When the original “Titanic” came out in 1997, Director James Cameron is said to be certain it would be in the league of Heaven’s Gate”, a flop that single handedly brought down United Artists. Heaven’s Gate, with a previous Oscar winning director Michael Cimeno and a full cast of bankable stars, should have been a winner. Titanic, with cost over-runs, a prolific director who had never won an Oscar and a lot of actors never seen in major films before should have been what the Director predicted, a phenomenally expensive mega-turkey.
Titanic got fourteen Oscar nominations and eleven wins, including Best Picture and Director, grossed over US$1.8 billion dollars, remaining the highest grossing film ever made until Cameron’s next directorial effort, Avatar in 2009. Titanic made Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio world class stars and gave James Cameron a seat at the table with David Lean and Stanley Kubrick.
Written by Cameron, the story line is engrossing and original. The plot has substance and maintains interest. The action and direction are over the top. Photography is incredible. Each character lives. The ending is an authentic two-hankie weeper.
This issue in 2012 is big screen (IMAX) 3D.
Roger Ebert has led the list of critics unfriendly to the new medium of 3D. It adds nothing to the film experience creates annoying distractions and gives the film industry a reason to charge twice as much.
My experience with 3D for this film occurred at an IMAX theater with a huge screen. The theater was pretty full and we ended up over to one side, which meant we had to constantly shift our eyes from side to side to see the action. The screen was noticeably dimmer than a normal film and very, very loud. The actual 3D effect was technically very well done and did not inspire vertigo or a headache.
I tend to agree with Ebert that the 3D effect didn’t do much to enhance the quality of the experience, although certain parts were more vivid. The big screen was a little overbearing and, again, not really much of an “improvement”. More like just there for no particular reason other than to add bigness and loudness. US$26.00 for two people. If you go, be like a cat, get as high and middling as possible in the seating.
In the past, I have only given a very few other motion pictures a five/five rating. One (The Deer Hunter) was NOT suitable for popular consumption. Its genius was its ability to generate a profound emotional disturbance in an unwary filmgoer. It should have been destroyed after the premier. Titanic yields a similar visual and emotional impact without the viewer entering a suicidal depression afterwards. I give this film a rare five of five rating because it is filmmaking genius that virtually everyone can see and experience in relative safety. There is something to be said for that.
Best quote: Ismay: “But this ship can’t sink!” Thomas Andrews: “She’s made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can… and she will sink. It is a mathematical certainty”.
Worst feature: None. It is perfection.
I give it 5 of 5 sweaty palms against the jalopy rear window.
But wait……..A freebie EXTRA……………..
“Steal this Film II”, a brief film-let examining the ethics of Internet file-sharing, specifically the issue of “The Pirate Bay, the world’s most resilient bit-torrent service, still going strong after many years of legal threats.
I won’t comment on the legality or ethics of file sharing. This film examines the issues that brought file sharing about; including the rise of the decentralized “Internet” we all use daily and the emerging issues of user autonomy and the transition towards broader participation in creating culture.
Information has always been a valuable commodity and accordingly has always been guarded and marketed. The concept of “copyright” and intellectual property has existed to assure media is accessible to the masses only under defined circumstances. After the first printing press produced exact copies of sequestered media, the Church pronounced it a tool of the devil. The only way to access music or books was to purchase them under defined conditions at a controlled price.
The argument is made that the decentralized nature of the Internet, by way of user-generated content, turns consumers into producers leading to the creation and sharing of content not motivated by financial gains. This paradigm shift has fundamental implications for market-based media. This is the irrevocable Future. The genie is out of the bottle and will never be forced back into it.
The whole concept of copyright is now obsolete and must change according to the dictates of what is real in society, not what is desired. Proprietary owners of copyright wailed that the advent of VCR thirty years ago would destroy the industry. They found a way to profit from it. In 2009, Avatar cost US$273 million dollars to make. As of 2011 it has grossed US$2,7 billion dollars. Apple sold ten billion songs on iTunes as of 2010 for 99 cents each with a 30-cent profit per song. This in the middle of the file sharing frenzy.
The issue of file sharing and intellectual property is complicated and quite interesting. Download it here if you want to see more.
Not rated by me.