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331 of 359 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...I'm Sorry I Didn't Build You A Better Ship Rose..." - TITANIC in 3D, April 7, 2012
This review is from: Titanic (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)

Holidaying in Ireland, I happened on the preview day of James Cameron's "Titanic in 3D" at the new Odeon Cinema in The Point Area of Dublin's refurbished docklands (or "The Quays" as they're known locally). We caught the first showing on 5 April 2012 - debuting on their all-bells-and-whistles "iSense Screen". "iSense" features razor sharp Real-3D imaging on a gigantic screen with state-of-the-art surround sound. So myself and the two kids popped along - donned the crazy specs - and started to watch. The sheer spectacle of what came next has prompted me to write this review...

I've seen about 10 films in 3D - some like "Despicable Me" have impressed and actually met the hype - the rest have either felt gimmicky or a downright hindrance - or worse a crass monetary exploitation. Even the new Aardman Animation feature film "The Pirates..." - which we'd seen some days earlier - is not great in 3D (although it's a top movie and thoroughly recommended). But Cameron's complete reshaping of "Titanic" into a 3D realm is a different beast. It's incredible and at times I was genuinely gobsmacked. I saw the film on its original outing in 1997 (which was a cinematic experience to say the least) and I'd estimate that 65 to 75% of this version has been improved by the 3D process with the remaining portions varying between not changed at all or just slightly better - but definitely better.

So what's changed? Scenes that were somehow 'ordinary' before are now 'dimensional' - at times you feel you could reach out and actually touch them...

Examples - the front railings of the sunken liner at the bottom of the Atlantic at the beginning of the film, the unmanned sub that is filming it then making its way through the insides of the wreck - you now feel the machine and its cables - the space around it - the bubbling of the water - the barnacles and silt disturbed to the left and right. When the engine room ship-sized pistons kick into gear as the last boilers are lit - their size and power; the drinks glasses on the table at dinner as Bruce Ismay pompously tells of how he arrived at the ship's name - they have space around them and you feel you could almost lift them off the tablecloths. Even something as unassuming as Molly Brown's decorative hat as she talks to Jack (at a later dinner table setting) now reaches out of the screen into the aisles with extraordinary depth. Winslet's costumes are glorious too - her radiant eyes and lustrous hair. The feeling of sea air and wind on the ship's gangways when Rose and Jack walk and talk and discuss art is accentuated - more realistic.

But if I was to note just one scene that sums up how improved this version is - it would be the one where Rose tries to kill herself by jumping off the back of the ship. As she steps over the railings and the camera looks down at the cold wash below - suddenly the distance and the hugeness of the ship becomes 'real' - looking downward and with that added depth - you can 'feel' that fall...that freezing water below...

The sound is huge too - groaning steel - creaking wood - the water crashing out of the screen right into your face as it floods corridors...

There were occasions where 3D didn't work - where the effect was detrimental rather than an enhancement - the boarding of the great ship at Southampton was one scene where too much was going on in the crowd sequences for the 3D to catch up. Other offences would be that one character on screen would be razor-sharp image-wise (usually the one talking) - while those beside them or to the left of them - would be slightly blurred. But these were rare.

What you also forget is what an incredible movie "Titanic" is. Like that other maverick filmmaker Ridley Scott ("Blade Runner", "Gladiator" and "The Kingdom Of Heaven") - James Cameron isn't afraid of spectacle - he embraces it. He brings it to the screen with bravado and a passion for 'detail' that few have matched. His new 3D rendering of "Titanic" is the same - it seems like he's worked everything to give you the viewer as much as possible - or at least more than you saw the last time. And when the actual sinking finally comes in the early hours of 15 April 1912 - the horror and heartbreak still has the power to make your heart race and bring a tear to the eye. Captain Smith holding the wheel as the ocean crashes through the glass into the bridge area, the ship's funnel that breaks loose and collapses on the bodies below, the propellers rising out of the water, bodies bouncing off the ship's steel structures as the huge hull rises up and they slide downwards to their death - the camera panning back as Rose emerges from the swell to an ocean of bodies flaying about in the agony of the icy Atlantic - the guilty faces on the lucky ones in the boats that got away - hearing their screams and cries for help - yet not going back for survivors - and knowing they should...

Cameron's version of the sad tale has heart too - through all that technical excellence it doesn't forget to show - and somehow respect - the human cost. There's the rage and helplessness of the third class passengers locked into steerage below while the 'quality' on the decks above get the 'priority' placing in the lifeboats their tickets paid for - the band unselfishly playing "Nearer My God To Thee" as the ship goes down by the head, the priest praying with terrified passengers trying to give them strength, the elderly couple holding each other tightly on the bed as the sea floods their cabin - the Irish mum telling her two children of 'Tir na N'Og' - the mythical 'land of the young' as the inevitable closes in around her beloved...

Then of course there's the cast - Bill Paxton as the obsessed present-day treasure-seeker, Gloria Stuart as the elderly Rose recounting the tragedy to an enrapt crew, Jonathan Hyde as Bruce Ismay - the White Star Line egotist who ordered the number of lifeboats to be reduced from 48 to 16 (compliant with Board of Trade laws at the time) so as not to clutter up the promenade decks for the first-class passengers - and then once onboard practically ordering Captain Smith to open all engines to full speed ahead despite the danger (only to save himself in one of the last lifeboats - an act infamous now in history). Frances Fisher is Rose's social-climbing mum, Billy Zane as Rose's manipulative and jealous boor of a fiancé, David Warner as his dastardly man-servant, Bernard Hill as the overwhelmed and ill-fated Captain Smith, 'new money' Kathy Bates as the 'unsinkable' Molly Brown - all of them exemplary. Victor Garber adds huge gravitas too as the ship's architect Thomas Andrews - a decent man grappling with his thoughts as it all falls apart around him (his dialogue titles this review).

