DISCLAIMER: This review is written in the form of me taking for granted that everyone has seen Titanic. If you somehow haven’t, then… Spoiler Alert?
Titanic! You either love it or hate it. But either way, she’s back. James Cameron’s enormously epic 1997 dramatization of the infamous 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic is back, and better than ever. Seriously. It almost feels like you’re watching it for the first time all over again.
When Titanic had it’s first initial theatrical release some 15 years ago, naturally, as with practically everyone else, I was swept away in Titanic-Mania. I remember seeing it at least 6 times in theaters, I remember pre-ordering the double VHS set at Blockbuster, back when it took upwards of an entire year for films to see a home video release, I remember having a gigantic poster on my wall, and I remember owning both soundtracks. It was inevitable. So basically, I momentarily set aside my childhood Star Wars obsession to be a screaming fangirl…err, i mean fanboy for Titanic. No shame. NO SHAME!
But throughout the years, the film has always stuck with me. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen it, because I’ve kind of lost count. Yeah, the dialogue isn’t groundbreaking, but, I mean, it’s James Cameron. He’s never exactly been known for writing Shakespearean screenplays. He makes EPIC films, and he does it damn well. And, really, what’s not to enjoy about Titanic? Just from a production stand point alone, the film is a technological marvel. James Cameron freaking built an actual scale replica of the ship for exterior shots! That’s insane! It would probably be a completely different story, had Jim Cameron filmed it more recently. I have a feeling the entire film would have been filmed on a green screen. But that’s neither here nor there.
The re-release of Titanic has been given a brand new 4k film transfer, and trust me, it is a thing of beauty. The film has never looked better. Right off the bat you can notice an immediate difference in quality. It looks brand spanking new. I was honestly spotting little subtle things within the frame that I’d never noticed before. It looked THAT good. But the real winner in the new version is the 3D. It took a whopping 60 weeks. and $18,000 dollars to produce. Forget everything that you know about 3D. Forget Avatar. Forget Hugo. Star Wars: Episode 1? What about it? Forget it all. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the crowning achievement of not only post-production 3D, but 3D film-making in general. If you’re usually an avid 3D detractor, or an absolute fan of the format, you must not miss Titanic in 3D.
I’ve never been that taken aback in a theater before. James Cameron not only used the format to immerse you further into the ship, but to actually make the ship, herself, a full blown character. In the opening sequence of the actual footage of the sunken vessel, as the camera slowly pans forward, only to have the Bow of the ship come forward at you, it gave me chills. There are so many more moments like that, though. The infamous “King Of The World” scene, the breaking of the ship, and the glass dome shattering with thousands of gallons of water poring in. It’s all amazing. One of the most impressive moments, for me, though, was Rose searching the long corridors for someone to release Jack. You realize just how long, yet small, those hallways were. I got claustrophobic by how tightly built those walls were.
The only technical complaint that I could remotely find in this re-release of Titanic was that at times some of the computer generated effects definitely felt dated. Such as a fish floating in Cal’s sunken bedroom, or the CGI figures walking about in the decks during the wide overhead shots of the boat. The 4K transfer especially reveals the lack of facial features on them. But, really, who cares? I’m glad James Cameron left everything the way it was, instead of Lucas’ing it, by “enhancing” the film with updated effects.
In the end, the most important thing about Titanic‘s re-release is that it’s a chance to let a newer generation see this film on the big screen, where it’s absolutely meant to be seen. Not to mention another chance for myself and everyone else who has spent the last 15 years loving this film, to revisit it theatrically and to publicly weep during the “Never let go” scene. It get’s me EVERY. TIME. But truthfully, 15 years after James Cameron’s film, and 100 years after the actual sinking, the story of the Titanic still resonates as hard as ever. The film hasn’t hardly aged a bit, and I look forward to another 15+ years with Titanic. I’ll never let go, James Cameron. I’ll never let go.
I give the new 4K transfer, 3D re-release of Titanic, five 3D Icebergs out of five!