I saw Titanic more than once on the first go round in 1997- the third time was even on a date! It was pure disaster porn and my takeaway point was apparently that when faced with death by propeller, or plunging into the cold blue sea, I would take the pessimistic approach and go the revolver route (I know. I know. My date was suitably appalled too).
I’ve since rethought that position – better to give oneself a fighting chance, play those odds and potentially end up on one of those rescue boats.
If I can change my mind about that, maybe I will find the epic romance between Jack and Rose more compelling this time around? And in 3-D no less!
Cameron is a visual genius and I’m fairly certain that the extremely basic boy-from-wrong-part-of-the-boat-meets-uptown-girl plot was an afterthought to the spectacle of a sinking Titanic. A spectacle that almost nearly completely distracted me from the star-crossed tale in the past. But as I watched Jack and Rose at sunset on the prow of that majestic boat, and the camera spun around them as the score built up, I realized that Cameron had perfectly mirrored the soaring emotion that comes with young love’s first kiss. And he uses these aural and visual parallels throughout the love story, a love story that really does consist of some memorably charming scenes (“Draw me like one of your French girls!”)
The chemistry between Leo and Kate is off the charts hot, no denying that, but I still don’t see the purpose of the cartoonish Cal as played with some really bizarre acting choices by Billy Zane (the only thing missing was a moustache to twirl). There just really isn’t any need for contrived romantic peril when this doomed romance is taking place on a doomed voyage.
Now about that 3D business. A few years ago James Cameron spoke out against the retroactive 3D conversion of films, and he really should have stuck to his guns. The original bright pastel palette of the film is dulled and darkened by the 3D projection lenses, and it really doesn’t add anything to what was, and is, an amazing visual ride.
Editor’s note: Geez Nadia, SPOILER ALERT!
One final thought. I did choke up at the end but I think it was with rage. After all that, Rose couldn’t just move over and let Jack counterbalance her weight? One attempt? That’s it??? She totally killed him with her selfishness. So maybe not the right emotional response to doomed first love, but definitely a strong one.