Monday, April 16, 2012
A Trip Back to 1997 - Thoughts on Seeing Titanic on the Big Screen
But I guess mine and Leo's story begins back at the beginning of 2007, when I was 11 years old. Titanic was on TV, and my mother had recorded it so she could watch it again later. Usually, I didn't watch movies with her, but I managed to catch the tail end of it, basically from where one of the lifeboats is going through all of the dead bodies. For some reason, I was ready to declare this movie as my favourite movie of all-time, and Leo and Kate were suddenly my favourite actors. Alas, it was another two and a half years before I saw the movie in it's entirety. While I had grown up a little since 2007 and wasn't ready to throw myself into calling something my 'favourite movie' after five minutes of it, Titanic was still a bloody good, if a little long, piece of cinematic history.
By 2009, however, it wasn't really that cool to like Titanic. In fact, I don't know if it ever has been. A certain bout of 'Leo Mania' may not have helped it - but I do admit, I'd be the biggest Leo Maniac of all. So I haven't really been too vocal about really liking Titanic. Because it is so isn't 'cool' if you like one of the highest earning films of all time. Now it is a high earning film which is set to keep earning. When I heard that James Cameron was converting it to 3D, I remember thinking 'Jesus, James, keep it in your pants. You can't be that strapped for cash that you have to go converting all of your old films into 3D just to stay relevant?' To be honest, I don't stand anywhere on the 3D debate. If a film has the option of 2D, I'll see it in 2D. If it is only in 3D, I don't know how I'm supposed to critique the 3D. Last night, me and three friends made the trip to the cinema to see Cameron's big 1997 spectacle on the big screen, with three dimensions. And I was extremely happy that I got to experience that.
The 3D didn't really add anything, but it was a lot better than I thought it would be. However, the experience was something special for me because going to see it on the big screen was what I imagine it was like for the crowds in 1997 - except, I had to wear the goofy 3D glasses. The film is perhaps one of the more amazing things I've seen on the big screen, and also, the longest time I've spent in a cinema to date (also the latest I've ever been to the cinema. We didn't get out until 11.15pm). The length of the film is something I've always held against it, but I can't say that there was a moment that I wasn't entertained by good old Jack and Rose and their forbidden romance on board the 'unsinkable' ship. As much as I enjoyed seeing Jack and Rose giving me at least 1000 reasons why Leonardo and Kate should actually get married, I couldn't wait until we got into the sinking part (in a non-sadistic, I-like-seeing-people-suffer kind of way). It is no secret that James spent a crapload of money to make this film, but the way he does it is absolutely stunning. Jack and Rose spent an awful long time getting on and off lifeboats, going down hallways and getting trapped, trying to swim, but the amazing production values ensured that my eyes were glued to the screen. Unless Billy Zane is on screen. He was unsettling, and not in a good way.
Whether you like it or not, Titanic is a stunning cinematic achievement. It sky rocketed two of the best actors around at the moment into the spotlight, which they've barely left since then. It became the highest grossing movie of all-time (until James Cameron decided that he'd do even better than that with Avatar). It pushes that everything was available to cinema at the time to it's absolute limit, with amazing results. Titanic is not a perfect film. The story is a little too clichéd in the beginning, and the script is a little dodgy. But what James Cameron achieved with it is something which I love. If I could ever make it that far and achieve those results, I'd be extremely happy with life and probably retire after that. Titanic was described as the 'ship of dreams'. The movie is like the 'movie of dreams', to me. Ever since I caught those five minutes back in 2007, I knew that there was something special about it.
I'll probably end up seeing this movie again when I'm in my 30s and pregnant, crying all alone with my ice cream in hand. And I'll remember the day that I saw the film on a huge 3D screen, right on the 100th anniversary of the disaster, and fell in love with Jack and Rose all over again. Sure, I was 15 years late to the party, but I'm glad that I saw such a stellar film on the big screen at least once in my life.
What I got: