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Titanic


kenmorefield
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I'll cop to liking it and thinking it's unfairly bashed. Then again, I think James Cameron is one of the most gifted filmmakers I know (watch Aliens or The Abyss again). But it's still Cameron's weakest film, excepting Pirahna 2.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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I like it because it has Kate Winset's insightful art criticism comment about Leonardo's drawings:

"They're like something out of a dream... there's truth but no logic."

For some reason that line became a surreal catchphrase in a factory I once worked in. Anyway, yes I like it. It draws you in.

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Might as well re-post what I posted in that other thread two days ago ...

- - -

Three 'Titanic' DVD editions set sail October 25

Three different editions of "Titanic" will be released October 25 on DVD, but only one will be available for U.S. consumers.

A three-disc "special collector's edition" of the world's biggest movie will only be issued in the U.S., Japan and Korea, said Thomas Lesinksi, president of worldwide home entertainment at Paramount Pictures.

"Titanic" fans in Europe, Australia and Latin America will get to choose between a two-disc special edition and a four-disc "deluxe collector's edition." . . .

Hollywood Reporter, September 2

- - -

As for me and my house -- well, okay, I haven't checked with my house yet -- but as for me, this film made my top ten list for 1997, somewhere in the middle as I recall.

But I have only seen the film twice -- once at a preview screening two weeks before it opened, and once with my sister during its first week of release (when it barely beat a James Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, for the #1 spot that week; both films had decent but hardly record-setting opening-weekend tallies of between $25mil and $29mil). What I'm getting at here is that I have not seen the film since it became a "phenomenon", since it became the sort of thing that people backlash against, since it became the sort of thing that people overanalyze or dismiss merely to prove how unpopulist they are.

As for the film's place in James Cameron's canon, I am a huge, huge fan of The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986), and I tend to think of The Abyss (1989) as his Apocalypse Now -- he bit off more than he could chew, and it kinda goes limp in the end, and you can almost-kinda-sorta see his career sputter out as his ambition finally outpaces his skill, but my goodness, what a fantastic ride!

But after that, yawn. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) is inferior to the original in many respects (for many reasons, including the ones I got into here), and True Lies (a 1994 remake of a French film) is pretty offensive on a number of levels (in my end-of-the-year lists, I put the first half-hour in the Top 10 and the rest of it in the Bottom 10).

Titanic (1997), while derivative of the original Terminator on a narrative level, was at least a decent spectacle and a decent romance. It's easily his best film since the '80s.

Interesting factoid: Keeping in mind Piranha II: The Spawning (1981) and the allegation that The Terminator may have been inspired by a couple of Outer Limits episodes, it is just possible that Titanic is the ONLY James Cameron film, apart from The Abyss, that is neither a remake nor a sequel. Except for the fact that there have been so many OTHER movies about the disaster!

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Titanic is a seriously flawed movie that I enjoy immensely despite its flaws.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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Ken, I've been steady in my praise of this film since its theatrical release, and I, too, have felt the cold shoulders of others who can't believe I have anything nice to say about the movie.

My main qualification is that the film needs to be experienced on a big screen. I tried watching it on NBC about a year ago, and found the weak dialogue glaring without the spectacle playing out a huge canvass.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I love this film, and consider it one of my favourites of all time. Obviously, realism is not the barometer by which we should measure this overblown piece of grandeur. Although one can certainly read the film in an ironic kitschy tone, completely losing oneself in the glory of the flying scene can also be beneficial. Here's a review that perfectly sums up my feelings.

Nick's Flick Picks

The crisis of the ship's sinking registers so powerfully, then, because we see how cruelly and uncontrollably the dual "real worlds" of physical jeopardy and social edict can intrude on the fairy tales we forever want to write for ourselves. The whole story of the Titanic is about impossible daydreams being punctured by hard facts, and so we get a love story that is also impossible and even insipid that is eventually confronted with a big dose of reality. I certainly think that the kind of picture some have suggested as an alternative to a mawkish romance

I reason, Earth is short -

And Anguish - absolute -

And many hurt,

But, what of that?

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I found it cloying and unlikeable. Despite the undeniable skill with which it was designed and produced, the writing, casting, and acting seemed to be about creating purely for the sake of the audience's expectations, rather than attempting to affect those expectations positively.

That's just how eye roll.

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Ugh, Titanic was a disaster. Pun intended.

I thought Kate and Leo were both pretty terrible, the dialogue was 100% cornball, the supporting characters were lame (especially Kate's snobby fiancee, who was a two-dimensional, moustache-twirling baddie), the social-class dilemmas trite, and the love-triangle predictable.

