True story: up until last night, I had never seen Titanic. Obviously I had picked up a lot about the movie over the years, but it came out when I was on my mission. It was all over the place then. Even in the small city where I was serving in Germany, I heard Celine Dion belting out from practically every store front. Often enough that I had “My Heart Will Go On” memorized, despite the fact missionaries weren’t allowed to listen to pop music.
Titanic was everywhere.
When I got back from my mission, I never really got around to watching the movie, simply because I figured I already knew what happened in it, and it was really long. (By that logic, I should never have watched any of the LOTR movies, though. Right?) It just became one of those holes in my pop culture knowledge, and I was at peace with that, for the most part. Then, about two years ago, I bought the movie in 3D, thinking that would be a fun way to watch it. Then I forgot I bought it on disc until I found it for the next Christmas, and then I wrapped it and forgot we owned it at all, because I never unwrapped it.
Clearly it wasn’t high on my to do list.
However, there’s no time like a current disaster to watch a classic disaster movie, right? Right. So Denisa and I popped on our 3D glasses and went back to 1912 over the past few nights. Now that I’ve watched it, I’m very glad I did. For one thing, it was eerie to see the connections between the way they recognized a disaster was coming in the movie, and the way we’ve recognized a disaster is here in the present day. All the same reactions are played out on the screen. (I’m just hoping we haven’t passed the “the ship is going to sink no matter what” stage of the virus.)
It was also great to watch how Cameron used the historical facts of the event as an asset to his movie instead of a liability. He leads out right in the beginning with the shipwreck. He even gives a general overview of how it sank. Then we go back in time and meet some of the characters and get to like them, so that when the disaster happens, it means something. And because we know what happens and the order it happens, all that scientific description at the beginning becomes much more ominous when you see it played out in real life. Superb.
I know some people had said the movie was overrated. 11 Oscars, tons of money, and it wasn’t worth the hype. I disagree. I thought the effects were incredible (especially in 3D), the story engaging, the acting well done (though not as strong as the rest of the movie), but the way it made history come alive was fantastic. Really, my one complaint about it was the way they threw in nudity for no particularly good reason. It’s not a movie I feel like I can watch with my family because of that, and I don’t think it made it a stronger movie with its inclusion. (I had somehow thought it was just a brief flash of nudity in the movie. I was wrong. Not that it’s there for a ton of time, but still.)
Interestingly, my one real interaction with the film previous to this was on my mission, when a young woman in the branch asked me to draw her a picture of Leonardo and Kate. I happily complied, not having any idea the role drawing played in the movie. I don’t think I would have done that if I’d seen the movie. Not that there was anything salacious about it, but it definitely would have felt much more awkward had I known. (Yay for ignorance!)
Anyway. The country isn’t sinking at least, and we don’t have to worry about hypothermia any time soon, so if you’re looking for an “at least it isn’t that bad” sort of an escape, go ahead and give Titanic another shot. 9/10
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