By: Lawrence Foster
Rating: 9 out of 10
As I noted in my Star Wars: Episode I 3D review a few months ago, I am willing to suffer through awful movies, like the Star Wars prequel trilogy, to get to the good stuff like the original trilogy.
Luckily, audiences around the world don’t have to resist the temptation to gouge their eyes out watching horrid movies to get to experience Titanic the way it was intended to be viewed.
Thanks to an $18 million 3-D upgrade. James Cameron’s epic and wildly successful Titanic has returned to theatres and, based on the microcosm of my viewing of it, Titanic still resonates with audience members 15 years after its original release.
I’m not going to waste anybody’s time going over the plot because frankly by now, you know it. The one thing I will comment on is the chemistry between the two lead characters, Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet). This will be sure to draw criticism, but for my money, Jack and Rose are my favorite onscreen couple of all time. Too often, especially in today’s cinema, the love between two characters seems forced, but that is not the case with Titanic’s (spoiler alert) doomed couple.
As far as the 3-D goes, it was OK. There was a few times where the extra dimension worked as it should, but for much of the movie, I couldn’t tell it had been upgraded to 3-D.
None of that really matters though; what matters is the impact Titanic has on its audience members, particularly the younger generation.
The showing I watched had roughly 30 viewers and at least 10 of them were shy of their teen years. Normally, a movie that is more than three hours long is not a film for that age group.
That wasn’t the case with Titanic.
When the whole ship was first shown at dock, there was a collective “wow” uttered by the youngsters and during the second act of the movie, when Titanic begins to sink, the kids were literally sitting on the edge of their seats.
As if that wasn’t enough, the kids were talking at different points in the movie. Normally that would annoy me more than Michael Cole ranting about the newest wrestler he despises, but what the kids were talking about was more evidence of the magic of Titanic. They were asking their guardian why the ship wasn’t turning after spotting the iceberg, or why some people were being locked in the bottom as it flooded.
All of that made me ask this question: Why does an extremely long movie based on something that happened 100 years ago resonate? The first answer is it has something for everyone. Aside from the star-crossed lovers, there are themes of class conflict and feminist empowerment. For the men who won’t admit they enjoy the love story of Titanic, there is the final half of the movie which is essentially a disaster/action movie.
Another reason Titanic still works is because to many people, the movie is how they view what happened on April 15. In today’s world of smart phones with built-in cameras that can take photos and video, twitter, Facebook and anything else I am missing, there is always something to paint a picture of news and events for the audience.
In 1912, there were none of those things and because of that, we will never know exactly what happened.
Cameron’s film, however, gives audiences an idea of what it was like on that ill-fated night. To anyone who knows about Cameron’s obsession with Titanic, they know he made the sinking of the ship as accurate as possible with the information available when the film originally released. Because of his passion, audiences can view Titanic as a documentary of sorts.
Titanic is by no means a perfect movie and the flaws of the film in 1997 (the running time could have been cut back by at least 20-25 minutes and the dialog at times is unbearable), still remain in 2012. It is easy to overlook the few flaws when viewing the impact the movie has. If you have never watched Titanic, make it a priority to catch it on the big screen. If you have already viewed the movie, which is probably the case for almost everyone, go watch it again the way it was intended to be viewed, at a movie theatre.