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Titanic: The Original Twilight
April 8, 2012 10:17 AM   Subscribe

The 3D re-release of James Cameron's Titanic prompted Lindy West of Jezebel and Will Leitch of Deadspin to re-assess the movie.
posted by reenum (94 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Spoiler: Jack lets go.
posted by schmod at 10:21 AM on April 8, 2012


Ocean of secrets.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on April 8, 2012


Wow - - each of those reviews was a waste of my time in it's own unique way!
posted by fairmettle at 10:27 AM on April 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I see you've used the humor tag. I guess that's supposed to be about Lindy West's review? I'd remove that if I were you, 'cause that wasn't actually funny.
posted by hippybear at 10:31 AM on April 8, 2012


I took my daughter to go see it, because she is 13 years old, which is about the right age for this film. Her response to it: "I can't believe I sat still that long for something that depressing."

Note that she did not say that as if it were a bad thing.
posted by jscalzi at 10:33 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


What continues to fascinate me about the movie is that it connected with so many people. Lots of people sneer and laugh at it, but the way it attracted so many people around the world was astonishing. Was it lowest common denominator? Perhaps, but not in dismissive way. Cameron seems to have knack for telling fairly simplistic stories with great direction that get inside people. Does that mean most people are fairly simplistic? And if so, have stories evolved to reflect that truth or did they shape that simplicity?

I read somewhere that Cameron has said all his movies are essentially love stories and I think that's true. Abyss was a more complex love story and it didn't do well at the box office. Did that convince Cameron to keep his plot and characters simpler?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:36 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


The re-release of Titanic is incomplete without Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" playing 5 times an hour, every hour, for 6 months, on every radio station, on earth.
posted by hellojed at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2012 [59 favorites]


Lindy West was pretty damn funny in her review for Sex and the City 2. Here, she's pretty much on the snark-o-matic detail. "James Cameron is a 15-year-old girl" and "has never met an actual person before"--oh, Lindy, you scamp! No doubt Cameron will shake his fist in your general direction the next time he's setting another world record.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The re-release of Titanic is incomplete without Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" playing 5 times an hour, every hour, for 6 months, on every radio station, on earth.

You know that when you say things like that, you're tempting fate, right?
posted by hippybear at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


There was room for Jack!
posted by Flashman at 10:45 AM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I didn't see the film, so I have to ask: was there actually a character named Fabrizio, or did the Jezebel writer make that up?
posted by Hither at 10:45 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hither: yes
posted by asciident at 10:47 AM on April 8, 2012


Fabrizio is Jack's best friend who gets to go on the Titanic because Jack wins two tickets in a poker game.
posted by hippybear at 10:48 AM on April 8, 2012


Fabrizio sounds like a product that removes the smell of weed-smoke from your clothes, leaving only the fresh scent of oregano.
posted by box at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2012 [19 favorites]


Oh good grief. It's an Italian name which has as its root meaning "works with his hands".
posted by hippybear at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have fond memories of going to see Titanic with my son who was eight at the time and his grandparents. It was nice to go out and see a movie that they all could connect with. I know that the central story is sappy but the re-creation of the boat and the period details is done with so much love and obsession that I can forgive the soap opera.
posted by octothorpe at 11:01 AM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dana Stevens from Slate was too snooty to go to Titanic when it came out the first time, but she decided to see it in 3D and kind of fell in love with it.

I've had the opposite experience. I thought it was great the first dozen times (of course, I was six or seven for most of those) but now I think it's stupid. Still love it, though! The part when she jumps back on the sinking ship mesmerises me every time it comes on TV. I put down the laundry and stand there teary-eyed, hands clasped, mouth open, just like a sucker.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:01 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I clicked on the link for the Lindy West review, waited a few seconds, and then my cellphone screen brought up the Titanic graphic with the superimposed title: DROWN, MOTHERFUCKERS. I snorted so hard that I nearly sprained my sinuses, not to mention scaring half the people here in the coffee shop. Everything else in the review was pure snark gravy. I laughed. I'm sorry.
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


Titanic works because it's completely Rose's story. This is actually pretty rare in movies in general, especially when they gender flipped the "I die so you can become a better person" thing.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh and Lindsey Ellis' review of Titanic with lots of background on the production and 'WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN YOUR HEART WILL GO WHERE?!"
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was waiting for the addition of Greedo shooting first.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:26 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was waiting for the addition of Greedo shooting first.

I don't know how much revisionism went into this new release of Titanic, but I do know that Cameron fixed the depiction of the night sky to be accurate based on Neil deGrasse Tyson's insistence that it was wrong the first time.

