The Titanic Blu-ray 3D release is a four disc package highlighted by a really nice new transfer of the movie and a couple brand new feature length documentaries. As someone who purchased the awful Ultimate Edition set 8 years ago, this new release contains all the features from the 2005 set but boasts a far superior picture upgrade. This new transfer is a lot nicer, crisper and contains a far superior aspect ratio but does not appear to feature a new restoration print.
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 that have been done in awhile. The print did not appear to be restored they just slapped some crummy post converted 3D on it 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 could see, why it 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 Viera. 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 is 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. The production values were top notch and the actual sinking is still spectacular but we had to spend two hours with an extremely unlikable Rose (Kate Winslet) to get there.
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 (Leonardo DiCaprio) 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.
All these years later The Jack and Rose relationship now works. I still hate Rose, but you need something to anchor this story, it cannot all be about a ship sinking. The last hour of this movie really should have been awesome in 3D but because it all takes place at night, the 3D effect adds nothing to it. This movie really does stand the test of time. As a 3D exercise it utterly fails. The movie gets an A but the 3D release gets a C.
The 3D quality on this Blu-ray is far superior than what was in the theater. It’s richer and more detailed. However, the print seems to be the same as the older version only the aspect ratio is much better. On the 3D version, the picture fills up the screen with no letter boxing. The 3D version is split into two discs – which is annoying. Nowhere in the marketing material or on the Blu-ray does it say if this is a restored print or not, judging by the picture quality, while a lot sharper and clearer than the 2005 print, it doesn’t appear to be restored. As someone who owns the disappointing 2005 “Ultimate” DVD version, this is a far superior picture – mainly due to the improved aspect ratio. The 2005 version was so small and narrow that it was almost “impossible” to watch. Now it is big and bolder. The included Digital Copy is iTunes compatible.
The jewel case feels a bit flimsy and like it’ll break if you handle it too much, which you’ll have to since it comes on 4 discs: 2 Discs 3D Blu-ray, a Single Blu-ray and a Special Features Blu-ray Disc. There is a Nice selection of standard Audio options including – English Audio Description, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. There is no 7.1 audio mix which is a bit disappointing.
Three Commentary Tracks from the 2005 Release – One from James Cameron, a Cast and Crew Commentary which is misnamed because it is only the Producers of the film and a Commentary from a couple of Titanic Historians discussing the accuracy of the film.
Deleted Scenes – Wow, there are over 1 hour of Deleted Scenes. It would be interesting if Cameron ever releases an extended director’s cut. Most the deleted scenes are actually complete and in HD. Some of the scenes missing include the entire storyline with Bill Paxton’s story. And Rose somehow Rose is even more annoying in these deleted scenes. The way they are strung together it feels like you are watching another “shortened” version of Titanic.
Documentaries – Reflections on Titanic – A 1 hour look at the making of Titanic and it’s impact on Cinema. It’s basically James Cameron telling everyone “See, I told you so!” James Cameron The Final Word – A 1 ½ hour look at how James Cameron researched the wreck of the Titanic. He attempts to piece together what happened to the ship.
Archives – My Heart Will Go On Music Video (Ok, I’ll admit it, I love that stupid freaking song!), it’d be awesome if this was in HD. Instead it’s just an old washed out Standard Def version from 20 years ago. There are a bunch of trailers including the Original Release trailers and the 2012 reissue ones – yes even the 3D Trailer. Other Archive items include TV Spots and Spoofs from Saturday Night Live and MTV.
It is disappointing that this isn’t a fully restored print, however, this Blu-ray 3D set is a noticeable improvement over the 2005 Ultimate edition release. The much improved aspect ratio leads to a bigger, sharper and clearer picture than ever before. There’s a nice mix of extras in HD that are worth watching – even the HD versions of all the deleted scenes. If you are a fan of the movie, this is the definitive version to get.
- Movie – A
- Video/Presentation/Audio – B
- Extras – A-
- 3D Quality – B-
Final Overall Grade – A–