There are very few things in this life that I hate. Inequality, violence, and talking in the cinemas rank highly in the very short list, but sitting atop the list, like an eviction notice written on a pile of cow dung on the welcome mat of my life, is Titanic.
Now, I get that this may seem extreme, it is not, after all the worst film in execution, it at least looks nice some ties and makes sense, but it is not that which makes me hate it, it’s what it represents.
To me, Titanic is a representation of everything wrong with cinema. An emphasis on visual effects over story, cardboard cut-out characters, and a marketing budget roughly equivalent to the GDP of Belgium. It astounds me that this film was ever the highest-grossing film of all time, but I shall save my frustration for the main bulk of the review, let’s get the over with.
On the doomed maiden voyage of HMS Titanic, an unlikely romance blossoms between Rose (Kate Winslet) a first-class passenger, and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) a third-class passenger. Will their forbidden love take flight before the comparisons to Romeo and Juliet can be established, or more likely when the boat finally, and mercifully, sinks?
In case you couldn’t tell by that incredibly sarcastic synopsis, I find this whole film incredibly tedious.
The story of the Titanic is interesting enough in and of itself, it’s a perfect example of the ‘Icarus flight’ someone with high ambitions comes crashing down, and there’s plenty of mileage in that, but no, let’s go for the D-grade romance novel instead, shall we?
I don’t know what’s more annoying, the fact that they wheeled out this tired cliché, or the fact that it worked, and millions of people paid their hard-earned money to see people with the depth of a teaspoon and charismas of a balloon with a smiley face drawn on it try and fail to stay alive long enough to be compared to Romeo and Juliet.
It’s so aggressively dull that when the ship finally gets around to sinking, I couldn’t care less. Hell, I want it to sink just so I don’t have to watch this film anymore, I find myself cackling with glee as people fall into the propellers, and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intended reaction. But when all of your deaths are like the ‘what happens next’ freeze frame on You’ve Been Framed, then you’ve definitely done something wrong.
So, let’s get ‘round to the characters, shall we? There’s Jack and Rose, who only count as characters if a shop-window dummy counts as a supermodel, there’s Rose’s mum, who’s a walking cliché of ‘rich Victorian-era woman’ right down to the ridiculously large hat, and Rose’s fiancé, who is such a massive twat that the Eiffel Tower could use him as a sex aid. These characters all have explosive chemistry, in the way that I badly want to see them all dissolved in acid.
I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying that we all went to see the story of the ship, not the story of two emotionless automatons learning what love is. Yet it takes so long to get to that it’s hardly worth bothering, when I would much rather be watching a boat sinking, rather than sit through another minute of your predictable romance plot, I’d say some re-evaluation was needed.
How about direction? Well, I say direction, I really mean animation, as most of the film isn’t really there. Jim Cameron has a knack for this, and I feel sorry for his actors. All the years of training to emotionally connect with their characters and others, and now they have to go pretend to be on a boat in front of a green screen. Aside from that though, the sets they do use can be quite nice, so good job there.
Also, to stop this review from basically being a tirade against the film, I should probably note some positives. You have to admire the dedication put into making the Titanic look as authentic as possible at least, Cameron actually led expeditions down to the boat itself, an angle which was used in the final film, and I find looking at the wreck on the ocean floor much more interesting than the low grade Mills and Boon romance plot.
In the end though, dedication will only get you so far, yes Cameron re-created a pretty damn spot-on re-creation of the Titanic, but he also created a phenomenally tedious film, with characters straight out of the oldest cliché book in the business, and plot lifted wholesale from the works of Catherine Cookson, it’s a film I wish would join its namesake at the bottom of the ocean for all eternity.