Quick recap: So, there’s this ship, ok? And everyone says it will never sink, which is exactly the sort of thing you should say when you want the ship to sink. Which it does. And there’s also a love story thrown in for good measure.
Fun (?) fact: After the Internet collectively decided Jack could have fit on the door at the end of the film, James Cameron went on record saying that no, ‘It’s not a question of room; it’s a question of buoyancy.” That’s when the Mythbusters stepped in and proved that with a little bit of help from the life jackets, both Jack and Rose totally could’ve survived.
My thoughts: Titanic came out in when I was in junior high and because I was a Cool Teen, I boycotted watching it. While my friends bought tickets to see the movie again and again in theaters, I scoffed at how easily they fell for a love story. I was especially angry that James Cameron turned a perfectly good disaster story into romance. Yuck. But behind closed doors? That was a different story. I got the VHS tapes as a throwaway gift at Christmas and although I outwardly seethed at such a Teenage gift, inside I was giddy to finally see what all the fuss was about. Secretly I watched the movie several times, pausing at my favorite part, when Rose jumps from the life boat back onto the sinking ship and makes the choice to stay with her love. I never admitted it, but it was this level of love I wanted. It wouldn’t be until Moulin Rouge several years later that I could finally be free and admit I had a soft side.
To the most obvious question, ‘Does Titanic hold up 20 years later?’ It does, mostly. Watching it this time around, I was more aware of the background actors, all supposedly based off of real passengers. Their various deaths stung more when I watched than I remembered back then. The visuals were just as amazing as they were back then and I can’t imagine anyone ever being able to do the disaster better than Cameron did. As for the central love story, this time I wasn’t as enthralled. Leo and Kate have amazing chemistry and sell their characters so well, but the dialogue was insanely cheesy at times, to the point that I cringed during some scenes. Unhappy Rich Girl and Impish Wanderlust Guy just didn’t have the same impact as it did when I was 13. But really, the plot only grated on me during the first part of the film. The second part, when they’ve hit the iceberg, is near perfect. I mean, except for the death. That was unfortunate. I absolutely loved the scenes where Jack and Rose were trying to find a way out through the freezing water and the lights kept flickering on and off. Those moments alone could’ve made a great horror film.
I was in Walgreens a couple of days ago and that Celine Dion song came on the speakers. My first instinct was to roll my eyes but then flashes of the movie started going through my head and for a brief moment, I felt genuinely sad, as if I had just watched a documentary on two real people on the Titanic. Teenage Me would be so embarrassed that I admitted that just now, but that’s part of growing up, I suppose.
Final review: 5/5
Up next: Meet Me in St. Louis
Cameron is a genius for making this movie. Not because it’s remotely a great movie, but because he had it all figured out, he knew how to make the biggest film of all time. He combined SFX and spectacle on a grand scale, like no one had ever seen before, but there was also the love story that made all the teenage girls weepy. I have nothing against teen girls, but they do tend to weep over things like this. And the real genius of the movie was, all the macho guys sat through the looooong, akwardly-written romance, because they knew that iceberg was coming. And all the teen girls sat through the action in the second half, because they wanted to see Leo and Kate get through it and end up together. Then Cameron kind of pulled the rug out at the end, but I guess he figured that deep down, the teen girls wanted to weep more than they wanted a happy resolution.
Most of the huge films cut across demographics.
That is so true! Also the fact that Cameron got funding for his hobby. Genius, definitely.