Which I think is pretty awesome.
posted by hippybear at 11:30 AM on April 8, 2012 [24 favorites]


I appreciate Cameron. And it helps to know that, whether he intends it or not, his audience is mostly teenagers. He hits a very sweet spot for kids -- he's both a genius at directing action and has an unabashedly pulpy romantic sensibility, full of big gestures and sad heroes and epic love. He proved that 13-year-old girls will watch action films, and that 14-year-old boys will watch melodramatic romances, and that they can be the same movie, and that they can star women.

Is it good or bad filmmaking? It's both, but I'm all for whatever he is doing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2012 [18 favorites]


Will Leitch's sincere review is an awesome counterpoint to Lindy West's snark fests. Both reconsiderations are solid writing, in my opinion, thanks for posting them! Every time I'm tempted to reflexive snark on popular culture I'm reminded of John Waters' commentary on the DVD for Pecker where he talks at length about wanting to make something without irony, something sincere, and how New York is surrounded by this Irony Curtain and so he made a movie about it. Ever since then I've tried to enjoy things for themselves, without reference or snark or irony, but mostly I fail.

The part of Titanic that still bugs me is the headache-inducing 15 minutes of them trapped in the lower decks, with the water rushing in, and all these strobe lights are going off flashing out of sync. Here Cameron's been making this lovely period costume drama, with some nuance and beauty to the cinematography, and then suddenly he reaches in his bag marked "Aliens / Abyss / Terminator" and hits us over the head with Action Filming. It seems totally out of place and yet I have to admit the movie wouldn't have worked without it.
posted by Nelson at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Jack!"

"Rose!"

"Jack!"

"Rose!"


Did I miss anything?
posted by Trurl at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I get really tired of seeing "like a 15-year-old girl!" used as an insult that means "really, really stupid!" I would say that Jezebel ought to publish a nice editorial about how obnoxious and sexist that is, but I guess that ship has already sunk.
posted by koeselitz at 11:40 AM on April 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


Which is by way of saying, when Mrs. Trurl and I saw it in 1997, the projector broke while they were in the icy water. And we didn't care.
posted by Trurl at 11:40 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


MaryAnn Johanson on the re-release
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Poor old Lindy West. Yes, she was funnier back when she was writing for The Stranger and not producing snark to quota for Gawker. So it goes...

Also TBH 15 year old West's assessment is probably more honest than either Stranger West or Gawker West's would be.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2012


I really wish Cameron changed the ending to:

Jack lives! He and Rose end up living a tenement in the lower East side. After 6 months, Rose discovers a simple truth: Partying with poor people on a boat is fun, living with them for the rest of your life, not so much. So one night when Jack comes home from a hard days work, she says "Jack, I have a secret" and shows him the giant diamond. Jack gets very angry, screaming "You've had that all along!" She gives him the speech about secrets, he brains her with a frying pan, takes the diamond, and goes to live with Molly Brown.
posted by Marky at 11:55 AM on April 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


Did I miss anything?

"I'll never let go!---glub glub glub"
posted by book 'em dano at 11:57 AM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know I liked the dream sequence ending cause it solidified Rose as an unreliable narrator which is kind of a great way to deflect criticism from a screen writing point of view.
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on April 8, 2012


Anyway, what bugs me personally about the 3D rerelease is that they spent eighteen million freaking dollars on it. That's several modestly-budgeted pictures; but all Hollywood has in it anymore is hedged bets on surefire moneymakers. Fine, rerelease Titanic, but spending that much money on a crappy 3D conversion nobody cares about anyway when there are starving screenwriters and budding directors waiting in the wings to do awesome stuff is really obnoxious.
posted by koeselitz at 11:59 AM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seriously, I'm sure people would go see it without the 3D, hell I was thinking of re-seeing it but modern 3D gives me a headache so now I'm just talking about it online and not putting money into my local movie theater life cycle.
posted by The Whelk at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You do know that it's been also re-released in 2D for this limited engagement?
posted by hippybear at 12:04 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


OKAY FINE I'LL GO WATCH KATE WINSLET DOING ALL THE HEAVY LIFTING FOR THE SCRIPT THEN
posted by The Whelk at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Will Leitch... idn't he the guy who used to run The Black Table?

