So I went to see Titanic 3D. I thought I’d avoid it like a third class steerage passenger, but I thought I’d give it another try and see how it held up. I saw the original twice at the cinema; I was only 11 years old and it was one of the first films I remember seeing without my parents, although that accolade may well go to Free Willy 2. Either way I remember it vividly.
I remember thinking that there’s no way I could sit still for nearly three and a half hours – as it turns out I didn’t have to, as my local cinema actually had a five minute interval midway through to let people stretch their legs. I’d also heard that the woman who plays the main role, Kate Somethingorother gets her kit off. As an 11 year old boy, you can imagine this was one of the main draws.
I was also apparently definitely going to cry. It’s such a beautiful love story they said (‘they’ being school friends and the like); it’s so tragic; Leonardo DiCaprio is so hot. These were female reactions. The male reactions centred firmly on the boob issue. I didn’t cry in the end, although it was quite sad, and I remember thinking that it was one of the most technically impressive films I’d seen in my 11 short years.
So, it’s 15 years later and I headed back to the cinema to see whether time had been kind to Jack, Rose et al. Here’s what I thought…
It looks great
When it first came out, audiences were blown away with the CGI and special effects used in the film and, somewhat surprisingly, it still holds up incredibly well. It’s been given a lick of paint and looked crystal clear on the digital screen, making it look just as good as anything else i’ve seen recently.
The scale of the thing is still pretty impressive, too. The film famously ran hugely over budget thanks to James Cameron grandiose imagination, but none of that really matters when you see his baby come to life. Everything is huge and the attention to detail is admirable; not at any point do you feel like you’re watching anything other than a scale replica of the Titanic or even the thing itself. Granted, the CGI is iffy in a few places, but that’s to be expected, and, for the most part, it blends in well with the rest of the milieu.
The 3D, which will be the attraction for a lot of people, will likely leave those same people a little underwhelmed. It’s functional if not spectacular, but it does give added depth that further enhances the grand sense of scale. James Cameron has already come out and said that the 3D isn’t as good as it would have been were it originally filmed for the medium, but it still does a job – just don’t go expecting icebergs to come crashing out of the screen at you.
The script is awful
This may be stating the bleeding obvious, but the script for Titanic is pretty atrocious. Sure, go ahead and tell me I’m an idiot for thinking it may be anything aside from bad, but as an 11 year old, I really didn’t give a crap about the script. As far as I was concerned, that’s how they spoke and acted back in 1912. But now, with a slightly more educated head on, I can see that the film’s strength was most definitely not its script.
Dialogue is forced and unrealistic, and it just seems as if the ship careering into an iceberg and the drowning of hundreds of passengers is but an inconvenience and a sideshow to Jack and Rose’s love story. Don’t get me started on Billy Zane.
Many may say that it doesn’t attempt to be anything other than primarily a love story, and a pretty cheesy one at that, but I just wanted to see a little more about all the other people who were fighting for their lives, rather than them be overshadowed by the two leads.
Still, I think everyone goes to watch Titanic knowing exactly what it is (the overall story is hardly a surprise anyway), and if you can stomach the extreme fromage factor, and even laugh at it a little, then you’ll enjoy the film a lot more.
Titanic is still Winslet’s defining role
Whilst DiCaprio has gone on to do umpteen big films, including Inception, The Departed and Shutter Island, Kate Winslet has never really found the same stardom. Sure, she won an Oscar for The Reader, but it’s still Titanic that springs immediately to mind when someone mentions her name. Ask me to think what else she’s been in and I actually struggle, and I know I’m not alone in that. There’s been bits and pieces but nothing really standout.
This is even more evident when it’s only really her doing the promo work for this rerelease. Cameron has done some, but it’s Winslet who’s primarily been doing the rounds. Leo’s nowhere to be seen – probably because he’s got a host of other films to make and promote.
The sketching scene is one of the best in the film
Before you start going on about how predictable that sounds, the reason I think that scene is one of the best isn’t because Winslet gets her boobs out. To me, this scene is the best example of acting and chemistry between Jack and Rose, and it seems evident from their actions and reactions that there isn’t much acting going on (although some would say there’s not much acting going on throughout the film anyway).
From Jack’s intensity when he’s sketching to the smirk on Rose’s face, everything just seems so much more natural than elsewhere in the film. The ‘over there on the bed…couch’ line was a genuine mistake by Leo, who was clearly a little nervous about Kate derobing, but James Cameron liked the line so much he kept it in.
It’s still clearly just as popular
Despite the film having a bit of a bad rep, it seems there are still plenty of people who want to see it. When I turned up, a good 15 minutes before the start of the film, the cinema was already packed and it took a good while to find somewhere to sit that wasn’t about four inches from the screen.
The cinema had even drafted in a member of staff to help seat people because we were apparently incapable of doing it ourselves. This ‘zany’ (read knobhead) member of staff then did a quick poll to see who was seeing Titanic for the first time, and only about half a dozen people put their hand up. Granted, some may have just been a little shy, but it seemed the overwhelming majority had seen Titanic previously, showing that a 15 year old film can still draw people to the cinema better than some new release films.
There are a few other little bits and pieces that I noticed when watching, such as that there was definitely enough room on that door for Jack as well as Rose, and that Bill Paxton’s character has a ridiculous earring. However, what stayed with me the most is that this film is going to be considered a classic. Like it or not, it’s going to stay around for a long, long time and evidently still has the power to get people back to cinemas. In a time when remakes and reboots are rife, I can’t see anyone making another film version of Titanic any time soon, which can only be testament to the scale and quality of Cameron’s epic.
Words: Chris Thomson