Beautiful Romance - Tragedy Unbound. It has kind of become the popular thing to kick Titanic, the film and its achievements. It's like the love it garnered on release and the colossal waves it made in the history of cinema, never happened, or as some want you to believe, doesn't matter. I can tell you now that many of my macho fuelled friends will privately, under the influence of liquid refreshments, admit to having affection for the film, but socially in a circle environment? Not a bit of it! I have no such problems admitting my love for the film, I love it as much now as I approach 50, as I did when I sat there in awe at the cinema in 1997. You jump - I jump. Titanic is far from flawless, where even now with the advancements in technology the effects over 15 years later look a touch creaky. While it's true as well that away from Rose and Jack the characterisations are thin on the ground. But this is Rose and Jack's story, fully fleshed out for an hour and half and then framed by the terrible tragedy that unfolds for the next hour and half. The tie-in to the present day is superbly constructed by James Cameron - the search for the diamond - the real life filming of the Titanic wreckage - and the flashback telling of the story by a delightful Gloria Stuart as old Rose, and the sinking of the ship and its aftermath is stunning and heart breaking in equal measure. Never let go. So may scenes and dialogue exchanges stay in the memory for ever. The band playing on, the captain awaiting his fate, the mother ushering her children to sleep before the sea comes to take them, the old boy drinking his brandy as the water rushes in, or just Jack and Rose, polar opposites in society's class structure, making love, making art or just professing that neither will ever let go. It's what makes Titanic the wonderful piece of cinema it is, where beauty and tragedy merge to create something forever memorable. A film that deserved all the accolades and cash till ringing that it once did have. 9/10
Set around the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS "Titanic", this is essentially a film in two parts. The first, weaker, element features a young "Dawson" (Leonardo DiCaprio) who wins a third class ticket to New York on the soon to depart liner. Meantime, the wealthy but unhappy "Rose" (Kate Winslet) is up in the posh cabins with her cold and unfeeling fiancée "Hockley" (Billy Zane) and her equally unpleasant, venally ambitious mother "Ruth" (Frances Fisher). Desperately unhappy, "Rose" considers jumping off the prow of the boat, but luckily the charming young "Dawson" is on hand to talk her down, and so begins their friendship that causes much chagrin amongst her socially elite companions. That friendship culminates in him making a rather provocative drawing of her, the final straw for her boyfriend and his enforcer "Lovejoy" (David Warner). It all looks ominous for both until - part two begins. The ship, speeding along nicely under the command of Bernard Hill's Captain Smith clips the underwater part of an iceberg and now history takes over. James Cameron offers us a purely speculative account of what might have happened as the initially incredulous crew start to realise that maybe it is not just Molly Brown (an excellent Kathy Bates) that's unsinkable! What now ensues are a series of well staged scenarios depicting panic, fear, a fair degree of selfishness and some proper stiff upper lips as the ship has be evacuated and the segregation of the passengers and competencies of the crew start to become life threatening. The visual effects have dated, the smoke from the ship's funnels blows in an strangely symmetrical fashion and the later scenes struggle to convince - but this is really a rather tragic love story with a strong chemistry between the engaging two characters at the top of the bill, and an effective performance from the older "Rose" (Gloria Stewart) who takes on the role of narrator 80 years after the disaster. I still find it uncomfortable to watch the actuality of the wreck, which features occasionally throughout the film - I feel like I am quite literally walking through someone's grave; but it does lend a potent hook upon which this lengthy, but well thought out and constructed drama is presented. Criticisms have been made of it's factual inaccuracies, and it may well play a bit fast and loose with some of the real characterisations - but it's a drama, and to be enjoyed has to be appreciated in that sphere. Big screen is a must, it really does lose a great deal on a television.
Titanic is simply a masterpiece. This movie has it all. A tremendous score, deep emotion emphasized by fantastic performances, and incredibly gripping and high-stakes action. There is really something for everyone here. Before I continue my praise of the film, I think it has one glaring weakness: the present-day plot. For me, this just did not work all that well. I understand that it was implemented for the main story to have a more emotional impact, but it was not needed. It added almost thirty minutes to the runtime, which could have been used for more character development in the story or to have a more streamlined plot. Not to mention, the acting in this section was lackluster. That might be a hot take, but it was something that I noticed during my watch. Back to the positives. The score is magnificent here. The minute I finished the film, I had an urge to put on this score to be transported back to the Titanic. That does not happen very often to me. The performances are great all around. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet's chemistry was perfect. They played off each other so well and really sold this emphatic and rapid love the two shared. The movie spends a lot of time building their relationship and the payoff at the end is worth every second. Billy Zane was an over-the-top asshole, and even though it was cheesy at times, it worked for me. The other ancillary cast members did well, including Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher and Bill Paxton. This film is really two movies put into one and both of them work excellently. The first half is a charming and cute love story that spends a lot of time on character development, laying the background for motivations and personalities. While this half may have been my favorite, it is slightly outdone by the second half, which is a gripping and suspenseful survival action story. This section is brutal, showing large scale panic and hysteria while also having some incredibly horrific deaths. The chaos was infectious and very scary to watch. Both halves create a great sense of emotion in the audience and complement each other very well. Overall, this movie had twenty-five years of hype and critical acclaim to live up to, and I am happy to say it passed expectations. Since leaving the theater, I cannot stop thinking about it. Score: 96% | Verdict: Masterpiece On a side note: I did see this movie in 3D during the twenty-five-anniversary re-release. While it was great to see it remastered in 4K, I do think the 3D was poor and unneeded. This did not affect my grade however, since it was not originally designed as a 3D experience, and they 3D did not really take away for my enjoyment.
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