But at least it wasn't as bad as Hope Floats.

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Like Peter, i saw it before the hype hit. We went to the brand new multi-plex to see AMISTAD, which was sold out, so we had to settle for this other one none of us had heard of, TITANIC. (Still haven't seen AMISTAD.)

It was like there were two movies. The love story I found pretty melodramatic and silly, but that's not uncommon with love stories, so I could handle it. The disaster part of the story I found extremely compelling: I left the theatre really shaken up, for the first time really impacted by the horror of the event. It was a desperately cold night, and I felt so acutely what it must have been like to be lost in that icy water.

Of course, I subsequently got the full force of the TITANIC phenomenon. My two daughters were nine and eleven, the bullseye demographic for Leomania. I actually felt good about the fact that I had been moved by a film they treasured so much - though I did have to acknowledge that the parts of the story that appealed most to them weren't what worked best for me.

(People complained that Rose's fiance was so inhumanly nasty. That was one of my favourite parts of the romance storyline - he was great! Snively Whiplash on a boat. Dethpicable.)

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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  • 4 years later...

Video: Astrophysicist Convinced James Cameron to Re-Edit "Titanic"

During the Cosmic Quandaries event in St Petersburg, our favorite astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson was answering questions about any and all galactic wonders.

One of the topics that Tyson touched on was bad science in Hollywood movies. And while he completely ignored Michael Bay's "Armageddon," since it's just a fun movie, Tyson focused more on films that try to be accurate. His biggest complaint was with "Titanic" and director James Cameron. Watch the video below to hear Tyson explain the problem with the movie and what he did about it.

WorstPreviews.com, September 17

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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'Titanic' prepped for 3D reissue

Disney's imminent rerelease of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" in 3D has many wondering if others will tap their film libraries for extra-dimensional opportunities, but it appears less a matter of if than when.

Execs on lots all around town acknowledge spitballing sessions about possible 3D rereleases. At Lightstorm Entertainment, insiders suggest it will be less than a year before a 3D rerelease is announced for a little film called "Titanic."

Hollywood Reporter, September 22

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Execs on lots all around town acknowledge spitballing sessions about possible 3D rereleases.

The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D is playing here from mid-October thru Thanksgiving or so. I've never actually seen it...

Piranha 3-D is set for sometime next summer, although that's a reboot with (ahem, MISSTEP! MISSTEP!) Alexandre Aja's name as director... Edit: Oh, maybe not. The Hills Have Eyes fans would surely want to watch the little fishies eating people. I guess I was thinking about Haute Tension, but now that I look, the greatness of that film kinda looks like a fluke.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Execs on lots all around town acknowledge spitballing sessions about possible 3D rereleases.

Hollywood Reporter, September 22

I'm can't wait until the release of My Dinner with Andre 3D.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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  • 5 months later...

James Cameron to USA Today: "We're targeting spring of 2012 for the release (of a 3D version of Titanic), which is the 100 year anniversary of the sailing of the ship."

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 1 year later...

Ebert has seen it in 3D, and has a review on his blog site.

Now for the final flaw. It is, of course, the 3D process. Cameron has justly been praised for being one of the few directors to use 3D usefully, in "Avatar." But "Titanic" was not shot for 3D, and just as you cannot gild a pig, you cannot make 2D into 3D. What you can do, and he tries to do it well, is find certain scenes that you can present as having planes of focus in foreground, middle and distance. So what? Did you miss any dimensions the first time you saw "Titanic?" No matter how long Cameron took to do it, no matter how much he spent, this is retrofitted 2D. Case closed.

But not quite. There's more to it than that. 3D causes a noticeable loss in the brightness coming from the screen. Some say as much as 20 percent. If you saw an ordinary film dimmed that much, you might complain to the management. Here you're supposed to be grateful you had the opportunity to pay a surcharge for this defacement. If you're alert to it, you'll notice that many shots and sequences in this version are not in 3D at all, but remain in 2D. If you take off your glasses, they'll pop off the screen with dramatically improved brightness. I know why the film is in 3D. It's to justify the extra charge. That's a shabby way to treat a masterpiece.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Ebert has seen it in 3D, and has a review on his blog site.

Now for the final flaw. It is, of course, the 3D process. Cameron has justly been praised for being one of the few directors to use 3D usefully, in "Avatar." But "Titanic" was not shot for 3D, and just as you cannot gild a pig, you cannot make 2D into 3D. What you can do, and he tries to do it well, is find certain scenes that you can present as having planes of focus in foreground, middle and distance. So what? Did you miss any dimensions the first time you saw "Titanic?" No matter how long Cameron took to do it, no matter how much he spent, this is retrofitted 2D. Case closed.

