This is a guest post by Imogen.
Titanic Resurfaces Fifteen Years After Original Release with a 3D Makeover
When it was first released in 1997, James Cameron’s Titanic made a staggering 1.8 billion dollars at the box office. This week it was re-released with a 3D twist to coincide with the one hundredth anniversary of the disaster. Cameron and his team have spent several years editing frames of the epic tragedy with computer generated effects, leaving critics and fans waiting with baited breath to see if the film the world fell in love with fifteen years ago could possibly be improved upon. The answer to this seems to be a resounding yes.
Similarly to his past success, Avatar, Cameron uses the 3D format artistically and subtlety in order to enhance only relevant frames. The first scenes on board Brock Lovett’s ship may leave audiences feeling underwhelmed after paying their increased 3D admission fee, but as soon as Rose takes them back to 1912 they’ll begin to get their moneys worth. The Southampton Port scene in particular utilises the 3D format to create a swelling, vibrating crowd that captures the frantic atmosphere surrounding the maiden voyage of the ‘unsinkable ship’. After the iceberg hits, the added effects make for some spectacular visuals that really convey the colossal size of the ship and colossal nature of the tragedy.
However Cameron uses the 3D effects sparingly and only scenes that will benefit from a 3D makeover get one. In the more intimate moments, the 3D effects are kept to a minimum to retain the charm and magic of the original film. The general consensus is that Cameron has made a great film even greater by revitalising scenes and making them fresher, crisper and even more captivating without going over the top.
Of course even films with a vast budget and impressive special effects are nothing without a gripping story and relatable characters. This is why audiences are still in love with Titanic fifteen years on, over and above all the other celebrity cruise ships; because at the heart of the drama, chaos and disaster are Jack and Rose – a young, mismatched couple who the audience truly begin to care about. Rose (Kate Winslet) is a young, American socialite trapped in a loveless engagement to rich but cruel Cal (Billy Zane) because her mother is in financial difficulty. Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a kind but penniless artist who won his ticket on the Titanic in a game of poker. After falling for each other on the ill fated voyage, Jack and Rose try and overcome obstacles such as class barriers, Rose’s mother’s disapproval and ultimately a sinking ship in order to be together. Their love affair seems doomed from the start, and yet such is the chemistry between the two young actors that the audience watch on in desperate hope of a happy ending.
By keeping the focus on the love story between Jack and Rose, Cameron manages to avoid confusing the audience with too many sub plots. The film boasts a strong supporting cast with Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher and David Warner to name a few – but ultimately they are just that: supporting characters. The Jack/Rose/Cal love triangle is the story at the heart of the film and is executed flawlessly with moments of heartbreak, humour and hope that the audience will not forget in a hurry.
|Kate Winslet as Rose &|
Leonardo Dicaprio as Jack
However despite the poignancy of Jack and Rose’s fictional love story, it is impossible to overlook the true tragedy that the film is based around. One thousand five hundred people died on the Titanic in 1912 and the visual effects used in both the original and 3D versions of the film to capture the horror of the disaster are awe inspiring. The footage we see in the opening scenes of the film (where Brock Lovett’s team are searching the wreck of the Titanic) also include shots taken by Cameron’s crew of the real Titanic lying on the ocean floor. This only adds to the films authenticity and reminds the audience that far from being a whimsical love story, Titanic is a memoir of a true disaster that touched the lives of many people one hundred years ago this week. This, coupled with an engaging plot, loveable characters and dazzling special effects makes for a film that includes both style and substance.