Help James Cameron Pay for His Trip to Mars
Yes my friends, fourteen and a half years after it was released in theaters, Titanic is back. This is ostensibly to honor the 100th anniversary of the tragic disaster that killed more than 1500 people. But really, it's to make money.
The timing is fortuitous, because the people who were born around the time it came out are now at the perfect age -- 14 years old -- for maximum enjoyment of this schlock fest. Also, I guess they like 3D? Though before they get too excited, somebody warn them that the film that almost sunk Leo DiCaprio's career is over three hours long. Three and one quarter hours. That's like watching six and a half straight episodes of The Wizards of Waverly Place, or whatever it is they watch.
Pack some extra Ritalin in your lunchbox, kids.
I saw Titanic when it came out in 1997. I thought it was okay, except for its length, dialogue and Celine Dion song. I didn't regret seeing it -- though my mom did humiliate me by continuing to sob as we exited the theater -- but I had many friends who felt differently. They loved it. Loved it so much that they continued to pay money for the pleasure of sitting through it, over and over.
I just don't get it.
For whatever reason, Titanic blinds perfectly smart people to its ridiculous qualities and inspires great devotion. People think it's romantic -- this sordid love affair between a poor boy and a rich girl who barely know each other. Does anyone consider that their relationship couldn't have possibly worked out had Jack (DiCaprio) lived? Rose (Kate Winslet) was spoiled, with not a penny to her name. Jack was homeless, with not a penny to his name. Do you know how poor people lived in 1912? The complete lack of indoor plumbing? She would have lasted two weeks before she got an express train back to the arms of her fiance, Billy Zane.
Or maybe I've just been watching too much Downton Abbey. Funny how well-written dialogue and remotely believable characters can jade a gal.
However, I must concede that Titanic has a few things going for it: its technical achievements and the portrayal of people onboard the ship who have nothing to do with the story. These are the things that bring the real tragedy to life.
The fantastic sight of the Titanic striking an iceberg, breaking in half and going down is excellent. There's also some intense, high-tech submarine work at the beginning. In 1997, these things blew my mind. I wonder why James Cameron decided to slap annoying 3D effects over what is certainly the best aspect of his movie? I know, I know -- he recently made Avatar, what will probably go down as being the best 3D movie ever made (though Hugo still gets my vote). But Avatar was made to be 3D; Titanic was not.
Secondly, the portrayal of the extraneous characters -- the rich ones, the poor ones, the crew -- couldn't have been better. They are the people I cared about, these stand-ins for the actual human beings who stared death in the face for several hours before finally freezing to death or drowning.
The most moving parts happen at the end, which makes it all the more unfortunate when "My Heart Will Go On" kicks off as the credits start to role. What a buzz kill.
Answer me this: Has there ever been a more inane coupling of lyrics than "Near, far, wherever you are / I believe that the heart does go on"? I'm still not convinced that a second-grader didn't write it.