A sunken romance resurfaces
‘Titanic’ retains its classic qualities amidst three dimensions
When "Titanic" was first released in 1997, it became a cultural phenomenon and went on to gross almost $2 billion dollars worldwide. Therefore I consider myself incredibly privileged to have managed to never see the film until now. I write this review viewing the film for the very first time and I must say it was absolutely worth the wait.
The now legendary tale follows the story of an elderly woman named Rose who recounts her exploits aboard the infamous Titanic when she was younger to a team of modern day deep sea treasure hunters.
Born to wealth, the young Rose (Kate Winslet) finds romance in poor traveling artist Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) despite her engagement to another man. Shortly after their romance is consummated however, the film focuses on the sinking of the Titanic and the two characters struggle for survival. Rose's story, while entirely fictional, does accurately represent the ship and the story of its sinking.
The more overt sexual scenes in the film are done with consummate professionalism keeping the nudity to a minimum, while prioritizing character development. All too simple a task given the spectacular and very human performances of DiCaprio and Winslet.
The film was at the time of its production the most expensive movie ever made, making it a blockbuster in every sense of the word. Considering the lack of aliens, superheroes, or wizards that typically conquer the big budget film market, it might be possible to call "Titanic" the most expensive drama ever made. Far from wasted money, however, the film treats us to spectacular views of a drowning ship and passengers wadding through the doomed vessel.
The film is nothing without its music complimented by a beautiful score by James Horner and the unforgettable Celine Dion's song "My Heart Will Go On."
The 3D conversion looks brilliant (we'd expect nothing less given director James Cameron's work with "Avatar.") From seeing the ship charge toward the screen, to all of the sediment particles in the ocean floating around, the 3D effects truly bring the Titanic to life. The 3D conversion of "Titanic" is the perfect representation of what proper 3D effects can do for films: complement, enhance, but never dominate the focus of anything on the screen.
"Titanic" is that one rare film that is enjoyed to the fullest by all audiences. Young girls are captivated by the romantic love story. Elderly people who grew up with the legends of the wreck are intrigued by the chance to see it before their eyes. For couples, it is the perfect date movie. For action film junkies, the film showcases a perfect symbiosis between practical and computer-generated effects to bring the total destruction of an ocean liner to life right on screen.
Much like the candor of its genius director James Cameron (who had quit a job as a truck driver to enter the movie industry,) "Titanic" is brash, bold, lighthearted and deadly serious, all at once. It simultaneously serves as a template for an excellent film, while breaking many conventions of filmmaking. It's a thriller, romance, action, historical-fiction, drama, and tragedy all rolled into one; the very definition of an Epic film. Even when the ship is sinking and doom is imminent, Cameron still manages to sneak in a joke or two. It's long and uncompromising, yet there is not a single dull moment during the entire ride. Each time you think the film has reached its climax, it throws you curveball after curveball, keeping your breath held on the edge of your seat, possibly even annoying the viewer after awhile until, when it's finally over, it becomes apparent that you had hoped the curveballs never stopped coming.
Some call "Titanic" the greatest film of all time. While I believe that this is something of an overstatement, you would be hard-pressed to find any film that appeals to so many different demographics on so many levels. It's not perfect. It perhaps runs a tad long and has a few minor plot holes and untied loose ends. Nonetheless, it stands as an instant classic. Combining the very best that American Cinema has to offer, "Titanic" shall be remembered as the nothing less than THE feel-good film of an entire generation.
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