tek's rating

Titanic (PG-13)
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This came out in 1997. I feel like I may have seen this in a theater at the time, but I can't remember for sure. If not, I must have seen it sometime soon thereafter, on VHS or something. Anyway, it got a bunch of awards, and it was the highest-grossing film ever, at the time. I also suspect it might be the first time I became aware of the name James Cameron, the film's writer, director, and producer; although I'd surely seen some of his movies before this. At least I think it was the first time I would remember it. Of course I also remember the theme song, "My Heart Will Go On," by Celine Dion, which became a huge hit, itself. And I remember liking the movie, but I don't really recall how much I liked it, when I first saw it. As for the plot itself, I just remembered basically that it was framed in the present with a salvage team using submersibles to explore the wreckage of the Titanic, and in particular they were looking for an extraordinarily valuable blue diamond, "The Heart of the Ocean." But the main story is set in 1912, during the ship's infamous maiden voyage. It was a love story between a young American artist named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a (formerly) wealthy British woman named Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet). Though I'd be lucky if I could have remembered their names beyond "Jack & Rose"; I certainly didn't remember any other characters or actors. So I was a bit surprised how many actors in the movie were familiar to me when I watched it again on DVD in 2017. (Though maybe some of them wouldn't have been familiar to me in 1997, anyway.) Speaking of the DVD... the movie is over three hours long (a fact that I didn't remember), and it's split between two discs. It's pretty damn rare that I have to watch two discs to see a single movie. (I ended up watching it over two nights.) Oh, I also wanted to mention an episode of Futurama that parodied this movie. Oh oh, and I just remembered that sometime probably around the time the movie came out, I bought a CD from a bookstore that had... I think it was the kind of music that supposedly was played on the Titanic, but as far as I recall the CD wasn't actually associated with the movie in any way. And I don't think I have it anymore, though I don't know what I would have done with it.

Well, the head of the salvage team in the present was Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton). His team dredged up a safe from the wreckage, but the diamond wasn't in it. However, they did find a (nude) sketch of a young woman wearing the diamond on a necklace. They put the picture on the news, and it was seen by a 100-year-old woman named Rose Calvert (played by 87-year-old Gloria Stuart, who was made up to look older). She calls Lovett and tells him she's the woman in the sketch. So he has her and her granddaughter, Lizzy, flown out to his ship, where she tells him and his team her story. (It's also the first time Lizzy has heard about any of this.)

Jack has no money to speak of, and lives a nomadic lifestyle. On the day the Titanic is to depart England, he and his Italian friend, Fabrizio, win two third-class tickets in a poker game. Meanwhile, Rose is traveling with her mother, Ruth (Frances Fisher), as well as Rose's fiance, Cal Hockley (Billy Zane). They're also traveling with a man named Spicer Lovejoy (David Warner). The first time I saw him, I assumed he was Rose's father, but actually he's a guy who works for Cal. (We eventually learn that Ruth is a widow, and her late husband left them with no money, which is why she is anxious for her daughter to marry the wealthy Cal.) But Cal's not a particularly good guy, and he's certainly not a good match for Rose, who feels repressed by her high society upbringing. So it comes as no surprise that when she meets Jack, it doesn't take too long for them to start liking each other. (I won't spoil exactly how they meet, but it's rather dramatic.)

Beyond that, I'm not sure how many details of the plot I want to reveal. I should say the scene where Jack sketches Rose is rather memorable. And the scene in the automobile. And then the ship brushes past an iceberg. At first the damage seemed relatively minor, to me. But what do I know? It was actually pretty serious. The ship starts taking on water, and while it will be some time before the passengers are aware of any danger, the crew is aware. Particularly the captain, Edward Smith, and the ship's builder, Thomas Andrews (Victor Garber). And... I guess there were a lot of actual historical characters in the movie, most of whom are of no importance to me. They include, of course, Captain Smith and Mr. Andrews. There's also Molly Brown (Kathy Bates), and John Jacob Astor IV (whose role was very minor, and notable in my mind only because I was amused to see Eric Braeden of "The Young and the Restless" in the movie). Anyway... of course there's a lot of frantic chaos as the ship is sinking. And there's the band just playing as if everything was normal. And there's a lot of drama and tragedy and whatnot. Though I should say that throughout the film there are humorous moments, including during the sinking. But mostly drama.

So, yeah, I remembered a few things. One happened early in the film, Jack famously standing at the ship's bow and shouting "I'm the king of the world!", which everyone remembers. But what I didn't remember was that he did this while still hanging out with Fabrizio, before meeting Rose. If you'd asked me before I rewatched the movie, I wouldn't have remembered that Fabrizio even existed, and would have assumed Rose was present. And I remembered the sketch and the automobile and later Rose lying on some flotsam while Jack hangs off the edge of it. And I remembered what becomes of the Heart of the Ocean, at the end of the movie. That's about it. But I'm really glad to have seen the whole movie again, so I can remember more details, and realize just how amazing it all is. The story itself, the acting, the production values, the drama, the humor, everything. It's awesome.

Oh also, I wanted to say that while watching the movie (or actually while taking a short break) I thought to myself of Old Rose, "she's a pistol." And a bit later when I got back to the movie, Molly Brown said of Young Rose, "She's a pistol." I rather doubt this was some 20-year-old buried memory on my part. Just an amusing coincidence. But it's true, though. Rose really is an awesome character, and I'm tempted to include her on my badass women page. Not as a fighter, but just as a badass human being. But I guess I won't. At least I had to mention I considered it. (Also, the funniest thing in the movie happens early on, when Old Rose has a line that exactly mirrors an earlier line by Brock.)

ETA: In early 2018, I read an article called The Much Better Movie Hiding in 'Titanic'. I'm not sure whether I'd necessarily call it a better movie (though it very well could be), but I definitely think it's an intriguing take on the movie.


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