James Cameron is one hell of a filmmaker. This is a movie where you know the ending. You know that the Titanic is going to sink. You know that it is doomed, but you don’t care. This was the first movie to make over a billion dollars at the box office, it just kept making money. Everyone and their mom saw this movie. It was everywhere. It didn’t even open at number one, people just saw it and kept coming back and it blew up by word of mouth.
This movie has it all: romance, adventure, death, destruction, DiCaprio…. The special effects are a little dated, but they still hold up because the story holds up. Everyone likes to make fun of this movie. They are ashamed they saw it three times in the theater and still get mad when Rose lets go. The fact is that a movie can’t make an absurd amount of cash if people aren’t going to see it. Titanic is like Nickelback, you shit on it in public, but you know every word by heart. They write some amazing songs guys.
Titanic has a case for being the best film of all time. It won eleven Oscars out of fourteen nominations. It made over 1.8 billion dollars. It was the number one film for fifteen weeks straight (until Lost in Space came out, remember that gem?). Of course it’s not the best film, but that’s really beside the point. This movie was a sensation, it was an event. And it’s coming out in 3D so get ready for that.
Titanic really launched Leonardo DiCaprio’s career. It wasn’t his first movie, but it was bigger than anything anyone had done before. It set the tone for the rest of his filmography; he would never do a paycheck movie. He would chose quality scripts and even if they weren’t box office sensations, at least he was always good in them. Kathy Bates gets a shout out for playing the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She had a bit part, but stands out. Billy Zane steals the film as Cal. He is a very compelling actor, and I wish he starred in more films. He’s wearing a hairpiece in this film; he’s been bald since the early ‘90s. Kate Winslet did a decent job as Rose, but it was really amazing to be a kid and see full on boobs and nipples in a PG-13 movie. Maybe that’s the secret to box office success: titties for kiddies!
There’s a lot of corny lines that get quoted often, but the most quoted is, “I’m the king of the world!” The thing is, when you go back and watch the movie again, that line is not corny. It is spontaneous, real, and a triumphant line. All those scenes at the front and the back of the ship are cliché, but they work because Cameron makes them genuine. He knows film, and he knows how to manipulate emotions. None of his stories are unique, you’ve seen them a thousand times before, but you haven’t seen them presented like this. It’s grandeur, it’s spectacle, but it’s also relatable. You try doing that.
The Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink. And then you see the best and worst of humanity. You see the greedy and corrupt lie and cheat their way onto lifeboats. You see others who have given up and decide to go out on their terms. You see mothers gently caressing their kids. You see people working together and fighting each other. The best and the worst often go hand in hand.
And of course there is that ambiguous ending. Is Rose dead? Is she dreaming? Will the top stop spinning? Does it matter?
Critically Rated at 12/17