the Titanic-event.
In 1912, young Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) is from a wealthy family who are about to depart Great Britain on the RMS Titanic, as is a poor boy named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), who simply won tickets in a card game. Rose travels with her fiance Cal Hockley (Billy Zane), his valet Lovejoy (David Warner) and her mother Ruth (Frances Fisher), and Jack brings along his Italian friend Fabrizio (Danny Nucci). You all know where it goes from there. Jack meets Rose, they fall into forbidden love, he draws the nude painting and he holds her arms out at the ship’s bow. Girls cry and boys check their watches, waiting for the intense and immensely well-made iceberg sequence.
The great supporting cast consists of Bernard Hill as the captain, Kathy Bates as Molly Brown, Victor Garber as the ship’s builder Thomas Andrews, Jonathan Hyde as Joseph Bruce Ismay and many others whose screentime is somewhat limited compared to that of Jack and Rose.
That is one of my personal issues with Titanic. I think a movie about this disaster, one that’s over three hours long, mind you, should dedicate more time to developing more of the characters other than just Jack and Rose. The relationship between the two is a nice one, certainly, but it feels that such a long film could focus on the side characters more and make the audience feel genuine sympathy for more characters than just the two of them when the iceberg comes. It makes the film feel too long and/or not crowded enough. Some characters only get one scene, such as Benjamin Guggenheim who had a larger role in A Night To Remember. In this film he gets merely a scene, which acts as a charming reference to A Night To Remember. I dunno.
While my favourite James Cameron-film is and always will be The Abyss, I won’t act as if Titanic isn’t indeed a very good movie. I don’t consider it the flawless masterpiece that others make it out to be, sure, but it is certainly a classic tale with good performances, a nice soundtrack (need I mention Celine Dion?), beautiful imagery, lovely camera work and genuinely impressive visual effects work for the time. In any case, I guess I can see why people love it.
Now then, the 3D! I will admit, I didn’t actually see the 3D re-release so I don’t know if the 3D looks good or not, although I presume it probably doesn’t. But can I still pose the question as to why we needed this? Has 3D finally brainwashed us to the point where we believe the gimmick is such an improvement that we should even re-release old classics in that format? 3D is not always an improvement, nor is it a necessity.
Instead of the real trailer, I’ll post a link to a spot-on parody below, although bearing in mind how Hollywood works these days, I’d not be surprised if this trailer was actually serious: