Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The ship still sinks!

So I was gonna see the Titanic re-release in 3D, but after reading that the 3D is nothing to write home about, I decided to opt for a 2D viewing, if there was one. I couldn't find one, and after thinking about it some more, I decided I didn't need to see it again that badly after all. Still, I can't let the occasion go by without putting in my two cents about the movie... everybody else is...

I was still working video retail when it first came out in December 1997. I know I saw it in Manhattan, but I can't remember which theater. I don't think I saw it opening day, but I'm not sure. I do recall talking to a few people who had already seen it, and I had steeled myself for it in advance, determined not to fall prey to cheap emotionalism and to be as objective in my evaluation of the movie as possible. But the truth is that this is simply not that kind of movie.

Yes, I may have shed a tear or two towards the end. Seriously, it's hard not to get caught up in the story, especially once they hit the iceberg and the carnage begins. Titanic is the kind of movie that has to be seen on the big screen to get the full impact of it, and James Cameron knew that when he made it. Love him or hate him, he does not make movies for people to watch on their iPhones. And maybe the creation of movies like these has turned him into a dick with a massive ego. If so, that's unfortunate, but you and I will probably never know for certain. It's certainly unfortunate that Cameron doesn't feel the need to collaborate with a writing partner. Maybe that's a sign of his ego; I don't know.

I bought Titanic on VHS - widescreen, two tapes - but I don't recall watching it at home all that much. If I were being completely honest, I'd say the reason I bought it in the first place was because I got caught up in all the hype, but long before it came to home video I knew about the backlash. Obviously I didn't have the internet back then, but I read Premiere and Entertainment Weekly regularly. I knew that people were saying it wasn't all that. And now we've come to expect a backlash to movies like Titanic.

I think Titanic is half of a great movie - the second half, obviously - but that second half is powerful enough to justify the first half. And give Cameron credit for making the movie he wanted to make, without apologies. Like Cecil B. DeMille and David Lean before him, Cameron thinks on an epic scale and has the stones to pursue his vision, no matter where it takes him, from deep space to the bottom of the ocean, from the far-flung future to the distant past. That's a rare thing... and he should be recognized for that much.


  1. It always bothered me that the movie takes more time to watch than it took for the ship to sink. I've never been able to sit through Titanic, although I may have to try it again.

  2. It loses something when watched at home (unless, I suppose, you have one of those huge flatscreen models), but like I said, the second half is worth the first half.


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