Damn, I miss that site.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2012


I've seen Titantic three times (opening night, first DVD release and again about a week ago) and loved it every time, and I've never been a 15-year old girl. I really don't understand the hate for this movie. It's a love story, actually two love stories with the second being Cameron's love for the Titanic itself which is palpable. Every love story is the same; that doesn't make it a cliche. Lindy West strikes me as the sort of person that sneers at happy couples in parks because, jesus, just look at them. Ugh.
posted by zanni at 12:17 PM on April 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


So at the time, I worked at Blockbuster Video (For you youngsters in the audience who may not know this, there was a time when Blockbuster meant a storefront you went to instead of a sketchy Redbox Machine clone done up in blue trim). By the end of its theatrical run, you couldn't go more than twenty minutes without some customer either calling, or asking in person at the store when Titanic was going hit video.

When we finally did have a release date, we were all dreading it, because it was coming out right around the same time that coporate was rolling out an "In Store for Rental, Guaranteed" promotion, that everyone knew that regardless of how many rental copies we got, we'd still run out early and have to give out the coupons for free rentals.

The other big snag was the fact that DVD had yet to make any headway into the consumer market and it was too long of a movie to fit on one VHS cassette at SP speed, even with the tricks the manufacturers used to squeeze more than two hours onto a pre-recorded tape. So all our rental copies had to be put into two cassette cases rubberbanded together, with all the headaches that causes.

At the time our New Release shelves only had space to hold three single cassette boxes and one coverbox comfortably per each facing. We had enough copies that even with increasing the number of facings per shelf from 8 to 9, and using the bottom shelves that we typically only put extra coverboxes on, and didn't ever use to store rentals we still had to put three of the two tape sets behind each coverbox to limit the number of shelf units used on our new release wall. To fit three double box rentals on the shelf, we had to get creative, stacking the outermost copy as a hinged "L" with Tape 2 alongside the two copies further back , and folding the double thickness coverbox oragami-style down to a single thickness. Even with all this packing, Titanic took up 3 full shelf sections (when other hot new releases at the time may have only taken up half of one). To make room, the rest of the titles on the wall in both directions had to get similarly crammed.

The day before release, all the stores stayed open an extra hour after the usual midnight closing, to let people get the movie as soon as we could without breaking street date. Corporate had even sent us a special trailer tape to play on our overhead TVs just for the event. It had the Titanic trailer, a few Entertainment Tonight segments about the movie, and in between every segment, a Blockbuster commercial showing a pair of store employees stocking the shelves with Titanic, and then off-screen the sound of a stampede and hundreds of screaming female voices could be heard. The one employee looks out the store window in abject horror, while the other gets a smirk on his face and breaks out with the breath spray. I'd say our store rented out about a good one-third of our copies in that hour, then we had to close up, and put out the rest of the new releases that streeted the next day, while every ten minutes or so a straggler would come up to the locked entrance and then get mad at us that we were closed.

When it came time to finally end the shift and leave, I talked the manager into letting me snag the special trailer tape instead of throwing it out. (No, it's not for sale, I'm going to sit on that another couple of decades before I try to cash in on it.) The next day, I went out and bought a t-shirt that said "Next time, I'm cheering for the Iceberg."

So anyway, I'm quite amused that the rerelease has people asking questions like this.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:21 PM on April 8, 2012 [26 favorites]


The one thing I find clever about Titanic is that Dicaprio's character is a male Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Winslet plays the depressed protagonist. Not many films do that.
posted by bobo123 at 12:29 PM on April 8, 2012 [28 favorites]


Titanic memories:

We went opening day--before "My Heart Will Go On" was everywhere (or anywhere, actually), and I thought that lovely, Celtic-esque melody that showed up every so often during the movie was something I'd like to own on CD--so simple and pretty! And then the credits rolled and we got the overproduced extended-dance-remix version, with ridiculous lyrics, called "My Heart Will Go On." And It never. stopped. playing. For like, a year. I was bummed that that pretty tune was wrecked.

The "disaster" part of the film had been going on for, I don't know, at least twenty minutes? When we got the wide shot of the Titanic, small in the frame, in the black night of the North Atlantic, as it lost power and went dark. At this point, my friend J, master of understatement and oddly-timed observations, said in an entirely non-ironic reaction, "Well, now they're in trouble."

Neil DeGrasse Tyson's fact-gripe is far more important than mine, but all the water rushing into the ship is equally as freezing as the water outside the ship--it's, you know, the same water. And yet nobody's remotely cold splashing about and running through allllll of that North Atlantic chill for, what, ten minutes? They're soaking wet, but hey, no prob.

And yes, we, too, had our teenagers in line to see the movie who got angry that we'd "spoiled the movie" because our group was talking about the history of the Titanic, and they had no idea it was a real ship. That's the one story I think everyone tells about going to see Titanic that isn't apocryphal. Everyone who I knew back then had the same (or a similar) experience with teenagers at the movie.
posted by tzikeh at 12:53 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


And then the credits rolled and we got the overproduced extended-dance-remix version, with ridiculous lyrics, called "My Heart Will Go On."

I'm pretty sure that the dance mix of My Heart Will Go On was never shown as part of the movie.
posted by hippybear at 12:59 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You do know that it's been also re-released in 2D for this limited engagement?

I have a friend with whom I was chatting, and she said that she and her beau had gone to a movie (that had a 3D option). I asked "Did you see it in 3D?" She replied "No, regular D." Then, a moment later, "I am so ashamed of typing that."

She the legacy of the 3D craze? Shame and regret!
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


"My Heart Will Go On"

I have two thoughts on this song, but (warning) each has perpetuated its awful grip on my consciousness.

One is that after hearing it a few times, I imagined Leonardo DiCaprio shouting, over Celine Dion, "Once more/you LAND-LUBBING WHORE . . ." Just spitting out the last part, so angry, as he drowns.

The second is that this was only lately replace by an image of Dick Cheney singing this song while rising, Nosferatu-like, from the operating table.

Happy Easter!
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:14 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


zanni: I really don't understand the hate for this movie.

Well, I can't speak for anyone but myself, but the strongest reason I kind of resent it is because it's a syrupy, false love story, set on a boat full of terribly interesting real stories.

If it had just been "Cameron's Ship Disaster Movie", without the Titanic hook, I'd think it was quite good. But as is, I find it disrespectful and sloppy moviemaking -- he focused on the things in the Titanic, and mostly ignored the people, in favor of completely fictional ones.

Frankly, that rather appalls me.
posted by Malor at 1:22 PM on April 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


hippybear: I'm pretty sure that the dance mix of My Heart Will Go On was never shown as part of the movie.

No, I know - "extended dance remix" wasn't meant literally. Probably shouldn't have used it while referring to actual music.

(Oh my God there is a dance mix of My Heart Will Go On why why why)
posted by tzikeh at 1:36 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And yes, we, too, had our teenagers in line to see the movie who got angry that we'd "spoiled the movie" because our group was talking about the history of the Titanic, and they had no idea it was a real ship.

My kid, who is nine, was telling me the other day about a friend of hers who is reading a book about "this big boat and they crashed into an iceberg and the boat started to sink and..."

"You mean the Titanic?"

"I don't know what it was called, but it was a good book."

"Yeah, but it's real, the Titanic was a real boat that really sank."

"That story was REAL?"

Fifteen years ago it seemed crazy that kids wouldn't have known how the movie was going to end because of the real events. Now it seems crazy to me that a kid wouldn't know about the real events because of the movie. But there you have it.

As for the song, I love all the griping, not least because I always think the Titanic song is Whitney Houston's "I will always love you." Honestly, sometimes I wonder if I was there in the 90s at all.
posted by looli at 1:39 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Oh my God there is a dance mix of My Heart Will Go On why why why)

There. That's the reaction I was looking for. Thank you.
posted by hippybear at 1:40 PM on April 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well, I can't speak for anyone but myself, but the strongest reason I kind of resent it is because it's a syrupy, false love story, set on a boat full of terribly interesting real stories.

If it had just been "Cameron's Ship Disaster Movie", without the Titanic hook, I'd think it was quite good. But as is, I find it disrespectful and sloppy moviemaking -- he focused on the things in the Titanic, and mostly ignored the people, in favor of completely fictional ones.


It's called "historical fiction". It's been around for a while, actually, since long before this particular film. James Michener made an entire novel-writing career out of it. Gone With The Wind is an excellent filmmaking example. As is Ben Hur. Or, for that matter, Gladiator. Lawrence Of Arabia, however, not so much.
posted by hippybear at 1:43 PM on April 8, 2012


Sure, but in this case, the source material is so interesting. His replacement characters completely suck in comparison.
posted by Malor at 1:47 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Honest Trailers: Titanic Based on the tragedy that spawned thousands of heartbreaking true stories comes this fake one
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:49 PM on April 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, well, the Civil War was full of enough interesting stories for Ken Burns to do a zillion hours about it, but Gone With The Wind still ended up being made.
posted by hippybear at 1:50 PM on April 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Curious sidenote: For many months, even years after Titanic's original release, Halifax's Fairview Lawn Cemetery saw regular crowds of weeping, bouquet-clutching teenage girls, who had come to pay their respects to one J. Dawson, who had been on the Titanic's crew and had no connection whatsoever to the character in the movie.

