Titanic (1997)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson in Titanic

The Titanic Tale of Jack and Rose

o "Titanic", once the biggest grossing box office movie of all time, a movie that has legions of devotees, a movie that garnered huge amounts of press coverage during its making and a movie which attempts to bring to life that fateful voyage of the famous White Star liner whilst combining it with a love story. What do I think? Well at the time of release I thought "Titanic" was great and saw it numerous times on the big screen, sucking in the luscious sets and underwater footage. But these days, well "Titanic" is not as great as I remembered it and although it is undoubtedly entertaining and still undoubtedly enjoyable I have to say it is good but not great.

For those who somehow have not seen "Titanic" the movie revolves around Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio - Marvin's Room) and Rose (Kate Winslet - The Holiday) two passengers on the fateful ship who live at two ends of the social spectrum. Jack is a free flowing spirit who enjoys life despite not having any money, in fact he won his ticket in a poker game, whilst Rose is a well to do young woman, engaged to marry the rich and successful Cal (Billy Zane - Only You), something that pleases her well to do mother. When all the social conformity gets too much for Rose she tries to take her own life only for Jack to step in and save her, so blossoms a romantic friendship which brings them under the scrutiny of both Cal and Rose's mother. Whilst all this is going on the unsinkable Titanic heads for disaster as it collides with an iceberg.

Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic

As movies go "Titanic" certainly has plenty going on, starting off there is the previously never seen footage of the sunken liner as it lies on the bed of the ocean. These certainly are impressive and a contrived story about insurers searching the wreckage for an extremely valuable diamond is a nice intro to the main story. At times this does all feel a little too Hollywood with tenuous links but it works and stops "Titanic" from just being a stiff period drama.

But then after all this you really get into the meat of "Titanic" and that is the relationship between Jack and Rose as well as the unfortunate collision with an iceberg which lead to it sinking. As romantic storylines go that of Jack and Rose is pretty enjoyable and with the number of devotees still proclaiming "Titanic" as the greatest romance of all time it certainly can't be bad. The thing is that it is all so unbelievable and completely manufactured that it does feel a little laughable when watched now. The thing is there is no way that a relationship between Jack and Rose would have firstly happened and secondly moved so quickly. But even so it works in the context of the movie and definitely draws you in to the story, making you feel for both of the characters.

Then of course you have the actual sinking and this is also a little disappointing because it never makes a stance as to who was to blame. Was it an accident, was it negligence, should there have been better safety plans, none of these are ever explored or answered. Instead it uses the sinking as a vehicle to give the romantic storyline an action/ disaster element. It works and the sinking is visually impressive with many scenes which leave a lasting impression on you. Couple all the action with the very impressive sets and "Titanic" is a visually pleasing movie that deserves the numerous accolades which it got for visual effects. It's just a shame that it never digs into exactly why.

Performance wise well despite good performances from the likes of Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher as well as Gloria Stewart "Titanic" belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Jack and Rose. Although I have doubts as to the authenticity of the characters and that the romance between two so socially divided passengers would never happen there is no denying that they are completely convincing as lovers. There are many scenes between the two where the sexual chemistry literally flies off the screen and it is this which makes "Titanic" stand out as being better than average.

Combine all of this with a soundtrack which is as nearly as famous as the actual movie for the song "My Heart Will Go On" sung by warbler Celine Dion as well as the wonderful pieces by James Horner and you have a very memorable movie.

What this all boils down it is that for me all those years later after first watching "Titanic" I have to say that "Titanic" is still a good movie, just not as enchanting as I remember it. Undeniably the romantic storyline works even thought it all feels so contrived and "Titanic" is certainly a hugely visually impressive movie which still has that wow factor. But as the years go by "Titanic" looses that little bit of magic which made it such a crowd pleaser when it was originally released.