© 1997 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Titanic (1997)

I had never actually sat down to watch James Cameron’s Titanic. When it was first released, I had no interest in it whatsoever. When I was working at a TV station in Tokyo a few years ago, I was hanging out in the green room before a live broadcast, and caught bits and pieces of the last 20 minutes, as it was airing just before the show I worked on went on the air, and that was enough to assure me that I hadn’t missed too much. But recently I watched the excellent A Night to Remember with friends, and I was the only person in the room who had never seen Cameron’s take on things. I decided to watch it, knowing that it would be a A Night to Remember with some of The Abyss and Romeo and Juliet thrown in. I was right, but even I was surprised to find lines and even extended dialogue lifted straight from A Night to Remember. However, Cameron failed to apply and subtly or depth to his examination of the class divides that existed on board the ship, and even in the middle of the sea after the steamer went down. A Night to Remember also deals well with the very British sense of stoic nobility and gentleman chivalry which came into play as the ship was sinking, and this is lost in the American retelling of the story. I do appreciate the fact that Cameron did not want to portray the ship as quietly, majestically sliding into the deep, dark dark sea but rather broke apart in a violent and horrifying way, but the seemingly endless special effects crescendos get old pretty quickly. I did enjoy David Warner in a not-big-enough role as one of the star-crossed lovers’ foes, but, as Jack Dawson says right after the ship’s fateful encounter with an iceberg, “This is bad!”

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