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Movie Review: Titanic

by Dan Gunderson

Once a week, I review a movie that I had previously not viewed. It could be a new one or an old one. It does not matter. What does matter is that you read and enjoy this simple blog post from a movie geek.

Where do I being with this? For starters, the movie I am reviewing is Titanic. Yes, the 1997 James Cameron epic romantic movie about the sinking of the unsinkable ship. Yes, I realize that while you read this you scoff at the fact that I am just getting around to watching this movie.

Let me explain a couple things so you can understand why I waited 16 years to view one of the world’s highest grossing films of all time. First, I come from a very conservative household. If the movie was rated higher than PG and it included anything sexual in it, I wasn’t going to be seeing it. In 1997, I was only 8-years-old. No chance I was watching this movie.

Second, by the time I was “of age” to watch the film, I didn’t care. Big ship sank in 1912 and I am watching three hours of this why? Pass the popcorn, pop in James Bond and let Mr. Dawson float into obscurity. I don’t care about your love story Rose.

Finally, as I grew up, I found myself enjoying any movie I could get my hands on. Bad, good, Indie, action, romance, whatever. I didn’t matter to me. I wanted to watch it. I also found that the American Film Institute (AFI) had put out a list in 1997, and later a revised one in 2007, on their Top 100 Films of All-Time .

Naturally, I gravitated towards this list and made it a mission in life to watch every single movie on this list. Up until this past week, I had viewed 80 of the top 100. Titanic was listed at number 83 on this list. It was time to sit down and watch this bad boy.

The movie came in two DVDs and I decided to watch the first one before I went out of town on Saturday. This wasn’t a well thought through plan because those evil geniuses that split this movie up decided to stop it right after the ship hit the iceberg.

With the ship’s fate essentially decided, the DVD tells you to pop in disc 2. My reaction was to laugh at their joke and then become upset because I was hooked on the story. I knew the conclusion, obviously, but I wanted to see how director and writer James Cameron was going to reach it.

Once I got back into the movie on Sunday night, I started to think about the main actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Both of these two are 22-years-old at this point and relatively unknown actors. DiCaprio’s biggest movie to this point was probably Romeo + Juliet while Winslet’s was Sense and Sensibility.

They both are amazing, especially Winslet in her playing of the character Rose DeWitt Bukater. Rarely do I find myself wanting to feel something the character in the movie is going through but Rose’s love for Jack was unreal. It made you feel that Winslet was actually in love with DiCaprio off screen.

The acting was great, the depiction of the sinking of the ship was epic and the way the actors reacted to water hitting their bodies while in the ship was bad. The water that night was about 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Rose reacted to it as if it was wading into a pool. No gasping or instant shivering. (You’re right. I am grasping at straws here. So what?)

In the end, I am glad I waited 16 years to see this movie. I would have disliked it if I would have seen it at a young age. In the time between 1997 and now, I have learned to appreciate history and how history is depicted in film. While the love story is completely fictional, the way the ship went down and the way the casualties occurred is authentic.

When reading about the production of this movie after watching it, I found out that Cameron went to great lengths to ensure accuracy with the ship and the events of the night the ship sank. As a movie geek, I appreciated that attention to detail. Throwing in an amazing, yes amazing, love story made the film that much better.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go watch about a million action movies so I can remember that dudes don’t like romances! Ahh, who am I kidding. My heart will go on Rose!!!