Sunday, 4 March 2012

Titanic 3D (Film Review)

Titanic in 3D AKA James Cameron tries to gouge more money from audiences with minimal effort.

Yeah, this one is bad. Not only was this film the turning point in which Cameron took the George Lucas route of devolving from a god of movie-making to a egotistical moolah-grabber churning out cinematic blights, but the 3D in this re-release is abysmally horrible. This film manages to use even less 3D in its runtime than Thor and even when used it's badly implemented. It doesn’t emphasise upon objects flying out at the audience and is rarely is present when height or size needs to be emphasised upon. It ultimately feels like it’s been tacked on at the last minute – which of course, is exactly what has been done.
Paul W.S. Anderson might be using 3D in nearly all of his recent productions but at least they’re made with 3D in mind from the start, at least in those the 3D actually looks good, but this? Titanic was never made with the intention of having 3D in it to begin with so the sections featuring the gimmick look unrealistic. Sometimes appears even more two dimensional than the cardboard cut-outs which serve as characters and looks like they’ve been done in a week with as little money as possible.

The film’s simply not worth the cost of viewing in 3D and you can spend nearly the entire run-time with the glasses off and have no issue watching it. So, if you desperately need to see this for some reason just watch it in regular format. Or better yet, save yourself money just wait for it to be shown on TV for the millionth time.

So that’s the updated version of 1997’s Titanic, unthathomably terrible bordering upon insulting which is admittedly an improvement over Avatar. But, since we’re reviewing this, we might as well take a look at the film itself and not just things added so Cameron can try to make a few million more dollars.
First, the good – The actors. Titanic boasts a fine cast of actors who play both minor and major roles in contributing to the plot. Every one of them is clearly making the best out of what they’re given, which is quite frequently very little, and there are some admirable performances littered throughout the film. The soundtrack, barring a certain song, is beautifully composed and while not the best in Hollywood it gives a great deal of emotion to many scenes, deserving or otherwise.

There’s also something to be said for the effects, while this is something that will be a target of criticism in this review there is no denying their quality. A massive amount of detail went into the locations and every aspect of the ship, trying to make it as lifelike as possible and for the most part it succeeded. The CGI was balanced out by well-made physical effects which gave a sense of solidity and, unlike Avatar, things like the ship breaking up had a real sense of weight behind them. There are few if any flaws within the composition of shots or the cinematography, and for all his flaws Cameron still knows how to direct how a film is visually displayed. And now onto the bad.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the better part of the century, or simply slept through every school lesson on the subject, the Titanic is one of the world’s biggest man-made disasters. It was one of the world’s biggest ocean going ships, carried hundreds on board and was declared “unsinkable”. As such when it struck an iceburg, there were far too few lifeboats to save everyone and few if any lower class passengers on the lower decks made it out alive. The few who did nearly all frozen to death long before help arrived. It was a horrendous loss of life caused by overconfidence in design and ultimately a tragedy.

So rather than focusing upon that, looking into the historic elements of the film, or even just giving a factual documentary, what does James Cameron do? He turns it into a cliché ridden, emotionally shallow teen romance story. He used a real life event which cost the lives of hundreds to focus upon a romance story between two people filled with every cliché and shallow ham fisted attempt to tug at people’s heart strings imaginable.
This would be like setting Twilight on the Hidenburg as it burned down. Actually, no, at least that might have had the added fantasy element to remove itself from the real thing – the only thing Titanic has to distance itself from the real disaster is inhumanly bad writing.

The core aspect which really drags down the writing is the characters, many of who are either caricatures or overly simplified jokes which read like they’ve come from a morality play for four year olds. The two leads, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winselt, are infallible, have no character flaws and are sickeningly perfect on every level.
The villain meanwhile, lacks any redeemable traits, repeatedly performs acts which are cartoonishly evil and is written to be so over the top in how horrible he is that Billy Zane‘s performance becomes hilarious, hamming it up at every turn. There’s no depth to them, no hint of flaws or any human aspects which make them remotely believable; instead they are defined purely by their role. The heroes are good as such they are 100% pure with no faults and can do no wrong, the villain is bad and as such are completely corrupt and can do no right. Another Avatar comparison could be made to this, but if we keep this up most of the review will be nothing but bitching about what was wrong with that film.
What makes this worse is similar characterisations extend to the secondary cast with figures like Molly Brown being used as comic relief when the stories surrounding her actions on the Titanic were heroic. The workers in the mail room of the Titanic all died trying to do their jobs, dragging bags of letters and documents to the upper decks even as they were being flooded. Even as the ship is sinking we get to see only very brief moments of what took place in real life, with the main focus being on a gun wielding Zane chasing down the two protagonists through the ship. Even as people are dying the focus is still squarely upon the fictional protagonists.
So, to add to bad writing, Cameron pissed all over the graves of those who were actually on the ship in favour of his generic stereotypes of protagonists and villains. And that’s before we get to the gender issues of the film, a problem prevalent in many of Cameron’s films.

Now, the actual events of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic itself have severe gender problems surrounding them, but that has already been covered here. As such the problems of gender will be focused purely upon the films script. It doesn’t help that any of Cameron writes female characters better than he does male ones, but watching the film there’s a clear bias towards females. Every male character is killed off by the end or executed in some way, either from the ship disaster or by suicide, so only females end up surviving. What is more is that out of the villains, Rose’s mother, Frances Fisher, is repeatedly fed moments to make her more sympathetic.

On the one hand this does make her a more three dimensional character, but at the same time it contrasts heavily with the moustache twirlingly villainous Zane. Imagine for a moment if the genders of this were reversed – that the film had all of its female characters killed off and only the male villain was presented in anywhere near a sympathetic light, just how much of a backlash would that have generated?

At its core the film really has nothing to do with the Titanic itself, it just happens to be set on the Titanic. You could have put the characters in any other location, give them any single disaster to be introduced in the third act and you’d barely have to change anything. It’s not worth remembering, it’s not worth watching, and the only thing its story deserves is to be rightly ridiculed as a bad joke.


Titanic and all related characters and media are owned by 20th Century Fox.


  1. you dont know wtf your talking about mate. The 3D was deep as hell from the screen plane back. You just cant see stereo.

  2. Bruh titanic was a disaster i think it was right for james Cameron too add love set for disaster