Titanic 3D Review
By Daniel Rester
James Cameron’s Titanic made cinematic history in 1997. The movie became the highest grossing film of all time (only surpassed by Cameron’s Avatar to this day), won eleven Oscars, and shot Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to super-stardom. Now a whole new generation of viewers have the chance to see Cameron’s epic on the big screen, as he has rereleased it to theaters right around the time of the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s sinking. Cameron even spent $18 million and about 13 months in order to post-convert the film into 3D. But does Cameron’s landmark film hold up to this day as a whole?
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so as a movie viewer, Titanic revolves around the 1912 sinking of the ship of the same name. The movie is framed by a modern-day story of a treasure hunter, named Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton), who comes across one of the surviving passengers of the event. The survivor is named Rose DeWitt Bukater, and she tells her story of the event to Lovett. During the maiden voyage, rich Rose fell in love with a poor artist named Jack Dawson—and their new love faced the negativity of other passengers and the ill-fated events to come. The majority of the film shows these past stories rather than the modern-day events.
Titanic is melodramatic, manipulative, and comes with a few annoyingly two-dimensional characters (mostly the “villains”) and some occasionally cringe-worthy dialogue. Those things now aside, Titanic is still a spectacular, exceptional film in its entirety.
Cameron may not be a top-notch scriptwriter, but he is a ballsy and meticulous director. His crafting is magnificent in the way that he recreates the events surrounding the 1912 sinking, allowing sweeping shots and attention-to-detail smaller shots in order to fully capture the feel of the time of events. Also lending to this are the sounds, editing, costumes, and (of course) visual effects, truly allowing the movie to take viewers to another place. James Horner’s beautiful music score also adds depth to the overall experience, using soft moments of piano playing to strong moments of full orchestras in order to emphasize both moments of romance and horror.
When it comes to the sinking of the ship itself, Cameron has made one of the top “disaster moments” in film history. Throughout the first half of Titanic, Cameron brilliantly allows nudging conversations between characters that allow for suspense and foreshadowing, and even places hope and believability in some characters that end up seeing that the “impossible” (unsinkable ship could sink) can be possible. The second half is the display of sinking, and is that much scarier due to such characterizations in the first half. Cameron captures the starting calmness and inevitable fear and chaos among the passengers with astounding skill, all while incredibly exhibiting the sinking itself.
Though Cameron does a great job himself, he owes huge thanks to Winslet (as Rose) and DiCaprio (as Jack), as they are the main focus and help maintain viewer interest for nearly three-and-a-half hours. The two have magnetic presences and share an ample amount of chemistry between them. The dialogue they work with may not always be satisfying, but the two sell their roles one-hundred percent with their looks and actions. The ending result of their acting skills make viewers really care about the characters, and makes Titanic have a palpable and unforgettable romance.
Also in the acting department is Billy Zane as Cal, Rose’s affluent fiancée. While his character is sometimes cartoonish as a villain, Zane still plays well off of Winslet and DiCaprio’s characters. Other supporting players include Kathy Bates as Molly Brown and Gloria Stuart as the older Rose, who simply shines whenever on the screen.
The 3D of the rerelease is actually quite good. In fact, it’s probably some of the best post-converted 3D I’ve ever seen, not working as a gimmicky afterthought the way many filmmakers use the effect nowadays; Cameron actually put considerable care into the conversion. The effect does make some scenes more dim than usual, but it also allows for an even more stunning visual experience at times. The use doesn’t really try to alter the past footage and throw stuff at the audience, but rather makes the environments stand out with more depth – as with the use of the effect in the 2011 film Hugo.
People who have not seen Titanic should definitely attend this rerelease and learn why so many people love the movie. Yes, Titanic has its share of “flaws” and has received some backlash over the years, but I still see it as filmmaking at its finest (not necessarily screenwriting, though). Say what you will, but I believe Titanic is a cinematic masterpiece and will live on with popularity for many years to come…and rightfully so.
Rating: 4 out of 4 stars.