Good ole J. Dawson - perhaps the most beloved coincidental figure in Canadian history.
posted by gompa at 2:17 PM on April 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


This bit from the DeadSpin review is worth highlighting:
James Cameron, a megalomaniacal tyrant obsessed with a singular, massively expensive vision, spent years working on the film, going wildly overbudget with no movie stars, to the point that ultimately two studios had to co-finance and release the movie. (A Premiere magazine article before the film's release quoted one effects supervisor on the film as saying, "Cameron has gone Kurtz.") The movie was the joke of the industry for months before it was released. But then it was released. The film debuted to a decent $28.6 million gross its opening weekend and then ... it simply became the only movie on earth that mattered. Titanic increased its gross the next weekend—which never happens—and stayed the No. 1 movie in the country for a staggering 15 consecutive weeks ... The equivalent of this now would be Mission: Impossible 4, which comes out on DVD in two weeks, still being the No. 1 movie in the country this weekend, and remaining in that spot even when all the big summer movies come out.
posted by memebake at 2:25 PM on April 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was just watching Jullien Fellows Titanic series and thinking how much Cameron's film has ruined it for me. Without the spectacle, all other Titanic stories fall really short of my expectations.
posted by cazoo at 2:29 PM on April 8, 2012


Starting when I was eight years old or so (not long after Ballard found the actual wreck) I was obsessed with the Titanic; I read everything I could, watched every Nova special I could find, drew it in the margins of my homework, built models of it, wrote short stories about sailing on it and even bought an "authentic" piece of coal from one the Titanic Inc. expeditions. I loved the Titanic like other kids liked basketball or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I saw the movie on opening night, and at least twice after that. Say what you will about the hackneyed love story, but seeing the ship itself realized with such accuracy and affection was one of the most fulfilling movie-going experiences of my life. I can't wait to see it in 3D.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 2:50 PM on April 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Cameron is so wonderfully manipulative! I had to be helped out of the theater cos I was still sobbing uncontrollably. I dont think I recovered from the below decks farewell montage of the noble paupers. •wipes a tear•. I love Cameron...
posted by Iteki at 2:53 PM on April 8, 2012


I really don't understand the hate for this movie.

Here you go.
posted by Trurl at 3:01 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The personality quirk that gets me all furious when someone talks about the ending of a movie/story/book/series/whatever before I've gotten a chance to see it is probably the same one responsible for my total lack of interest in seeing Titanic, no matter how wonderful a movie it might be. It's ruined. I know how it ends. The boat sinks. That's it, I don't care, whatever.

On the other hand there are some movies/stories/books/series/whatever that I'll gladly watch over again despite knowing how they'll end. I'm kind of at a loss to explain that, though.

Maybe I'm just a twit.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:03 PM on April 8, 2012


Just watched The Abyss: Special Edition last night and emerged from the den sobbing, so you know I'm a swooning Cameron fanboy. I don't love Titanic quite so much, but I do admire his story construction capabilities, so bringing them to bear here: Cameron himself has said that he needed to drastically simplify his story in order to fit it into the 3 hours and show all the other stuff he needed to, and that resulted in a somewhat archaic simplicity akin to early silents, somewhat unintentionally.

The part of Titanic that still bugs me is the headache-inducing 15 minutes of them trapped in the lower decks, with the water rushing in, and all these strobe lights are going off flashing out of sync.

Well, I hope you get that this was exactly why the story was structured the way it was, so that Jack and Rose would be required to essentially tour the sinking ship and thereby be our audience stand-ins for everyone else trapped below. In a sense, those scenes were why he made the movie at all.

And yet nobody's remotely cold splashing about and running through allllll of that North Atlantic chill for, what, ten minutes? They're soaking wet, but hey, no prob.

Well, cold doesn't show up too well on screen, and besides, that's how Jack dies so in another sense you don't want to play that aspect too early. If you want ocean-water-is-cold, that is shown in The Abyss (at one point, Ed Harris wants desperately to shiver that cold away, but can't make a sound for plot reasons). And during that shoot, Cameron and crew would spend up to 20 hours a day submerged in the water tank (a cooling facility at an uncompleted nuclear reactor), so this definitely isn't a case of the director being ignorant. He chose what to show, what was compelling visually and necessary for the story.

Anyway, what bugs me personally about the 3D rerelease is that they spent eighteen million freaking dollars on it. That's several modestly-budgeted pictures

Several? I'm not sure those pictures are coming out of the same money pool, personally, or that you're entirely acquainted with current studio budget profiles. Anyway, look at it this way: This is surefire and that $18M investment will probably pay off several (yes) times over (6-8x or so is my guess, once DVD and Blu-Ray sales are included; it's already grossed 3x in the theatrical), money that will then be available to fund all those nice little indie features you so desire to see. Hollywood recycles money, after all. Sheesh, if you want to get mad at waste, why not throw a Martian spear at John Carter?

