Titanic 3D – More than a Review

If, like me, you remember when the original hit the box office in 97/98, you’ll remember the craze it stirred. I had merely hit 10 but I remember it vividly. Not too many movies, or any other type of event for that matter, have created such an imprint in my mind. For me, Titanic was my first ever epic disaster film. And my God, I loved it.

The film ignited a deep curiosity for me, that lay dormant for a fair few years until the topic resurfaced in my life via the national curriculum for History in secondary school (History was always my favourite subject at school. Sometimes I wonder why I chose to get a degree in Business & Psychology!). Unlike other topics, like the Northern Ireland conflict, this time instead of learning everything from scratch, I had my knowledge from the movie to go on.

At the time, for reasons I will put down to young naivety, I was expecting to be told about Titanic’s great love story – about Jack and Rose; their fight between the social class system and of sacrifice. Sadly, that one got pipped in the bud quite quickly. The Internet was a more accessible source of information in the mid-2000s and a quick search later (most probably using yahoo, or ask Jeeves if anyone remembers that one), I found out that half of the characters in the film were made up!

So much for it being based on a true story… As nice as the whole Jack/Rose saga was, I felt betrayed by my 10year old self for believing that Rose survived the disaster to tell the story and that the man leading the expedition in the film (I forget his name but he wears a hoop earring) made it into a movie. Ah well, you live and learn. Besides, the story of the sinking was real and some of the characters in the movie are based on the real people from 100 years ago. 100 years to the day on the 15th of April 2012.

You’ve hopefully picked up by now that I was (and still am) quite a Titanic fanboy. Having forgiven myself for believing in the Shakespearean element of the movie, I followed my history teacher (Mr Oliver if anyone wants to know. And I think it was in Year 9.) into the world of the Titanic, albeit from a pre-GCSE level.

Together with my classes and a bit of self-study (I am a bit of a Geek with these things), I learnt everything I could about the ship. From it’s design, to the great expectation people had of it, to the facts of the collision and of course the scandal that came to light afterwards. Half filled lifeboats, and even then, only half of what it should’ve been! Lifeboats designed for 60 odd passengers and some being let go with only 12. The sheer arrogance, selfishness and warped thinking of the crews on board just added fuel to the fire and hooked me even more. The unsinkable ship, it seems, was doomed from the very beginning.

If you’re as interested in this as I am, reading the Wikipedia article provides just about as much information as you could possibly want without wasting your life away trying to piece together intricate details. Which is exactly what James Cameron (Director of the movie) did. Although, I wouldn’t call his incessant focus on the detail a waste of life – his film’s grossed over $2bn and was the world’s highest ever grossing movie until a few years ago when Cameron’s new film Avatar took 1st place. I think it’s safe to say he got a few million out of it – worthwhile in my books!

Back to the movie then. In 1998, I fell in love with the story of Titanic and having learnt a bit more about it in the years that passed, I got really excited when I heard that it was being rereleased in 2012 (as was Lion King – another classic!). As soon as I found out, I knew I was going to the cinema to see it, especially if it was in 3D.

Only one thing made me hesitate… Would watching the movie again, now aged 22, ruin my memory of the film? Have I made the movie seem better than it was in my head? Would I find factual errors in the movie that ruin the whole mystique about the disaster?

Well, today, on the 9th of April 2012, a mere 6 days before the 100 year anniversary, I went to watch Titanic in 3D. The verdict? IT WAS BETTER THAN FIRST TIME ROUND. Why? Well first, there is that love story, the one about two people coming from different worlds who fall in love and soon enough, make sacrifice after sacrifice. That alone makes Titanic a good movie.

But for me, what appeals to me most is the incredible accuracy (bar a few points like when the stern of the ship is vertical in the water just before it disappears beneath the surface… In actual fact, the angle is more like 23 degrees, as opposed to 90) of the story. From the historical characters (list available on the Wikipedia page for the Titanic movie), to the way in which the film captures the atmosphere of Titanic. You just can’t read words in a textbook to understand the sheer scale of this machine and the incredible tragedy that took place that night. Reading about the 1500 odd dead in a book doesn’t do it as much justice as seeing the frozen bodies in the water at the end of the film (hope I haven’t ruined the storyline there).

I was half expecting shoddy quality – not like the high-definition stuff we have nowadays but somehow, it seems like Titanic was filmed last year. The quality of the image and sound is just as good as it was nearly 15 years ago. The story came back to life for me. And that was an amazing, and even tearful, experience.

The 3D is noticeable and you can see where the filmmakers have adjusted the image to make it pop out more. I’m not a fan of 3D because I don’t think the cinema industry has perfected it yet. Namely because the glasses you get are cheap. Anyone who has a 3D tv at home will know what I mean. But the 3D doesn’t distract you from the movie. It’s sharper and clearer than some other films I’ve seen and in places, very subtle. I don’t think it adds very much, if anything at all, to the film. So if you want to be really cheap and save a few quid per ticket, go see the normal one. My recommendation however is to catch it in all it’s 3D glory. Otherwise, why not rent it on DVD?

Sorry about the long-winded article folks. In some ways, I wish I could write more and in another, feel like I’ve utterly failed to write you a decent review. Ah well, shit happens – as the saying goes. If like me, you want to know even more, there are many documentaries on the telly box right now that shed light on the events. National Geographic is a good bet (scenes of real life dive footage just somehow manages to get you when you see intact plates and teacups and even the wreckage itself) and if you want something a bit more mainstream, try the BBC’s documentary series that aired a few days ago. Don’t bother with ITVs drama series – it’s poo. Even better, read the Wikipedia article (yes, I know it’s not always accurate but it’ll do).

Arrogance killed all those people. Arrogance, vanity and injustice.

Until next time…