Near, far, my heart will go on…. I’m sure a million reviews of the re-release of Titanic will start off this way. Hope I did not disappoint. Fifteen years ago I was alone on my island as hating this movie. My litmus test for new writers was – did you like Titanic? To paraphrase the end of the movie, “15 years ago, I didn’t let Titanic into my heart, now I get it.” Damn it, a couple of drops of wet water mysteriously came from my eyes. This is the most pointless 3D gloss-overs I’ve seen in awhile. They did not even restore the print; just slapped some crummy post converted 3D on and called it a day. There is not a single moment in the movie where I went; “Yes this is a great use of 3D.
The post conversion work in The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Episode I all had a “wow” moment where you go, yes, I get why this was put in 3D. The conversion here is about the same quality I get when I use the 2D – 3D conversion feature on my Panasonic. It’s good but pointless. Post conversion simply doesn’t work because the movie was not shot with 3D in mind. Titanic opens with 15 minutes of dark, underwater footage, adding 3D glasses on top of that does not enhance anything, it detracts from the story Director James Cameron is trying to tell. Other than greed, I can’t think of why he would even sanction this. The entire 1 hour sinking of the ship is shot at night, so again the 3D is wasted and almost non-existent. The other issue with this re-release is that it doesn’t look like the print was improved or updated. While the movie does hold up remarkably well, in terms of stagecraft and production values, the quality of the print makes the film look “older” and a little less grander than it did 15 years ago. There’s kind of a muted quality to the entire affair – again this partly due to the sloppy and unnecessary use of the 3D.
There’s no point in reviewing a fifteen-year-old movie that everyone has seen and has won almost every major Oscar. I will say that when the movie originally hit theaters, I did not like it much at all. I thought the production values where top notch and the actual sinking spectacular but to get to that point we had to spend two hours with the extremely unlikable Rose (Kate Winslet) to get there.
I didn’t understand why people cared that Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) died. I thought he was getting off easy, not having to listen to her whine for the rest of his life. Beyond the silly love story, there were just a lot of really ridiculous moments that almost broke my BS meter. Caledon (Billy Zane) going after Jack and Rose when the darn boat is sinking, the Musicians playing “happy” music (there is no such thing as “happy” chamber music) while the ship goes down, and more. This time, none of this bothered me, I just went with it and all these years later, I do think the Jack and Rose relationship works. I still hate Rose, but you need this as a buffer before the ship sinks. I really expected the last hour to shine on 3D and again because this takes place at night, the 3D is completely ineffective and for the most part non-existent.
As I said in the beginning, I actually love the movie, I think as a 3D exercise it utterly fails. Its worth watching on the big screen if you can find a 2D showing, the old DVD transfers were garbage, so hopefully this useless exercise will at least finally yield a decent Blu-ray transfer. The movie gets an A but the 3D release gets a C.
Final Grade – C