From the flickfilosopher review:
Women, if they’re lucky enough to appear at all, are the noble, saintly bystanders who inspire and encourage men; if they’re unlucky, they will be sacrificed, often quite literally via rape, murder, or both, to the male protagonist’s spiritual and personal development.

This is interesting in relation to The Abyss, in which (spoiler!) Bud and Linds both choose sacrifice, although one is for eros and the other for agape.

Also:
I considered how Cameron represents the disaster as the true end of the Victorian age and the spiritual beginning of the 20th century, and how the modern framing story might lead one to consider whether we, at the other end of the 20th century, should be on the alert for our own iceberg right ahead, for another reminder of our blind spots to disaster.

I think that was something called 9/11. Not that there may be no other icebergs, but I can think of few historical examples that resonate so clearly as a turning point, and so close to the century mark. Much closer than Titanic, anyway.
posted by dhartung at 3:18 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fun fact: Two Hall of Fame tennis players, the Federer and Nadal of their generation, were on board.
posted by stargell at 4:58 PM on April 8, 2012


I guess I was technically a teenage girl when I saw this movie during my high school years. Except that I was gothy/arty. And felt superior to just about everything in popular culture in that special way that only poorly socialized teenagers can really execute. I wouldn't even wear jeans because they were gauche. Yep. I was a bit full of myself. So, of course, I went to see Titanic pretty much so that I could hate it even more thoroughly than I already did before seeing it.

But then I totally cried. Because doomed romance and pretty costumes and emotionally manipulative music, you know? I mean, I'm not made of stone! And it was around this time that I stopped taking myself so seriously. I was totally embarrassed by my own enjoyment in getting all weepy over such maudlin crap. Because I could tell it was bad. And I still liked it.

Now I like ALL KINDS of cringe worthy stuff! So thanks Titanic for ridding me of any notions of careful curation of taste! It's a way better way to live.

I've got to go now because A Game of Thrones is almost on and I'm hoping they'll show more of the dragons this week. Also I am wearing jeans because that shit was just plain crazy.
posted by troublewithwolves at 5:41 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Badly contrived film romances just piss me off. I shouldn't have left that movie wishing the Kate Winslet character had drowned. Trying to think of really good, if not great, love relationships in movies, The Constant Gardener comes to mind. And The Fountain. Or I just have a thing for Rachel Weisz. She does it really damn well.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:49 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would like her more in The Mummy if it weren't for the fact that there are real mummies who are so interesting.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:58 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


der spiegel interviews Cameron
posted by bukvich at 6:27 PM on April 8, 2012


Well, I can't speak for anyone but myself, but the strongest reason I kind of resent it is because it's a syrupy, false love story, set on a boat full of terribly interesting real stories.

Oh wow. I just realized why I dislike Pearl Harbor (the M. Bay movie) so much. They were just trying to remake Titanic in WWII by shaking the camera around all the time.
posted by Winnemac at 8:02 PM on April 8, 2012


computech_apolloniajames: "I was waiting for the addition of Greedo shooting first."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the internet has beat you to this joke...
posted by schmod at 8:08 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


dhartung: “Several? I'm not sure those pictures are coming out of the same money pool, personally, or that you're entirely acquainted with current studio budget profiles. Anyway, look at it this way: This is surefire and that $18M investment will probably pay off several (yes) times over (6-8x or so is my guess, once DVD and Blu-Ray sales are included...”

Yes, but it's still a stupid investment. They could have spent ten million dollars more creating the greatest movie poster ever conceived; you could sit there saying "that's a great investment! look how much money the rerelease made!" but everybody knows that's a pointless expense. Releasing it in 3D didn't put a single butt in a seat, I guarantee you that. It was ridiculous to waste eighteen million dollars on window dressing that didn't change the box office outcome one whit.

“Sheesh, if you want to get mad at waste, why not throw a Martian spear at John Carter?”

Okay, since you mention it, I'll do just that. John Carter is a better movie than Titanic by far, and it's unconscionable that Hollywood threw money in a hole by agreeing to finance the film and then doing everything they could to sabotage it upon release. People at Disney were spreading rumors before the thing was out of post-production that it was terrible, that it was going to be a flop, that it was egregiously expensive and a stupid mistake and a waste. Surprisingly enough, people listen to what the studios tell them. That's why John Carter flopped. I suspect that the whole fiasco was a result of somebody somewhere wanting to take revenge on somebody else (maybe Andrew Stanton didn't successfully ingratiate himself to his Disney masters, who knows) but revenge at a cost of tens of millions of dollars is the kind of mistake that should wreck companies.
posted by koeselitz at 8:39 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Releasing it in 3D didn't put a single butt in a seat, I guarantee you that.

It seems like you're guaranteeing something here which you have no basis for guaranteeing save your own personal distaste.
posted by Justinian at 8:56 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's true; I don't know anybody who'd see it for 3D, but that doesn't mean much.

Actually, completely disregarding the appeal of 3D, I imagine what Hollywood likes about it is the opportunity to charge double for admission. I mean, most people go to the movies on impulse, and I imagine they're likely to pay the 3D extra charges without thinking much. That increases the box office take a lot, I'll bet.

Still – this movie could have made a lot of money without being rereleased in 3D. And I still have great doubts about Hollywood's current strategies regarding its own future survival.
posted by koeselitz at 9:10 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The movie was also released in 2D, often playing in both formats in the same multiplex. People have choices.
posted by hippybear at 9:16 PM on April 8, 2012


I'm very aware that it was released in 2D, if only because you've already mentioned it here. I'm not entirely sure about the choices thing, though; I was only speaking from my own experience, but from what I've seen a lot of people don't plan moviegoing that way. If the showing in the next ten minutes is the 3D version, and the 2D doesn't start for an hour, they'll see the 3D version. And from what I've seen screenings are staggered in that way.

If people really do exercise their choices, then I remain exremely skeptical about the notion that 3D was a good investment for this film. But I'd really like to see numbers on what percentage of people are actually drawn to 3D rather than 2D films.
posted by koeselitz at 10:20 PM on April 8, 2012


i have a weird relationship with the film, because a) I largely don't like Cameron's films and b) for whatever reason, the oldest books in my house growing up were all 1914-1917 books about the ship sinking.

They varied in quality, and approach, and detail, but because the books were so old, they fascinated me, and I read them over and over again, studying the reprinted newspaper illustrations and the conflicting eyewitness sketches of the ship's last moments - did it break or not?

I was at least as interested in these books as a preadolescent as I would be in Star Trek a couple years later. As a consequence, I ingrained aspects of the ship's plan drawings into my head with full on nerd fervor.

When the shop was finally found, I was at first very interested, and then kind of bored and disappointed, because the wreck bears so little resemblance to the ship I had imagined.

So, Cameron gave me the ship. For which I sincerely thank him. I so wish he hadn't wrapped it around the manipulative story he used to show us the thing he built; I simply cannot bear to watch the film.

(fwiw, I think the reason the film's being rereleased in 3D is to showcase Cameron's ability to retrofit 3D on to non-dual-lens source material, such that other studios throw work at him and his companies to bolt on depth perception for blockbusters X, Y, and Z. So in essence if this makes money, get ready for more 3-treads.)
posted by mwhybark at 12:13 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I can't speak for anyone but myself, but the strongest reason I kind of resent it is because it's a syrupy, false love story, set on a boat full of terribly interesting real stories.

This. I was 16 when I went to the cinema to watch it, at the insistence of my dad, who was a bit of a historical geek about events like these. Still, I can't complain too much. I considered the Jack-and-Rose moments as much needed interludes from all my hysterical sobbing (the old couple! the band! that baby!).

I did regret all the soft drinks I had consumed just before and throughout the movie.
posted by cendawanita at 2:36 AM on April 9, 2012


That confounded old couple. They're in all the trailers, and they were in the Nostalgia Chick video, and sure enough every time I see them, here comes the waterworks.

And the trailer has been showing in front of practically every movie for two solid months, and it's all my cynical little self can do not to run out of the theater for tearing up at the trailer for 'Titanic'.
posted by Gordafarin at 3:24 AM on April 9, 2012


I'm going to sink this bitch.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:32 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cameron seems to have knack for telling fairly simplistic stories with great direction that get inside people. Does that mean most people are fairly simplistic?

Actually, yes. Yes they are.

But that's not necessarily solely a snarky "most people are really idiots" observation (although, believe me, there's some of that too, but if you get me going I'll go off on my "just look at American Idol/network TV/pop music" rant). It's also an observation that there really are parts of the human experience that are universal. We're all born, we all face fear, we all fall in love, we all lose love, we all face the question of who we're going to be -- even though the details are different, there are universal aspects of the human experience. And any artist who knows how to plug into that can trigger a response in people when they're not expecting it.

Personally, though, I generally don't like traditional romances so I didn't see this, and was sneering about it -- but a friend of mine who's even more of an art snob than me told me why he applauded Cameron's work -- basically, James Cameron became a filmmaker so he could fund his scuba habit. The whole reason Titanic exists is because he wanted an excuse to promote an undersea expedition to the realTitanic wreck site. And Avatar funded the research into that fancy-ass submersible journey to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. And the Titanic re-release? More exploration.

"We've got the technology to do this kind of undersea exploration," my friend said. "The only thing stopping us from doing more of it is money. So if James Cameron wants to become one of the bastards rich enough to actually do it, then I say good for him, because that means at least it's getting done."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:51 AM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


The movie was also released in 2D, often playing in both formats in the same multiplex. People have choices.

Titanic is playing on thirty-five 3D screens in my area and zero 2D screens.

What is the ratio in yours?
posted by fairmettle at 6:36 AM on April 9, 2012


Gordafarin: "That confounded old couple. They're in all the trailers, and they were in the Nostalgia Chick video, and sure enough every time I see them, here comes the waterworks."

Ida and Isador Straus of department store fame. While it makes me sad that scenes based on the real history like this ended up on the cutting room floor, from what I understand he had so much extra material fillmed, the movie would have been something like 12 hours long had he left it all in.

So many of the actors cast and wardrobed as real historical figures found their final involvement in the film reduced to being non-speaking background extras. Does at least make for a nice game of seek-and-find for anyone familiar enough with the subject to have seen photographs of prominent passengers, because even without dialog, you can pick out who's who.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:37 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


It took the Titanic 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink. In my world, any movie longer than it took the Titanic to sink has to be The Great Escape or directed by David Lean. Sorry.
posted by marxchivist at 9:47 AM on April 9, 2012


I don't think I've seen Titanic in its entirety since it first came out on video. The central love story was pretty forgettable, but I remember it doing a pretty good job of capturing the horror and tragedy during the actual sinking of the ship... which is probably why I haven't gone out of my way to watch it since.
posted by usonian at 10:57 AM on April 9, 2012


No Godfather? No Godfather II? No Gone With The Wind? No Apocalypse Now? No Ben Hur? No Seven Samurai? No Deer Hunter? No Braveheart? No Spartacus? No Children of Paradise? No Last Emperor? No Hamlet? No Dances With Wolves? No Fanny and Alexander? No Fiddler on the Roof? No Scarface? No Schindler's List?

My sincerest condolences. :(
posted by fairmettle at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops! ^ The quote the above post is referring to disappeared...

It took the Titanic 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink. In my world, any movie longer than it took the Titanic to sink has to be The Great Escape or directed by David Lean. Sorry.
posted by fairmettle at 11:00 AM on April 9, 2012


For me the test of the long-ass movie is if it FEELS like a long ass movie, in which case it;s failed to keep you engaged and is too damn long and flabby. Titanic does a lot better than, say, the Lord of the Rings films in that regard.
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: "If the showing in the next ten minutes is the 3D version, and the 2D doesn't start for an hour, they'll see the 3D version. And from what I've seen screenings are staggered in that way."

Do people really just show up at a theater without any idea of the starting times of the films they're interested in seeing? Is that actually a thing that happens?
posted by wierdo at 2:10 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, I just show up at the theater without any idea of what's playing.

I live my life on the razor's edge, man.
posted by box at 4:42 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


My sincerest condolences. :(

Yeah, you're right. Mostly. I do want those hours back I spent watching Braveheart. And Dances With Wolves.
posted by marxchivist at 8:29 PM on April 9, 2012


wierdo, hell yes, especially if it's a multiple screen theater with several theaters showing whatever blockbuster of the moment. it makes eating dinner beforehand blissfully non-schedule-dependent.
posted by mwhybark at 11:12 PM on April 9, 2012


Do people really just show up at a theater without any idea of the starting times of the films they're interested in seeing? Is that actually a thing that happens?

I sure as hell don't, and I don't light my cigars with hundred dollar bills either. If I'm paying full pop for a movie these days, it's something I've been planning to see for months, because the budget only allows for a handful of movies a year.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:27 AM on April 11, 2012


People on Twitter Learn That The Titanic Was Not Just A Movie
posted by homunculus at 3:48 PM on April 11, 2012


At least one of those tweets is sarcastic.
But the rest... agh.
posted by Gordafarin at 12:01 AM on April 12, 2012


Jack and Rose could have both fit on that wooden plank...quite comfortably
posted by Burhanistan at 8:18 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


And sank.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:42 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the comments under that 'Jack and Rose would both fit' post:
Wt per cu ft of sea water = 64.08lbs; red oak = 44lbs; est disp of door = 8.4cu ft; wt supported by door = 168lbs. Ergo, Jack's fucked.
posted by memebake at 7:12 AM on April 22, 2012


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