The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Reel Love: Titanic

In the weekend edition of Reel Love, I review a popular movie I have never seen. First up: “Titanic.”

TITANIC (1997)

When the credits rolled, all I could think was “OH MY, that just happened.”

(Well, that, and “I have to use the bathroom”, because the movie was so long I had to stop halfway and put in ‘Cassette 2.'”)

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Now, in my opinion, there are primarily two types of movies that will cause that reaction.

There are those that are just so well-crafted, so ingenious, or so astoundingly original that you just have to sit in awe for minutes after the final frames to soak it all in.

And then there are those that try so hard, invoke so many emotions, are filled with such adrenaline, and are just so gosh-darn earnest that you can’t help being moved.

Movies like “Memento”, or “Adaptation”, fall into the former category. For some people, I’m sure “Titanic” falls into this category as well. But for me, it settled slowly into the latter.

But that doesn’t mean I hated it. In fact, I think I would HATE to hate this movie. It would be like hating “Braveheart,” or “Gladiator” (although, yes, those movies are much more awesome than “Titanic”). There’s just no point in being such a soulless robot. Sure, I can pick it apart. I can criticize the dialogue, and the almost-sickening earnestness of DiCaprio’s performance. I can find fault in the characters’ motives (why did Cal think everything was going to work with Rose?). I can be utterly bored by the ‘present-day’ portions of this movie. And I can most definitely be really angry that Rose wouldn’t share her flotation device with Jack and then still complain she was cold, while he was freezing to death in the water!

This movie is far from perfect in many ways. But does this nitpicking take away from the sheer spectacle that is “Titanic?” I don’t think so.

Just like the original ship, this movie is just that – a spectacle. It is pure sensationalized entertainment. If the love story doesn’t pull you under, the manipulative screams and the drowning children will (should I have warned there would be spoilers)? The ship sinks people -now you know!). And if you are STILL unmoved, then at least be dazzled by the best special effects of the 90s.

This movie was made to be seen in theaters, and theaters were made for movies like this. It is entertainment in its purest form.

The very first “films” ever made were not intricate, cynical pieces of mastermind. No, they were short, simple and provocative: a women twirling, a man being sprayed by a garden hose, a child playing in the sand. Things that made people laugh or sigh. Things that evoked emotion. Not every movie can be “Dr. Strangelove,” or “Citizen Kane.” And not every movie should be. Sometimes we just need a little “Titanic” in our lives.

Next up on Reel Love:

The next film up for review will be “Renaissance,” which is showing next weekend on campus.

For the weekend edition, I’ll be reviewing another film I have somehow managed to never see: a Stallone movie. Should I see “Rocky” or “Rambo”? Thoughts?

Observations while watching “Titanic:”

Titanic poster

I would imagine most people saw this movie under different circumstances. I’m sitting by myself in a basement watching a copy on VHS. At some point I’ll have to actually get up and switch from cassette one to cassette two.

– This is not how I pictured this movie starting. No wonder it’s so long.

– Hey, it’s King Theoden!

– WHAT? Jack is from Chippewa Falls? He went ice fishing on Lake Wissota. What a small, small world.

– I just checked to see when Lake Wissota was built, and Jack is a liar. The Titanic sank in 1912; the lake was finished in 1917. Now I know that this film might not be completely historically accurate.

– Is it just me or does Jack seem much younger than Rose?

– I looked it up on IMDB: DiCaprio is one year older than Winslet. Odd, considering I keep expecting the cast of the Newsies to show up and have a sing-a-long with Jack.

– All these people died on my birthday. That’s humbling.

– Did anyone else think for a moment that “Titanic” was actually some psychological thriller and that Jack was in Rose’s head the whole time? There is a suspicious absence of any record of Jack on the ship. Sorry, I’ll stop now.

-I walked away from “Titanic” in the same way that I walked away from “Avatar”: thinking, “What a spectacle.” But I think I liked “Titanic” more. The difference? “Titanic” never tried to be anything more than the biggest romance-drama-disaster flick you’ve ever seen, whereas “Avatar” seems to have all kinds of messages and agendas.

– Watching “Titanic” so soon after “American Beauty” was quite interesting. They are opposites in almost every way possible, but they both won Oscars in the late 90s, including a win each for Best Picture.

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Reel Love: Titanic