Titanic (1997)

Director:  James Cameron
Cast:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton.
Plot:  Fictional romantic tale of a rich girl and poor boy who meet on the ill-fated voyage of the 'unsinkable' ship.

Genre:  Drama / Romance
Awards:  Won 11 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song.  Nom. for 3 Oscars - Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Makeup.
Runtime:  194min
Rating:  NC16 for disaster related peril and violence, nudity, sensuality and brief language.

There has never been a film, at least in the last two decades, that has captured the imagination of moviegoers around the world like Titanic.  Not even Avatar (2009).  Plagued by countless production delays, and a budget bursting at its seams, there was a time when people aren't even sure if the film would make it for release.

But it did.

And everything else was history.  Writer-director James Cameron got his coveted Oscar and proclaimed he was the king of the world, 20th Century Fox received a paycheck they would never forget, and tens of millions of viewers had a collective cinematic experience to cherish.

Titanic is a fictionalized tale about two lovers Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), a free-spirited young man who wins a trip onboard the unsinkable ship with a lucky hand at poker, and Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) an elegant lady born into a wealthy family who yearns for a different, more satisfying life.  They meet and fall in love in one of the great contemporary love stories of our time, or if some would have it their way, one of the most tragic.

Effectively split into two parts: The blossoming romance of the couple, and the ship's sinking, Titanic takes us to emotional highs, be it moments of bliss like the scene of Jack and Rose 'flying' at the bow of the ship, or moments of sadness as a quartet plays 'Nearer My God to Thee' in the climax.

Cameron's technical skills in reconstructing the disaster with CG technology (of 1997) and the use of models provide an incredibly detailed look at that fateful early morning.  Technically astounding, Titanic is also a lavish period film with much effort put into its art direction, and the authenticity of the sets.

With Cameron at the helm of the painstaking process to convert Titanic into 3D, using technology he has helped to develop and refine over the years, there is every chance Titanic 3D is going to be a successful undertaking.

And it is.

Relive the experience again in 3D, and be impressed at how immersive the film can be. Although there is room for this post-conversion technology to improve in the near future, Cameron once again crosses another technological hurdle with aplomb.

Titanic is an admirable piece of filmmaking, despite criticisms toward its occasionally cringe-worthy dialogue, and Cameron's over-indulgent use of James Horner's brilliant 'Rose' theme in its manipulative epilogue, as if to squeeze out as many tears from us as possible.

Titanic may be overrated to those fatigued by its hype or from watching it one time too many, but there's no denying its power to compel, and it remains to be one of Hollywood cinema's great modern epics.  Never close to being as intense or sinfully enjoyable as his earlier masterpieces like Aliens (1986) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Cameron's Titanic still reminds us that he is the master of the spectacular.

And spectacular it is in 3D.

Verdict: Cameron's epic romance-tragedy gets a convincing 3D conversion that is as spectacular as the film is compelling. 

GRADE: A (9/10 or 4.5 stars)

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