1912 Original Video Footage of the Titanic
Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill, David Warner, Victor Garber, Jonathan Hyde, Suzy Amis, Lewis Abernathy, Nicholas Cascone, Anatoly M. Sagalevitch, Danny Nucci, Jason Barry, Ewan Stewart, Ioan Gruffudd, Jonny Phillips, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Richard Graham, Paul Brightwell, Ron Donachie, Eric Braeden, Charlotte Chatton, Bernard Fox, Michael Ensign
Synopsis: A boy and a girl from differing social backgrounds meet during the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disaster related peril and violence, nudity, sensuality and brief language
Celine Dion's Titanic Song
The Ship of Dreams...
Greatest love story ever told? Or perhaps, one of the most over rated ones ever conceived? Whether you love or hate this movie, the reality is that upon it's original theatrical release that it not only won various cinematic awards, but it also became the highest grossing film of all time. Granted, "Avatar" would come along to dethrone "Titanic" eventually, as the highest grossing film in cinematic history, but "Titanic" was the top dog for a while in terms of box office success. However, what is it about this movie that made it one of the highest grossing films of all time? Was it really as good people made it out to be? Was it truly the greatest love story ever told in the history of cinema? Or was it arguably the most over hyped one that was ever released? Well, let's get into that now.
The movie is said be inspired by the real life tragedy involving the Titanic. Upon it's completion, Titanic was said to be unsinkable, and it was arguably the largest man made ship ever built, at the time period. However, as history also shows, the unsinkable part was far fetched to say the least. The reality is that many people lost their lives on the Titanic maiden voyage, as it's been documented as being one of the most tragic events in history. Before I begin this review, I would like to point out that any criticism that's cited isn't a reflection of my thoughts on the tragic sinking of the Titanic. No, any criticism that I may have is focused purely on the film itself.
Although I do agree with most people that this film would've been a helluva a lot better had it been played out through various points of views of other characters, but I can't judge this movie based on how I think it should have been. No, I can only judge this movie based on what it actually is; which is essentially a tragic love story.
It's not a bad movie at all if you want me to be brutally honest, as I certainly liked it a lot. Granted, I would hardly call it the greatest love story of all time, as that would absurd. Hell, I wouldn't even put this film in my top ten to be honest, which is why I would say the movie is a bit over rated. Of course, this leads me to a perplexing dilemma though about "Titanic."
On the one hand, I do agree that this was a great love story, and it had a lot of great memorable scenes that make it timeless. I thought Kate Winslet was excellent in her performance, as she certainly carried her part well. As for Leonardo DiCaprio, I still say this isn't his best movie, but for the way his character was written, he still manages to pull off the part rather well. The musical score and soundtrack are very memorable, and you have to applaud James Cameron for his exquisite level of detail to the scenery of the movie itself. Not only did James Cameron nail the look, and setting, for the era the movie takes place in, but you have to really tip your hat off to Mr. Cameron to the level of detail he put into this movie's re-release.
For example, many "Titanic" fans complained about the positioning of the stars in the film's climatic scene, as many of them claim the positioning of them were way off course for the alleged time the Titanic sinking happened. Needless to say, James Cameron made sure to correct that in this re-release, so if you happen to be one of those people that complained about the stars' position in said scene, then it should please you to know that James Cameron had that problem fixed.
Of course, it's because of James Cameron's exceptional attention to detail that makes him arguably one of the greatest film makers of all time. Unlike most directors, he knows exactly how much special effects to use to enhance a movie, while careful never to go overboard with them like others would (i.e. George Lucas with his "Star Wars" prequels).
Unfortunately, he's always been a bit over rated as a screenwriter if we're really going to analyze this film honestly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that he's a horrible screen writer, as he certainly knows how to develop many of his characters well; particularly women in general. Not to sound sexist saying that, but I'm merely stating an observation. Many of Cameron's films, that he's written screenplays for, have always followed a very simplistic character driven story arc, but they'd often resonate a lot of deeply complex universal themes, to add dramatic weight to it.
And, I will admit that "Titanic" does carry a lot complex universal themes to it as well like sexism, forbidden love, hypocrisy within the social hierarchy of the time period, and many other things. However, I can't ignore the flaws about the script. For starters, it's extremely predictable as sin. I know some readers will say that's a bit extreme to say, but that's just the truth. Unless you've never seen a movie in your life, "Titanic" is arguably the most predictable love story of all time.
(Warning: Spoiler Alert in this paragraph if you've never seen the movie) First of all, we know it's a tragic love story going into it; which would imply that one or both lovers die during this movie. And since it's told via flashback through Rose's perspective, then you know pretty much that it's Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) who's going to die. And given the horrendous tragedy of Titanic itself, any movie buff would know, after watching the first ten minutes of the film, that Jack will die during the Titanic sinking. Hell, the only way Cameron could have made this movie unpredictable is if he decided to make it to where Rose dies instead, and Jack gets a sex change after fathering up some kids. Then after his sex change operation, he'd change his name to Rose, to honor his lost love on Titanic. However, since this is James Cameron we're talking about here, I doubt seriously he'd do something like that.
Plus, if you've seen as many love stories as I have, then you can already tell exactly when Rose and Jack will fall in love. You already know that, at some point, they'll probably have sex. You know that a lot of people are going to try to keep them apart because of their social class differences. You know that Rose's mom will OBVIOUSLY hate Jack Dawson's guts. And, you know that Rose's fiance will turn out to be a spoiled rich douche bag, for no other reason than to be a douche bag. After all, if they had made Rose's fiance turn out to be a nice guy, then it would've made her look bad in front of mainstream audiences. Therefore, he has to be portrayed as a douche bag, in order to justify her forbidden relationship with Jack Dawson, a poor third class passenger on Titanic. Seriously, this movie is nothing if not insanely predictable as hell. In fact, I remember seeing this movie originally when I was seventeen years old, and I already knew exactly what was going to happen about ten minutes going into the film itself. Therefore, "Titanic" is NOT the greatest love story of all time.
Of course, this leads me to have something of a love/hate relationship with this movie. As I mentioned earlier, I did like "Titanic" a lot, and I still do after seeing it again in 3-D. It offers many great memorable cinematic moments to make it a timeless classic. But on the other hand, it's also a very predictable, and extremely cliched ridden, tragic love story as well; which only makes you hate the movie more whenever you hear people call it the greatest love story of all time, when it's not even close.
Don't get me wrong, I love the movie, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that loves romantic stories. However, it's not the best love story ever told; regardless of what other critics might say. As for seeing it in 3-D, I honestly wouldn't bother because it's barely noticeable if at all. Sure, there's a few scenes that are impressive at the beginning, when the film explores the sunken wreckage of the ship itself. However, after that part, the 3-D is fairly lousy at best. Therefore, if you already own a copy of this movie on DVD/Blue Ray, then I'd probably just stick to that version; unless you're one of those people that complained about the positioning of the freaking stars during the climatic scene.
Overall, I would still have to give this movie a three out of four. It's still holds up fairly well over time, and it's definitely a timeless classic in cinematic history. Unfortunately, the movie is also very cliched ridden and predictable, but it's still entertaining to watch nonetheless.