Established May 2010.

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Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird.

Film Critic for Twin Cities Live

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Movie Review: TITANIC 3D

Director: James Cameron
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Gloria Stuart, Kathy Bates

When treasure hunter Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) goes down to the wreckage of the Titanic, he ends up with more than he bargains for. He is in search for a rare blue diamond called The Heart of the Ocean. If found, it would be worth more than the Hope Diamond. It was believed to have been on the Titanic when it went down. A safe is brought up, but the diamond is not in it.  His crew discovers a drawing in the safe of a woman naked wearing the diamond dated April 14, 1912. Brock receives a phone call from an elderly woman named Rose Calvert who claims to be the woman in the drawing. They bring Rose and her granddaughter (Suzi Amis) aboard their ship to hear her story. Rose recounts the days of her life aboard the Titanic. She (Winslet) was an elite member of First Class who was engaged to Caledon Hockley (Billy Zane) only in attempt to retain her family's social status and marry into money. He is a volatile man who mistreats her at every chance. After an attempt at jumping overboard, she is rescued by steerage passenger Jack Dawson (DiCaprio). He is a vagabond who won his ticket during a poker hand. Even though they have nothing in common, they strike a chord with each other and their love affair begins.

So the big question is, how does it look in 3D? James Cameron and his team spent over a year in the process of converting it from 2D to 3D to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking. The 3D is great, but for different reasons than one might think. You have to remember that it was filmed for 2D. You don't have images flying in your face. You won't have someone falling off the ship and into your lap. It is not that type of 3D movie. There are also plenty of scenes that are not in 3D due to the nature of the shots. I think the 3D works because it elevates the overall feel and mood of the movie when it is used. The costumes appear richer, the hallways appear longer, the water seems more overwhelming, and the ship seems bigger. I also felt like it really enhanced the spacial relationships the characters had with each other. You can feel the tightness as everyone is crammed on a life boat or as they are trying to survive on the top of the stern.

On a technical standpoint, it's a exceptionally well-made movie. Between the use of models, sets, real-life footage, and huge water filled sound stages, the audience really gets a feel for the atmosphere and epic size of the ship. I can only imagine that if it was made today with some other director, everything would be against a green screen with fake looking CGI backdrops. Once the iceberg hits, it is a tight tense second half. I still get nervous when Jack is handcuffed to the piping as Rose finds a way to break him free. Cameron does a fantastic job of incorporating how the "unsinkable" ship started to flood and how the sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic happened. He also uses various real-life passengers like: John Jacob Astor, the Guggenheims, and Molly Brown (Bates) as characters in the movie. I think if the romance between Jack and Rose bothers you, you will find the history portion and technical aspects intriguing. 

Titanic is one grand epic saga of a movie. Seeing it again on the big screen and in 3D proves that this is the kind of movie that is meant to be seen in the theaters. The smaller screen in your living room cannot do it justice. It is by no means a perfect movie. It has become a movie that some people love to hate. Sure, some could say the screenplay is poorly written. Some could even call it melodramatic at times. For me, I can forgive some of those flaws. Winslet and DiCaprio have beautiful chemistry together and are strong enough actors to not let some cheesy dialogue get in the way of the audience falling for Jack and Rose. Kathy Bates is a hysterical treat as Molly Brown. On the other side of the acting range, Billy Zane and Bill Paxton are a little over-the-top at times. I am here to admit once again how much I love this movie. Yes, some of the dialogue can be eye rolling. I will be the first to admit it. That does not stop me from watching it every time I see it on cable despite the fact I have it on VHS and DVD. I will also buy the Blu-Ray when it comes out. I remember seeing it opening night at the Mall of America on December 19, 1997 with my Uncle Bob and Aunt Kathy. I was a young movie lover and was instantly drawn to everything about this movie. I fell in love with Kate Winslet and became an even bigger fan of Leonardo DiCaprio. On the history front, it really was one of my first insights into the tragedy of the real Titanic. It became the highest grossing movie of all time until Cameron's Avatar claimed the number one spot in 2009. People flocked to the theater countless times. It went on to win 11 Academy Awards out of 14 nominations. It tied Ben-Hur for winning the most Oscars. If you liked it the first time or numerous times since then, you will love it again back on the big screen.

RATING: ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

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  1. Kate owns that fucking movie!

  2. Kate is a goddess. Did you know she was only 21 when she made that movie? I'll watch her in any movie.