well, here we are. Titanic. one of, if not THE, most talked about Best Picture winners ever. Now, one of the things that I feel about the movie is that if the story was set anywhere other than the Titanic, maybe Jack and Rose meeting on a different ship or in a big city, this movie would be absolutely Razzie worthy. the scenes with Jack and Rose are some of the worst parts of the whole movie with a screenplay to match. Also, what's with the Celine Dion soundtrack. every time something bad happens he has to come in doing her vocal stuff it gets annoying pretty fast. however, when they focus on something other than her relationship, that's when the quality shows up. that's when I really get into this movie. See, as a young child I was obsessed with the Titanic. as such I know a lot about it. so, it was interesting for me to see how James Cameron brought the history to life. I liked seeing the ship in all of its glory and then the shots of the ship underwater after 70 years are really awesome.
Before I go deeper I want to pause for some of the history. mainly, that if one thing had gone differently then the whole thing could have been avoided/not as bad. for instance, if when they saw the iceberg and realized that they weren't going to be able to simply miss it by turning, if they had gone straight into the iceberg head on, then the watertight compartments would have kept the ship afloat and the damage to the ship would have been minimal (still visible though). one of the reasons that the ship sank so quickly is that the ship had such large gashes in it and the ship was only designed to have 4 or so compartments filled with water to keep afloat and the water filled like 7 or 8 or something like that. if they had hit the iceberg head on, then the collision would have stopped the ship and only 2 or 3 compartments would have been needed to be sealed. However, the turning is perfectly understandable becasue it is pure instinct to turn when you see a who knows how large object in front of you and you are about to run into it. also, as an interesting tidbit, there was a book written in 1898 called Futility, or the wreck of the Titan. in that book an ocean liner that is declared unsinkable strikes an iceberg and sinks and a lot of the passengers die becasue there are not enough lifeboats. hmmmmm. hmmmmmm. this book was written in 1989. interesting huh?
another thing with this movie is how overrated it is. it has been 13 years and people are already tired of hearing about it. "okay Jack dies the ship sinks blah blah blah blah blah" yeah. this movie hasn't aged well. Avatar will not either for the same reason.
One thing that love about this movie is that id does some dramatic parts very well. when the band is playing Nearer my God to Thee and they show all of the people trapped in the ship basically getting ready to die as peacefully as they possibly can, like the old couple (incidentally those two were the founders of Macy's) snuggling together in their last moments or the mother telling her kids a bedtime story as their room is filling with water. yeah. that is the best scene in the entire movie easily. Also, the little bit where the priest is preaching about heaven as the ship is tipping up and going down vertically and he stays to get people through their imminent deaths despite how obviously scared he is was an amazing bit (it's also a true story by the way). I liked how James Cameron slipped in true stories. another one is when Jack and Rose are on the railing and the ship is perfectly vertical and they look over and see one of the ship's bakers with them, well the story of that guy is that he went into the water while the ship was sinking and he survived becasue he had just enough food and booze to keep him alive until the lifeboats came back. Also, I like that the visual effects add something to the plot. the visuals in this movie are the fact that the ship is actively sinking around the characters. with Avatar the visuals are just eye candy. with this one, they contribute to the story and help move it along.
Final Verdict: Close Call. this film has not aged well and half the movie is annoying and overrated. however the other half is an amazing story coupled with some excellent visual effects. Competition Film: Good Will Hunting.
TRIVIA TIME: 1. James Cameron went on the dives to the real Titanic himself, and found it an overwhelming emotional experience to actually see it. He ended up spending more time with the ship than its living passengers did.
2. In real life there was concern that the davits might not be strong enough to lower the boats fully loaded, although they had in fact been tested under such a weight. The davits in the film, which can be seen flexing under the weight, were made by the same company as the real-life ones.
3. Most of the ocean which extras were jumping into was 3 feet deep.