Writer/director/producer James Cameron has tweaked Titanic and the unsinkable ship now sinks in three-dimensions.
Or at least most of the time. Some scenes are left alone, but not the stunning sinking ship images, the watery grave passageways, the panoramic sweeps along the decks or on the detailed sets such as the classic stairway.
In the original two dimensions, the effects were incredible. Take them to three-dimensions, and they’re mind-boggling.
That leads to my complaint. Cameron has chosen to release his tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in just three-dimensions. C'mon, James. Why not two, too? To steal your line from the Oscar telecast and from Leo DiCaprio’s Jack Dawson, in 1997 you really were the king of the world. Your two-dimensional version blew us all away.
I caught the original on the big screen twice in 1997 and have not seen it since. Not on video, not on TV. Not seeing it for 15 years has left me I convinced Cameron's Titanic was the best movie of 1997. I am not alone. It got 14 Oscar nominations and took home 11 for best picture, director, art design, effects, editing and cinematography. Titanic picked up best picture and director at the Golden Globes and a bunch of other awards.
In 1997, the 3-hour, 4-minute movie took my breath away. Today, not so much.
In retrospect, Cameron’s film is a bit dragged out. The chemistry between then teen idol DiCaprio and the oft award-nominated Kate Winslet works very well, and Cameron’s casting of sneery-faced Billy Zane as the fiance villain is inspired. They, and a few of the supporting characters, keep it interesting and hook you somewhat until Cameron finally gets down to the tense business of sinking the ship.
That’s when Titanic lives up to the hype of the last 15 years, and it’s when the film lives up to its three-dimensional — and extra charge at the box-office — hype.
That leads to my basic movie philosophy. Movies should be seen in theaters. Period. They’re made for enormous screens and big sound. I do understand why people don’t see them in theaters. The expense for one. There are also rude, mobile device-wielding texters.
With some flicks, you can get away with waiting until they come out on DVD. But not all.
In 1997, I warned readers that Titanic is a must-see big screen movie and not to wait until it was out on what was then VHS and for a few — but not many — DVD.
At the time, I was doing film reviews on a local TV station. When the VHS came out in 1998, I plopped down in front of a very small TV and made fun of Cameron’s incredible effects being squeezed into insignificance. And on a television screen — even your big one with surround sound — it is insignificant when compared to the real deal.
Here’s the message. A lot of you have never seen Titanic in a theater. Some who’ve only seen it on video don’t think the film is that big of a deal.
Your chance to correct that assumption is here. If you have never seen Titanic on a big screen, do make the effort this time. Those who saw it in 1997, give yourself a treat. Even dragged out a bit, Cameron’s film is still mind-blowing.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, brief nudity, some violence. It’s playing at the Carmike 12 and the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.