But not quite. There's more to it than that. 3D causes a noticeable loss in the brightness coming from the screen. Some say as much as 20 percent. If you saw an ordinary film dimmed that much, you might complain to the management. Here you're supposed to be grateful you had the opportunity to pay a surcharge for this defacement. If you're alert to it, you'll notice that many shots and sequences in this version are not in 3D at all, but remain in 2D. If you take off your glasses, they'll pop off the screen with dramatically improved brightness. I know why the film is in 3D. It's to justify the extra charge. That's a shabby way to treat a masterpiece.

I have to agree after seeing Phantom Menace in 3D (not to mention Titanic is generally not as suited to 3D as Star Wars). The conversion was well done, but do I have any interest in seeing the rest of the films in 3D? Not really. I'd like to catch 2D showings of the rest, if possible.

On Phantom the lighting was so dim I almost found it hard to believe . . . that might have partially been the theater's fault, but it's still not a good argument for converting films into 3D, at least until the brightness issue is reduced or resolved.

Of course the fact that Phantom isn't a good film in the first place doesn't help, but still . . .

I'm really losing my liking for 3D, even though I've seen what it can do (Avatar, U2 3D, Hugo) when used correctly. It's just not that much of an improvement. Which leaves me wondering, for example, if I should even bother seeing something like John Carter (which was designed for 3D) in 3D.

I will say this: after seeing the trailer (with the first-person section) for Spiderman I know I need to see that film in 3D. I got chills. The first-person looks ridiculous on a computer monitor, in 2D, but it really works on the big-screen in 3D.

@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

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I've never understood why brightness needs to be an issue.

Yes, each of your eyes is only getting information half as much of the time as with a regular movie, and persistence of motion averages that out over fractions of a second and the overall effect is a dimmer picture. But the projectors that project in 3D were designed for precisely this process. Why can't they just ... wait for it ... use brighter light? Is there some technical reason why you can't combat the dimness without getting a washed-out effect, or something? I don't get it.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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I've never understood why brightness needs to be an issue.

Yes, each of your eyes is only getting information half as much of the time as with a regular movie, and persistence of motion averages that out over fractions of a second and the overall effect is a dimmer picture. But the projectors that project in 3D were designed for precisely this process. Why can't they just ... wait for it ... use brighter light? Is there some technical reason why you can't combat the dimness without getting a washed-out effect, or something? I don't get it.

I suspect (but I certainly no expert) that the screens may be part of the problem. According to "How a Movie Screen Works" it's a trade off between refectivity (which would involve brightness) and how dark black is. So if you used brighter light, you might mess up the part you want to be dark along with it. Of course, 3D glasses may the dark darker so maybe that would be a wash.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Lou Lumenick (who (in)famously whacked Ebert over the head with his film-festival program when Ebert kept tapping him on the shoulder a few years ago) had a comment on the New York Post blog before Ebert's post went up, and Lumenick really really liked the 3D conversion:

The James Cameron's spectacular new 3D version of "Titanic'' is everything I hoped for, and more. Attending one of Tuesday night's Valentine Day screenings around the world in New York, I had a great appreciation of how judiciously and subtly Cameron used 3-D technology to make a great film greater.

Cameron, who has been critical of post-conversion of conventionally filmed movies to 3-D, has obviously taken great care in using the technology to enhance the experience of watching his 1997 Oscar winner. Though "Titanic'' is half an hour longer than his "Avatar,'' I found it less of a strain on the eyes.

The 3D in "Titanic'' is more effective than in most films that were originally filmed in the process. It adds depth and makes the vastness of the titular ship, its decks and corridors look even larger and longer.

But Cameron also uses it to place emphasis on many smaller key objects, like Kate Winslet's necklace and the axe she uses on Leonardo DiCaprio's handcuffs. Winslet's suicide attempt is even more chilling in three dimensions.

The already-spectacular effects in the long sinking sequence look even more breathtaking in 3-D. It helps that Cameron originally filmed "Titanic'' in a relatively classic style, so there are fewer of those quick cuts that can be so jarring in 3-D, which requires more time for your brain to process edits.

Winslet's voluptuous figure in 3-D is one of the most magical effects . . .

Oh I am so there.

Meanwhile, David Poland finds the 3D unnecessary but finds he likes the movie a lot more now than he did 15 years ago.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 1 month later...

Saw it in IMAX 3D this weekend - I was surprised at how poor the 3D rendering was in places; in places, it was distracting how cardboard cutout-like some foreground characters were against the scenery. I still like the movie very much, though, in spite of some occasionally lame dialogue.

Edited by Andrew

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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