But the movie belongs to its two young leads - Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Jack and Rose - a 17-year-old lady of art and means who falls in love with a 20-year old street-rat who paints to survive. While DiCaprio is good and couldn't go anywhere for a few years due to screaming girls (he was 22 at the time) - it's Winslet who impresses the most. She is sensational in the role - voluptuous, ballsy and humane. She also exudes an acting confidence that is staggering for a 21-year-old. In my book only Kiera Knightley gets this close to that kind of inner belief.

With regard to the 3D Film on BLU RAY (Sept 2012) - it arrives in multiple versions - a 2D Standard Blu Ray set, this 4-disc 3D version and a DELUXE BOX SET with memorabilia. There are 6 hours of extras, over 25 deleted scenes and endless in-depth interviews. It's a feast of detail. And there's also no doubt in my mind that Cameron has given '3D' a huge boost with this extraordinary rendering of his 1997 classic...

To sum up - even if you don't want to see this film again - and suffer through that dreadful Celine Dion schlock song at the end - think of James Cameron's "Titanic in 3D" as sheer cinematic spectacle. My kids are 18 and 14 - and given that their generation is so easily bored and their timespan for attention virtually nil - they didn't notice the three-hours-plus playing time go by. In fact my son Sean announced at the end "...that was a great film Dad...really good." I could see it in his young face - he was genuinely moved by what he'd just seen.

Praise indeed.
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Showing 11-20 of 38 posts in this discussion
Posted on Sep 7, 2012 12:39:40 PM PDT
James Cameron is the only one in my opinion that is not using 3D as a gimmick or a quick cash grab, he has integrity and is passionate about his movies. 5/5 for Cameron and his movies :3

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 9:26:54 AM PDT
johnboy298 says:
I have seen dozens of 3D movies and I never felt the director was using it as a gimmick. IMHO 3D adds fun and excitement to every movie that I have seen in 3D. I find myself watching movies I would never have watched had they been only in 2D.
Also I bought the 3D blu-ray today of Titanic. Planning on inviting some friends over for a watch. I am a little confused though that it appears to be on 2 separate discs. Part 1 and part 2???? We'll see.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2012 11:46:45 AM PDT
Well I have seen Avengers 3D,Underworld:Awakwning 3D,The darkest hour 3D,Fright Night 3D,My bloody Valentine 3D,Resident Evil:Afterlife 3D, and waiting on Amazon to ship me my T:TDOTM. The besst 3D was My Bloody Valentine and Fright Night 3D, I have watched the other movies multiple times and they used it hardly or for depth. I watch 3D movies for pop out, I am 31 and old school when it comes to my 3D.

Posted on Sep 14, 2012 1:03:39 PM PDT
Caitlin F says:
Does the DVD have the same amount of extras that the Blue-Ray disc has? Because I don't have a Blue-Ray player and I really want to get this 4-disc (Blue-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy) combo mostly because of the extras.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2012 2:25:56 PM PDT
Mark Barry says:
To C Flatoff...

The review is for BLU RAY only. Cameron has not released this version on DVD that I'm aware off (Amazon lumps all the reviews together).
There are 2 BLU RAY variants - one with 2 discs - and the 3D one with 4 discs - they have huge amounts of extras - not all of it on the DVD Deluxe Edition put out a few years back.

On this title - it's BLU RAY - or no way...

Hope that helps

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2012 6:19:42 PM PDT
Le Stryge says:
Sorry Kenneth, but there is indeed a way of getting around this focal problem. An Australian bloke has invented a complex series of lenses that allow the foreground AND the background to be totally in focus at the same time. He came up with this originally to photograph tiny insects against landscapes in the background. Unfortunately he sold his patent to an American company who now charges BIG BUCKS for using it.
Just depends on whether a film shells out the money or not.
Oh and BTW, you are talking about a focal PLANE, ......not "plain", which is a large flat expanse of land, or something unadorned.

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 11:30:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2013 6:07:51 AM PST
C.P.G. says:
It seems so fashionable, all these years later, to knock Celine Dion's, "My Heart Will Go On", but if all the people who belittle it today hated it as much then, I doubt it would have been one of the highest selling songs of ALL TIME!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2013 8:34:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2013 8:54:24 PM PDT
Le Stryge says:
Speaking as someone who would rather subject their ears to molten lead than have them assailed by any of Ms. Dion's leather-lunged warbling, I draw your attention to the fact that even though the producers no doubt paid her gazillions to insist her "heart will go on, ..and on, ...and on", ... they still chose to relegate her vocal assault to being played just over the credits at the very end.

Of course most of the audience had walked out by then.
It's also a huge boon to anyone watching the DVD now. There's just enough time to hit that mute button...
I hated it way back then, certainly has NOT improved with age.

Posted on Mar 29, 2013 6:31:51 AM PDT
TMH says:
Very good review Mark. Having already seen this film 4 times I certainly wasn't planning on viewing it again...until I read your review. I have just recently purchased a 55" LG 3D HDTV and I am now all in on the 3D experience. With LG's passive 3D I can now appreciate the technology at home. I actually think that 3D looks better at home than in the theatre. After reading your review I have ordered the movie from Amazon. Amazon owes you.

Posted on Nov 13, 2013 1:23:23 AM PST
When they cut Celine Dion's song, I'll consider ordering the disk. But, I can't get past the shivers that she and the song generate.