Let me be perfectly clear, I am reviewing the 3D version of the 1997 Titanic film, so while I am reviewing the movie on it’s own, I will also be reviewing the 3D aspect as well.
Typically, I am not a fan of post-processed 3D in films. That means it was completely filmed in 2D, and then put through some modifications to make it 3D. How? Basically by going through each scene, and often times each frame and creating fake 3D layers based on where the objects should be on a 3-dimensional plane. The problem with that is those layers themselves aren’t really 3D, and are flat, so after they are processed, it looks unnatural. When I saw “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” in 3D, Liam Neeson walked in front of Ewan McGregor, and you could tell something was off. Now just in the recent past months, they have been getting better. “Men in Black III” and “The Avengers” were both post-processed 3D, and they did a remarkable job, so I watched “Titanic” to see if they did it right.
We all know the basics of the Titanic disaster. “Titanic” recognizes that, and doesn’t pretend that we don’t know. Instead, the first twenty minutes or so of the film shows the damage of the ship in it’s current state before giving a brief recap of what happened to the ship. Now, Old Fart Rose (Gloria Stuart) visited a team of sea-divers when they found her nude drawing amongst the rubble, and continued to tell them her testimony of her personal days on the Titanic.
In 1912, the Titanic ships sail. On board are thousands of passengers, but only two are of strict importance, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet). Jack is the poor one, stowing away on the ship while Rose is the incredibly rich woman engaged to the incredibly rich man named Cal (Billy Zane). Jack first meets Rose about 40 minutes into the film when he stops her from committing suicide. The rest of the film documents the budding romance between the two, as Jack helps Rose realize that what they have is love while her relationship with her fiancée is simply out of status, not love.
So we already know the Titanic is going to end up sinking, but that’s not really what the movie is about. Most movies about the Titanic focus primarily on the ship itself, and the passengers reactions once the ship hits the iceberg. This film instead focuses heavily on Jack and Rose, and their tale of romance. The iceberg part doesn’t even happen until nearly two hours into the film
From the very beginning, the viewer has to be asking what happens to Jack if they don’t already know. There is obviously a few things that could have happened to him, first, he could have died of old age. Secondly, he and Rose could have both survived the sinking of the Titanic and gone their separate ways. Thirdly, he could have simply died with all the others during the sinking. Now I won’t spoil what happens, most already know, but if they don’t I won’t spoil you.
The acting is still top notch, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet did a great job with their roles, and they do have great chemistry, but they aren’t the only great actors in the film. While looking specifically for any faltering acting abilities from smaller characters, I found myself surprised at how well and believable every actor did with their respected character. However, Bill Paxton’s character I just found annoying. Now, I will say in the long run, the only truly memorable actors in this are Leo and Kate. I have seen this film in the late 90s, and the only characters I remember are Jack and Rose. Now if you are willing to call the Titanic a character as well, I would say that’s also memorable for obvious reasons.
Lets talk visuals. For a 1997 film, the visuals were top notch. There may have been some parts that could have used some help from nowadays graphics, but for a majority of the time, it’s very well done, and still the best presentation of the Unsinkable Titanic. The 3D, of course, was post -processed, but it was done pretty well. There are times here and there than look iffy, but it’s done well overall. The only problem was that making the movie 3D was completely unnecessary. I believe the only reason it was made into 3D was due to James Cameron’s apparent obsession with 3D. So what better way than to expand his fame than to re-release on of the top grossing movies of all time in 3D?
This really is a phenomenal movie, but it is so incredibly long. I couldn’t shake the feeling that they could have made just as good of a movie if they shortened it a half hour, maybe even a full hour. Making it longer could have made it even better realistically, but the main problem the film holds is that because of it’s length people are probably less likely to watch it multiple times, and rewatchability is a major factor in reviewing films.
Overall, it’s a great movie, but you can do without the 3D. It’s interesting at points in the movie, but it really doesn’t ever need that feature in the long run. You can enjoy it just as much if you purchase a standard version of the film at a cheaper cost.
Fun fact: The lady that played old fart Rose was living in 1912, but she was 2 years old.