Titanic (1997) – Valentine’s Day Film Review

Titanic: 1997 Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane.


Valentines’, a day many become poets. ‘The Filmstorian throwback reviews’ celebrates Lovers’ day with one of the greatest love stories ever told; Titanic.
On screen, Hollywood has told many stories; created worlds, destroyed civilizations, and hatched incredible block busters from true events – “Titanic” is one of the latter. This film stood as the highest grossing movie for more than a decade with $1.8 billion, before it’s 3D re-release in 2012, making another whopping sum of $340 million. The massive financial success of this movie proves one thing; with right acting every relationship can work!..kidding. Even though it’s more than two decades old, Titanic is still a massive source of fascination for many.
Opening shots of the movie showed the sediments of the 85 years old wreck. A remote-controlled TV camera maneuvers its way in and out the corridors, through doorways, showing us the beautiful galleries built for millionaires and elites but inherited by crustaceans.
These opening shots struck precisely the correct notice; from its grave the ship calls for its story to be told, and if it’s a story of broadway, footlights, smoke and mirror; so was this movie.
With a budget as high as $200 million, “Titanic” was probably the most ambitious movie ever made. Written and Directed by James Cameron. He uniquely tells this story. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the energetic and lively Jack Dawson in this epic film. It’s almost impossible to imagine the lovable scallywag without Leonardo’s floppy hair and boyish charm, but the role was originally assigned to Matthew McConaughey by the production company, James Cameron went afield and casted Lenny. Kate Winslet does justice to the role of Rose Bukater. Cameron, Winslet had the eyes and the face, “she had the thing that you look for” and he “just knew people would be ready to go the distance with her”. Billy Zane stars as Cal Hockley, the jealous boyfriend.

The FilmStory
Jack Dawson is having such a lucky day! Some nights ago he could only manage under a bridge to lay his head. After a well-played card game, he ends up as a passenger on a beautiful ocean greyhound. The ship of dreams sail for the first time; as the Titanic voyages back to America. But even that serious stroke of good fortune does not measure up to what happens next; out of nowhere, he meets the girl of his dreams. She’s definitely out of his league.
He’s a drift-about wanderer, part-time painter and she … well, she’s Rose DeWitt Bukater, a young beauty, called pompous and uppity by Jack’s friends but perfect in Jack’s eyes. Sure, she’s got a few little problems—one of them of course being a stifling bethrotment to a wealthy, controlling snake named Cal Hockley. That doesn’t bother Jack, he’s glad of him, because the guy drove Rose right into his arms. Jack was at the right place at the right time and stopped Rose from jumping off the jump.

The free-spirited Jack is dirt poor, but has freedom and choice in spades.
And now, as he walks on the deck of this gorgeous ship— the sun on his face, Rose in his arm — everything is possible. When they land in America, they’ll run away together. Work their way around the world, owing absolutely nothing to anyone. This is the beginning of a whole new life for both of them. But a giant iceberg had other plans.

What Makes this Movie Special
This film does a perfect job, especially to draw emotions. Before the movie begins we know certain things must happen. We know the Titanic must sail and sink, we know there will be attempts to make us convinced we are looking at a real ship. There must be a human part of this story, could be a romance – involving a few of the passengers. There must be scenerios involving some of the other passengers and a subplot involving the loftiness and pride of the ship’s builders. We knew there must be a reenactment of the ship’s terrible deaths and anguish.
All of those elements are present but weighed and balanced like ballast! Making every scene proportional. And with acting so inspirational, they are heavy enough to create true suspense and anxiety among audiences. Cameron’s Titanic remains thrilling even within an obvious plot.
It was 1997, visual effects and technology available were not the best, yet Titanic displayed special effects so amazing, too advanced for its time! The $200 million production, was such an enormous effort that incorporated a dive to the wreck of the real ship by the director, full-scale sinkable sets constructed in a massive built water tank, large scale practical effects, intricate miniatures and cutting-edge digital visual effects – ushering in the realm of digital water and extras. All this with Cameron’s trademark attention to detail, gold was sure. But what can one expect? Cameron didn’t choose to make the most expensive film ever made as an opportunity to ‘reinvent the wheel’. This magnificent ‘ship story’ had ground breaking visual effects.
Personally, what made this movie for me was its beautiful screenplay. It tells Jack’s and Rose’s story and unobtrusively shows off the ship. Keeps the disasters going on, hinged. It takes its time, points to other passengers on the ship facing similar deadly circumstances with as much bravery and love as possible: A mother calms her children with stories of family and home. An elderly couple embrace and whisper words of love. Crewmen staybelow decks aiding the stragglers, even as the waters rush in. A passenger intoning “Yea, though I walk through the valley of death …” when an impatient Jack steps up behind him and grumbles, “You wanna walk a little faster through that valley!?” A priest comforts passengers by reciting passages from Revelation, long before, an overconfident man boasts that “God himself could not sink” the ship.
And right up to the point of the final devastation, the ship’s string quartet plays comforting tunes and hymns to calm the frightened passengers. Even the villain, played by Zane, reveals a human element at a crucial moment (saving a little girl while escaping the drowning ship, despite everything, damn it all, he does love the girl).

This 195 minutes film brings to light topics of; socioeconomic status and labels, vulnerability of love, strength of love, hopelessness and hopefulness.
And then Celine Dion puts the icing on the cake with a theme song that “will go on” to become one of the most fitting tunes for a tragedic love story.
It cost the White Star Line $7.5 million to build the RMS Titanic, it was a huge risk to launch a ship so big in 1912, but Paramount Pictures spent $200 million to make a movie about it, It was an even bigger risk to tell its story in 1997. Dozens of books and movies had already come and gone before James Cameron went “onboard” with the idea. The idea to tell a story that everyone who buys a ticket for or purchases a video of, would already know what happens at the end. Nevertheless, he struck gold, $2.1billon dollars worth of gold and a movie that will never be forgotten.

Afterthought
The images that has haunted me since I first saw Titanic, were the moments right after the ship sank. The night sea was quiet enough, cries for help waved easily across waters. While still dressed up in the latest style, hundreds froze and drowned. What a bizarre position to find yourself in after spending all that money for a ticket on an “unsinkable ship”.

Quotes from the Movie
“I’d rather be his whore, than your wife.” – Rose to Cal.
“Promise me you will survive….that you will never give up…not matter what happens…no matter how hopeless…promise me now.” – Jack to Rose, as he’s freezing in the Atlantic.
“I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go. I promise.” – Rose to Jack, as she lets go of Jack.
“But now you know there was a man named Jack Dawson and that he saved me… in every way that a person can be saved.” – Old Rose.
Happy Valentines Movie lovers, we love you with all our ‘arts’.

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