Monday, January 9, 2012

Titanic (repost).

I suppose I'll be back doing another go-round with this one in April after the 3D rerelease, but since I've already written about it once, why not? My brother saw this in the theater something like twenty times; I only saw it once but true to form, bawled my Goddamned eyes out the whole time. I bawled at the trailer the other night when I was at Young Adult. . . THE TRAILER. Maybe I'm just a giant sap

Titanic, 1997. Directed and Written by James Cameron.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet.

"Fictional romantic tale of a rich girl and poor boy who meet on the ill-fated voyage of the 'unsinkable' ship." (IMDB).

I remember seeing the preview to this film on another rental many months before it actually was released;  what stuck the most was of course one of the final scenes when the ship, vertical, actually sinks with Jack and Rose clinging to the railing. It gave me goosebumps, for probably an entire day, seeing that. And really, this is a fine example of what the film can do vs. what it does lamely: the action scenes are great, the dialogue and love story are merely marginal if not annoying. But as a production, I can't front; it's still amazing.

I don't think Kate Winslet deserved to be nominated for an Oscar for this, I think the Academy just gets aroused when Brits sink low enough to do American accents. I thought Rose's scenes were boring, mostly because I never liked her as a character. This is mostly for personal reasons, and I can see how the class differences between the characters were important to the love story, but still I found her distinctly unlikable. Old Rose, Young Rose, they both rubbed me the wrong way from the very first. "They called Titanic the ship of dreams, and it was. It really was." Then, moments later, "To everyone else it was 'the ship of dreams.' But to me it was a slave ship. . ." YEAH, BOO-HOO, ROSE. You want to jump off the back of the ship? BE MY GUEST. Be careful not to damage the beading on your thousand dollar gown on your way over, hmmm? Every scene she has before she's with Jack kind of makes me want to punch her in the face, but she gets better as the film goes on, I'll give her that.

Leo was a little clunky, far less annoying, and I liked Molly Brown. But by God Cameron can do action. The real film starts once that iceberg hits, and from there it was a tense, well-driven story. Showing how each level of the ship was affected by the water rushing in? Awesome. The scramble to make it under the water-seal doors as they came down? Awesome. The different ways the characters had to backtrack and swim through dead ends and flooded hallways? Awesome. There were two moments in this film when I cried (harder than my ongoing in-general silent tears); 1. the opening, when Horner's instrumental theme came on over the still shots of the ship and 2. when the violinist refuses to leave the deck and reels the rest of the quartet back to play that seriously emotional song (as everyone jumps off, falls, or drowns). The scene of the people desperately hanging on to the priest as he prays also gets me a little weepy, I cannot imagine what an experience like that, chaos and sure death on that wide a scale, would be like; one woman (I think holding onto a child) clung to a structure and just repeated over and over "it will be over soon. it will be over soon." My friend Julie told me when this film was first released that the very worst part for her was seeing the Irish woman telling her children a bedtime story and tucking them in bed, knowing that they would all soon be dead. I didn't have kids at the time like she did, but I do now, and the scene is probably the saddest thing that happens in the film. Heavy. It will be a pretty significant thing, I think, when the rest of my generation (who have become parents since the original release) goes to see it again in 3D. 

It's not a perfect film, but it's definitely an important one. 11 Oscars, many of them well-deserved. And as the person who suggested it aptly mentioned---it's not one I can shut off if I flip to it, I always end up watching it to the end. Here's the trailer, enjoy, because it's a good one. (sniff).