James Cameron’s first mega blockbuster hit “Titanic,” which tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers fighting class biases and the infamous sinking of the title ship, was recently re-released in 3D in theaters for a limited time.
While some may argue the re-release is just a bid for more money, especially considering the extra cost of 3D, the experience is worth it.
Some 3D movies are a mess of flashy in-your-face special effects that induce headaches instead of awe (see the 2010 remake of “Clash of the Titans”). But other movies use 3D technology to the best of its ability, adding depth and immediacy to the film.
Before delving into the specifics, a disclaimer: as “Titanic” has been out for 15 years, no details of the movie will be spared in fear of spoiling the ending.
“Titanic: 3D” is one of those films that does use 3D technology in its best form, adding real depth to scene after scene. The bow of the ship cuts through the Atlantic and into the theater. Jack and Rose walk through the screen and into the viewer’s immediate area, and in the famous scene of an older Rose dropping the sought-after “Heart of the Ocean” necklace into the water, it sinks directly into the audience’s eyes.
The scenes depicting the events of the capsizing of the great ship induce an increased heart rate as the water seems to literally rush into the eyes of the audience.
The back end of the ship, sticking in the air as passengers fall to their deaths, is full of depth.
When the ship itself splits in two, one smokestack crushes a minor character (Fabrizio), and the water and sparks seem to fly into the theater.
There are scenes of beauty that are enhanced by the 3D, as well.
As Jack and Rose run through the boiler room, Rose’s purple dress flows behind her in a cloud of smoke—a scene already wonderfully shot is made even more so through the added dimensions.
Overall, the addition of 3D brings characters into focus in a very real plane of existence, creating a more dynamic space in which they play out their story, and it also brings the audience further into the experience.
Also, the three and half hour film does go by a lot faster than it may have otherwise because of the way the 3D brings the audience into the action.
The most unfortunate part of the film has nothing to do with the 3D action; it has to do with the fact that it’s most remembered for the romance between poor, essentially homeless free-spirited Jack and rich, high society Rose.
While the Titanic doesn’t actually hit the iceberg that would be its downfall until two and half hours into the story, the horrific events of that night aren’t focused on as much as the ill-fated love between the two protagonists.
As the older Rose states at the end of her tale, 1500 people died in the water that night, as twenty lifeboats floated nearby with plenty of room.
Most of the people in the water were part of the lower class, while those in the boats had the benefit of having money and immediate access to the lifeboats.
“Titanic” is not only a love story, it’s a tragedy; not only does Jack die, leaving Rose to live a life without him, but over a thousand innocent people—children included—lost their lives when they didn’t have to, but did because of greed for money, fame and a big splash when the ship docked in New York.
This fact may have been lost in the 15 years since the film’s initial release, but the big screen, with the added help of 3D technology, brings the depressing reality of April 15, 1912, into sharp focus.
It must be said that seeing Titanic on the big screen itself probably brings a lot to the experience as well.
The massive ship is most likely impressive stretched across a 60-foot screen whether it’s in 3D or not.
The 2D version is in theaters as well, and it will no doubt be an improvement over the two-tape VHS version most people own and watch on their TV screens at home.
But if it’s in theaters in 3D, why forgo the extra dimension when it’s there and adds so much to the existing movie?