Titanic [1997]

Titanic is the defining movie of the turn of the millennium; the “king” of the box office, as far as I’m concerned, even if other films surpass its earnings. It’s a nice reminder of what film used to be back then, when critical darlings and award-winners were also the biggest crowd-pleasers and main money-makers. Very few films that have come out after 1997 can hold a candle to the sheer visual spectacle that is Titanic. For me, it’s a film that I adore despite its flaws.

The gods of celluloid have blessed this behemoth of a film with extraordinary look, sound and feel. This is one of those cinematic events where everything (well, almost) seems to work perfectly: an outstanding cast, a beautiful, indelible score, striking cinematography and effects, old-fashioned melodrama, and a deeply involving (true) story. That doesn’t mean, and I can’t stress this enough, that James Cameron’s baby is perfect.

Titanic’s biggest flaws, the ones that’d be able to sink it (pun intended), are in its amateurish, cheesy script. Although the main actors have done far better work, especially Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kathy Bates, they’re not too affected by the often poor writing. They all deliver.  However, my favorite performance in the film is the one by Billy Zane (what ever happened to him?), even if his character, the smug Cal Hockley, is just short of a caricature.

The conversion to 3D doesn’t add anything new or special to the already impressive film but the reason it was done (to commemorate that fateful sinking 100 years ago) is as good as any to revisit a film that, despite a few noticeable missteps, is still one of the best examples of the magic that happens when the talents of thousands of people come together for one project.

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