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Titanic (1997)

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Titanic
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Near, far, wherever you are
Genre: Romance disaster
Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio
Kate Winslet
Billy Zane
Kathy Bates
Frances Fisher
Bernard Hill
Jonathan Hyde
Danny Nucci
David Warner
Bill Paxton
Distributed By: Paramount Pictures (United States)
20th Century Fox (International)
Release Date: November 1, 1997 (Tokyo)
December 19, 1997 (United States)
Runtime: 195 minutes
Country: United States
Box Office: $2.202 billion
Sequel: Titanic II(unofficial).


Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance-disaster film directed, written, co-produced and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage.

Plot

A young woman named Rose De Witt Bukater (Kate Winslet) befriends a poor artist named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) while on board the Titanic. Kate’s lover, Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) disapproves of her being with Jack since he’s poor while he’s rich. Later, the Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks, taking more than 1500 lives, including Jack. However, Rose, her Mother and Cal survive. After Jack’s death, Rose manages to escape from Cal and her Mother. Cal Commits suicide after losing his fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Why Nothing On Earth Could Come Between Them

  1. The idea of making a movie that was based of the 1912 RMS Titanic disaster is interesting and had potential and is executed very, very well.
  2. Despite the long runtime, the film has an incredibly good pace along with some good character development.
  3. The emotions come at the right time.
    • An example is when Jack dies of hypothermia (which is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in all of film history).
  4. It stays true to the people who died in the disaster.
  5. Nice cinematography.
  6. The main characters have beautiful chemistry, making them unforgettable.
  7. Memorable quotes including Jack's famous "I'm the king of the world!" statement (that being the best-known).
    • Not only that, the scene when the two are at the front of the ship, Jack expands Rose and tells her to open her eyes, which is the also best known scene, also known as "I'm flying" scene.
  8. The replication of the Titanic is well done, and all of the scenes of the ship sinking look so real.
  9. The drawings shown near the beginning as well as the drawing of Rose are very well-made.
  10. A lot of likable characters.
  11. Excellent score and soundtrack by James Horner.
    • And not only that, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" is a great song and one of the most influential songs that spread across the world. It even plays in the end credits.
  12. Amazing special effects and CGI.
  13. The 3D conversion was phenomenal and actually felt like it was filmed in 3D.
  14. During the Titanic disaster, there were no historical inaccuracies, meaning that it's the same of how the actual one in real life did.
  15. Great acting from Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, as well as Billy Zane, Frances Fisher, Kathy Bates and Bill Paxton.
  16. Awesome direction by James Cameron.

Bad Qualities

  1. For a long time now, there has been word Jack could've went on that plank with Rose if she just scooted over. It was even proven by MythBusters themselves. However, Cameron revealed that Jack had to die.
  2. The shot of the Milky Way at the end in the original was lazily mirrored. This was pointed out by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. James Cameron ignored him at first, but then for the 10th anniversary edition, he used him to provide an accurate star map.
  3. The Titanic's sinking was a bit inaccurate:
    • In the movie, the ship went straight down with an even keel and no list when it sank, and reached around a 35-40° angle before splitting between the 3rd and 4th funnels.
    • In reality, Titanic started to list to starboard but then started to list to port and then towards the final plunge returned back to more-or-less an even keel. By the time the ship split, the angle wasn't as high as depicted in the movie.
    • The ship is also said to have actually split between the 2nd and 3rd funnels, in addition to a large section of the ship between the 2nd and 4th funnels including the 3rd funnel breaking away after the ship had split.
  4. There is a missed opportunity where they didn't show the Titanic second funnel falling into the water, which it did happen offscreen.
  5. The movie portrays William Murdoch shoots two passengers then himself.
    • This portrayal was mostly based on unproven rumors and allegations. But in reality, he was seen filling as many lifeboats as possible then heroically going down with the ship. His family and residents of his hometown took great offense seeing their local hero portrayed as a villain and asked for an apology from James Cameron. They got an in-person apology from a Fox executive and the community’s high school foundation in William Murdoch’s name got a considerable donation.
  6. Troubled production: This is possibly the most troubled of productions that Cameron helmed. Many predicted, including Cameron, that the film would be as disastrous as the ship itself before it shattered box office records and swept award shows.
    • Cameron, long fascinated by the story of the Titanic, began working on the film after seeing the 1992 Documentary Titanica and wanting to dive to the wreckage himself. While 20th Century-Fox executives were skeptical about Cameron, who had made his name on action films, pitching an Epic Film that was described as "Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic", they ultimately greenlit the picture. Initially budgeted at $75 million, the (for the time) steep cost made them partner with Paramount on the film to share the burden of costs.
    • Cameron made twelve dives down to the Titanic wreckage to shoot footage, both for research purposes and to use for the film itself. These dives were high-risk; the wreckage rested at a depth of 12,480 feet, a depth only five craft in the world were capable of safely descending to in 1995. Cameron acquired research vessels from Dr. Anatoly Sagalevitch, who only agreed due to the poor economy of Russia at the time. One such dive resulted in a collision between a submersible and the wreck, damaging both.
    • Between the dives and the six months of research he conducted, Cameron became intent on historical authenticity. Gaining access to blueprints long thought lost, the film crew built a set for the Titanic that was nine-tenths the scale of the original, requiring a massive studio complex and water tank be built at the cost of $57 million. Materials and parts were sourced from the original ship manufacturers when possible, and the interiors were exactly reproduced when able, and historians Don Lynch and Ken Marschall were brought in to verify their authenticity. This attention to detail alone drove the film over its budget. The press wasted no time drawing comparisons between the film and Waterworld, which was fresh in many minds as a similarly over-budget, water themed, and chaotic production.
    • Shooting is what cemented Cameron as a Jerkass Control Freak. Stories quickly spread of Cameron terrorizing cast and crew alike, verbally assailing them for the slightest error. (Which led to several crew members half-jokingly stating that Cameron had a psychotic alter ego named "Noremac Mij") Early tests of the final plunge of the ship resulted in so many injuries that Cameron was forced to alter the sequence. Kate Winslet chipped a bone and suffered bruises so impressive that the makeup artists took photos for reference. Illness was also rife on the set, with Cameron keeping cast members in cold waters for entire days of filming at a time. Cameron was unapologetic, going as far as to buy ad space in trade papers to defend himself from the hostile media coverage.
    • Perhaps the most notable incident was when an unknown person laced food with significant amounts of PCP while shooting in Nova Scotia. This resulting in 50 people, including Cameron and Bill Paxton, being hospitalized for overdosing. To this day, it is unknown if it was the result a nearly Deadly Prank, an attempt at murder, a mistake, or any other reason as the culprit was never found.
    • Between pre-production and filming, the film fell so far behind that its release date was pushed back from July to December. The cost for special effects mounted to $40 million, placing the budget at $200 million, (Not counting marketing costs, which some sources estimate at no less than an additional $250 million) making Titanic the most expensive film in history to that point. (Adjusted for inflation, it cost more than the Titanic ship had in 1911) Cameron would cut an entire hour of footage to wrestle the runtime to three hours, but panicking executives demanded an additional hour of cuts, to which an irate Cameron replied: "You want to cut my movie? You're going to have to fire me! You want to fire me? You're going to have to kill me!". Cameron did offer to forfeit his share of the gross income to placate the execs, which was reluntantly accepted.

