Re-Watch: Titanic (1997)

Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Cast: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill, David Warner, Victor Garber, Jonathan Hyde

Over 80 years after the Titanic has sunk, Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) is sifting through the wreck, looking for a diamond that was lost with the ship. But the closest he ever got to it was when he found a drawing of a girl with that diamond around her neck. And then that same girl, Rose – by now an old woman (Gloria Stuart) – gives him a call and comes to their ship to tell him about what happened on the Titanic: how the young, rich Rose (Kate Winslet) fell in love with poor artist Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and how it came to the sinking of the Titanic.

Of course I saw Titanic when it came out. I was even one of the people who saw it in the cinema twice (not because I was so in love with Leo – in fact, I thought Bill Paxton was way more attractive – but because I had promised two different friends that I’d go with them and couldn’t manage to get them to go on the same day. The scheduling conflicts of the 13-year-olds). And I even saw it a couple of times since (though not in the last ten years or so). But until I saw it in the cinema again this time round, I never realized that Titanic is actually a beautiful, if kitschy and excellent movie.

I hadn’t planned to go and see the 3D version of this film at all. But then I was convinced by a friend to accompany him – and I’m very happy that I did. I honestly could have done without the 3D; I don’t think it added to the movie at all, at some points it was barely noticeable and in others it was actively disturbing. An anniversary showing in 2D would have been just as fine.

But in the end it was an absolute pleasure to see this film again. It is exciting and touching and extremely well made. Plus it has a great cast and wonderful visuals. Despite its masisve runtime, it doesn’t feel long for a single second.

That is not to say that it’s without fault. You could easily cut about half the “Jack”s and “Rose”s that are cried out during the film. The plot is pretty thin and none of the characters grow beyond cliché status.

But Jack and especially Rose both work as characters due to the awesome performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and you just absolutely buy into their story. Billy Zane, Frances Fisher (oh, Frances Fisher!) and Kathy Bates are wonderful, too. And Victor Garber’s Mr Andrews in front of that clock always marks the point where I start crying and can’t stop anymore. Though that might also be the music’s fault. It’s manipulative but in the very best sense.

Summarising: Must-see classic.

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