Few weeks ago #englishrosiee and I decided to visit a Titanic related exhibition in the beautiful city of Cape Town. It was interesting and interactive, the best part is that you can still catch it in Durban. The visit inspired in me/us the need to rewatch “Titanic”, a melodrama that I saw as a teenager.
“Titanic” was directed by James Cameron and received numerous Academy Awards. The film tells the tragic story of the giant “unsinkable” ship that sank during its virgin trip to America in 1912. This surrounding is a background to a story of forbidden love between a lady and a commoner. As a child I cried at the end and I did the same watching it today. Has the movie really stood the test of time, though?
Let’s start with the plot. We meet elderly Rose (young version portrayed by Kate Winslet) who recognizes herself on a drawing recovered from the Titanic’s wreck. She boarded the ship as a young woman from a formerly rich family, whose mother wants to save the family by making her daughter marry a rich but unpleasant man (Billy Zane). Both the fiancé and the mother are trying to tame the young woman who’s emancipated at heart. Her future seems miserable till she meets a young artist Jack (very young Leo DiCaprio) who shows her that there are other ways to live.
The romance story is pleasant enough, there’s also a social commentary about sexism and classism of the times. However, one is quite aware that in real life Jack would be Rose’s awakening fling rather than a partner for life. This is why the seemingly tragic ending may actually have preserved the purity of this story. “Titanic” is also a tale of female empowerment and it is appealing to see a woman on the screen who truly thinks for herself. Unfortunately, Rose is the only well developed character. The others seem to be oversimplified, which possibly magnifies the general atmosphere of overdramatisation in the movie. In other words, let’s be honest, a big chunk of cheese has been used during this production.
Even though, the use of excessive tear-jerking methods isn’t commendable, it remains a good watch. The love story’s background is simply beautiful. There are great shots of the inside and outside of the ship, that give us a sense of how a passenger felt like on this magnificent vessel. The most beautiful to watch is the evacuation and the consequent destruction of the ship. The special effects even years later are breathtaking and I don’t think there’s been a more beautiful capturing of a similar event in the history of cinematography up to date.
Last but not least, music is yet another timeless advantage of the movie. I’m not talking here about the used and abused Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” but about the rest of the soundtrack accompanying the movie. It would be much more difficult to get into the atmosphere of the film if not for it. Everything from the first sounds when the passengers are boarding to the orchestra playing to soothe the passengers when the ship sinks has been carefully planned and executed to complement the film.
To sum up, “Titanic” remains a masterpiece of visual affects and a good watch. I wouldn’t call it the greatest love story ever, but millions of teenagers around the world already did so the movie will survive without my full approval. You should watch it if you haven’t but I’d only recommend a rewatch if you’re on holiday or have a lot of free time otherwise. It’s over three hours long after all.