Reception

Reception

Titanic received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. The film currently holds an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 7.98/10 and a critic consensus that reads "Mostly unqualified try am for James Cameron, who offers a dizzying blend of spectacular visuals and old-fashioned melodrama". Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average, gave the film a score of 75 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert awarded the film with a "two thumbs up". Ebert awarded the film a four out of four stars and described it as "A glorious Hollywood epic" and "well worth the wait". Gene and Roger deemed it as one of their best films of 1997. Despite mostly positive reviews, other reviewers deemed the film as weak, particularly for the dialogue. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times said in his review "What really brings on the tears is Cameron’s insistence that writing this kind of movie is within his abilities. Not only is it not, it is not even close".

Accolades

The movie won 11 Academy Awards out of 14 Academy Award nominations.

Box Office

The movie grossed 2.187 billion dollars worldwide, and it was for a long while, the highest grossing movie of all time until, Avatar (also directed by James Cameron).

Trivia

  • Cinematographer Russell Carpenter was the director of photography for most of the film – but Caleb Deschanel shot the scenes set in the modern day.
  • A new studio with a 17-million-gallon water tank was built for the film in Mexico. It housed a full-scale model of the Titanic with the ability for the ship to tilt for filming the sinking sequences.
  • The hands seen sketching Rose are actually those of director James Cameron.
  • The filmmakers had only one opportunity to shoot the scene where the dome of the Grand Staircase implodes and tons of water floods the entire room, as the entire set and furnishings were destroyed in that single shot.
  • Titanic was the most expensive film ever made at the time. The final production costs were nearly double its original budget. Due to the financial overages, Fox originally thought the movie was going to be a bust – carrying it as a $55 million loss on their books.
  • The film played in theaters so long that Paramount had to send replacement film reels because the theater copies were literally wearing out. After opening wide in theaters on December 19, 1997, Titanic lasted almost 10 months, not closing until Thursday, October 1, 1998.
  • Roughly 150 of the extras were given names and backstories of people who were actually on the Titanic. They were also given a three-hour crash course on how to act like someone from 1912.
  • The door that Rose floats on at the end of the movie is based on an actual piece of a door frame that was recovered from the real Titanic wreckage.
  • If you adjust for inflation to the time the movie was made, the actual Titanic would cost around $150 million, which is $50 million less than what it cost to make the movie.
  • Director James Cameron was so meticulous in recreating the Titanic that he had the davits for lowering the lifeboats made by the same company that made them for the actual ship. He also had 18,000 square feet of carpet for the first-class dining saloon recreated by the same company that had manufactured the original carpet.

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