Haunted Flower’s DVD Review of Titanic


Titanic DVD Review
3 Disc Special Collector’s Edition (1997)

In my youth, I mostly had eyes for Leo. I put away this movie for a long time assuming it was just a teenage phase, but pulling it out again years later just cements its real value.

Titanic was written and directed by James Cameron and was basically his baby for years. This movie won 11 Oscars. This movie tells the story of the tragic sinking of grandest ship ever made on her maiden voyage through the eyes of young lovers from different classes, Jack and Rose played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Again, Kate Winslet is one of my favorite actresses because not only is she amazingly talented, she holds up a standard of a real woman’s appearance, not a anorexic twig. Her portrayl of Rose DeWitt Bukater being forced into a loveless marriage to save her destitute family masquerading that they still have money. Her emotional highs and lows throughout are amazing.

Her fiance, Cal Hockley was played by Billy Zane as one of my favorite uptight villains. His nose is in the stratosphere and he sneers down at everyone below his class, especially the threat to his love life, Jack. I particularly love the scene where he has an opportunity to help Jack and ruthlessly chooses not to, but the magnitude of that decision still brings tears to his eyes.

And of course, Jack Dawson played by Leonardo DiCaprio captured the attention of all females age 13 and up for several years while he wisely went into his shell until his work could again be judged without hormones getting in the way. His character of Jack is instantly likable, charismatic, moving, and if you don’t feel anything for his humanity by the end of the movie and want to save him, your high level of testosterone is probably impeding your judgment. It has been 13 years since this movie came out so it’s much easier to look at it with a clear frame of mind unclouded by gooey-eyes or jealousy.

I love the supporting actors: Bernard Hill as Captain Edward James Smith (years before Theoden in Lord of the Rings), Victor Garber as Thomas Andrews, Kathy Bates as Molly Brown, Frances Fisher as Rose’s Mother, Ruth, and Jonathan Hyde as Bruce Ismay. All have a measure of dignity and grace (except Ismay of course) as they deal with the emergency on board and I really feel like they bring those historic people to life in a way that garners empathy from the audience.

The amazing images of the boat, the scale, the effects all take you completely into the movie, the grandeur and the danger. The music is beautiful although I could do without Celine Dion’s song these days. If you haven’t seen this movie, you live under a rock but it really is an amazing story based on historic events. Many of the events in this movie ACTUALLY happened, just not to fictional characters Jack and Rose. It is a blockbuster, one of the biggest movies of that decade, one of the biggest movies ever really and it propelled all careers of those involved to new heights.

DVD Extras:

After holding out on us for many years, this super deluxe special edition showing all the behind-the-scenes goodies was finally released. This edition has commentary from cast and crew including James Cameron and Kate Winslet (Sorry, no Leonardo DiCaprio). There is also a track of historical commentary commenting on the time period, appearance of the boat, and events that occurred as the movie progresses. If you’re a history buff at all and interested in hearing more about the boat, it is definitely worth a listen. My favorite is that someone was actually scolded for breaking property on the Titanic while it was sinking. In this edition, the sound has been upgraded, the colors are richer, and the picture was anamophically enhanced for widescreen televisions. The only downside is that the movie is split into two discs so you have to get up and change it if you don’t have a multi-disc player.

There are over 45 minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes with optional commentary. One includes the nearby ship California’s reaction to the Titanic distress call. The alternate ending, “Brock’s Epiphany” thankfully was not used. Jack does not live, it’s just really lame. Celine Dion’s music video for “My Heart Will Go On” is included. There are just hundreds and hundreds of on-set photos, personal photos from the cinematographer, storyboard sketches, and technical drawings. There are many featurettes on how certain effects were achieved and what portions of the set were built to scale and which were modeled. A great deal had to be constructed rather than rented since it was going to be destroyed. The construction timplapse is particularly spectacular. The deep dive presentation in full is humbling as you get to see Titanic at the bottom of the sea minus Brock’s rambling. The “Breaking New Ground” TV special does a good overview of the making of the film in a shorter time span, but if you want to see every detail, you probably can with this edition because all the bells and whistles are there…minus Leo.