Sunday, January 2, 2011

We are dressed in our best and are prepared to go down as gentlemen. But, we would like a brandy.

No 336 - Titanic
Director - James Cameron

This is the only time I ever went to the cinema, where the film had an interval... I hadn't seen it since I saw it at the cinema, and much to my surprise, it was far better than I had ever given it credit for. I think the problem was the HYPE around the film.... and the general girlyness. To an 11 or 12 year old boy, it didn't hold much appeal. But....second time round, it deserves a bit more praise.

However.....
When I talk about James Cameron, I feel like in recent years (or, his last 2 motion pictures, over a decade apart) he has become more about scale and spectacle than the actual story.
I mean, Avatar really doesn't deserve the heaps of praise which has been piled onto it. Yes, it is beautiful.... yes, the CGI is incredible and yes Pandora is a brilliantly well designed world which felt real, living and breathing and marvellous.... but the story is basically just Ferngully. Cameron's interests (and indeed his triumph) was in designing a living breathing ecosystem. A planet, which despite the utter ludicrous nature of it... felt real. It it the Art of Avatar which is the real triumph.
And so it is the same with Titanic. Lets be honest... the story is tosh and the acting is largely rubbish. But the SPECTACLE is epic. Mainly down to the fact that Cameron spent about 12 bazillion pounds making a replica Titanic just for his own chuckles.

The film is really split into two parts (well 3 if we include the bookends with the spritliest 100 year old in the world - Gloria Stuart actually managed to live to 100 too RIP) - A lurve story for the ladies and a disaster film for the chaps (that, at least, is how I imagine it was marketed). The love story is there to build the relationships but it just shows how poor the acting is, with maybe the exception of a fiendishly young looking DiCaprio who shows he can act really. It does have an IMDB-checking bonanza of recognisable faces though.

Also can we point out Ioan Gruffud - who shows himself as a TRUE HERO in this film, despite him having very little to do for most of it.
And of course Billy Zane being an utter evil git. Hoorah.

So we can watch lots of people walk about in the stifled restrictions of class.... There is some rumpy pumpy and there is some nudity (quite controversial in a 12 I'd imagine, but maybe not - I do think Winslett is a bit of a naughty anyway...). However during this, Bernard Hill (playing Captain Birdseye - the face of this blog) walks around looking stern and for the next 2 hours or so we watch the ship very slowly sink.

Generally, this film is:
  • too long
  • unexcitingly plotted
  • badly acted
  • badly scripted
  • has the most annoyingly saccharine 'dying' coda in a film ever

and yet, it is almost all forgiven for the sheer scale of his creation. Whether we're travelling through the fully functioning Titanic going from 1st class to boiler room, or whether we're watching his creation sink and crumble, it is an impressive feat. It allows Cameron to make some truly remarkable imagery and it allows him to show the full impact of what is a terrible tragic disaster.

But.... the film isn't really that good. And I was mainly excited about watching this awesome Leo Mash Up again.... any excuse to promote it.