Watching Titanic on the big screen again, I felt a surge of nostalgia sweep through me. Great movies have a timeless quality to them, and Titanic is nothing if not a great movie. Set against a historical event whose outcome we already knew (the ship sinks!), James Cameron delivered an irresistible love story between free-spirited steerage-class passenger Jack Dawson, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kate Winslet’s Rose DeWitt Bukater, a shackled aristocrat yearning to breathe.
Like Star Wars, and possibly E.T., Titanic is hardly just a film – it’s a pop-cultural phenomenon, an event that took place 15 years ago. And surprisingly, much of it – from those spectacular visual effects to the sheer innocence of its leads – still holds up. The bits that were cheesy in 1997 are still cheesy…like the clunky dialogues that will make you cringe even today, and the caricaturish villain, Cal Hockley (Billy Zane), Rose’s overbearing millionaire fiancé.
By converting the film into 3D for this re-release, Cameron intends for Titanic to be an even more immersive experience. So those scenes of water flooding the compartments, the delicate china falling off shelves, and the ship literally splitting into two feel more real and closer than before.
However, it’s really the storytelling itself that causes goose bumps and brings a lump to your throat. Frankly, if you feel your stomach falling 20 storeys to your toes when Rose threatens to leap off the ship and then almost slips to her death, it’s not because of the 3D, but due to the way Cameron visualized and shot Titanic all those years ago.
Of course, it’s superfluous to rate the film today – Titanic, after all, is still the magnificent cinema-going experience it was a decade and a half ago. 3D or not, movie-lovers will relish this stunning trip down the past…and to re-live that phenomenon on the big screen with your friends all these years later – that’s what makes this Titanic so special.