Latino-Review.com reader ‘Lucky Man Sven’ got a chance to see the upcoming re-releasing of ‘Titanic” but this time around its in 3D.
Written, directed and produced by James Cameron, “Titanic” is the second-highest grossing movie of all time. It is one of only three films to have received a record 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director; and launched the careers of stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
DiCaprio and Winslet light up the screen as Jack and Rose, the young lovers who find one another on the maiden voyage of the “unsinkable” R.M.S. Titanic. But when the doomed luxury liner collides with an iceberg in the frigid North Atlantic their passionate love affair becomes a thrilling race for survival.
So was the 3D conversation any good? Here is what ‘Lucky Man Sven’ had to say:
“We have Titanic on DVD at home, why do you want to go to the movies to see it again?” Those are the words I spoke to my girlfriend when she told me she wanted to check out James Cameron’s megahit movie on the big screen. What I got in return was “the look” which most guys in a relationship are familiar with. Seriously, Titanic is a great movie, but why would anyone want to sit in a theater for over three hours watching something they’ve seen many times over? It’s a question I’m sure most die-hard Star Wars fans have heard and after hearing how bad the new 3D version of Episode I looked, I wanted to get off the sinking ship so to speak.
But my girlfriend found a video online where James Cameron talked about how hard he worked over the past year to convert Titanic to 3D. This wasn’t some rush job like Clash of the Titans, this was a piece of art meticulously supervised by the guy who worked wonders with 3D in Avatar. Since my girlfriend won tickets for a free screening of Titanic 3D here in Minneapolis, I figured it was a cheap date and being that it was Valentine’s Day, she’d be left happy with me killing two birds with one stone.
Truth be told, I got a little intrigued about what Cameron had done after I saw that promo video. I’m not a writer, so rather than give you a review of a film just about everyone is familiar with, I’ll leave that to your people. But I’ve always had an interest in photography and yet with the exception of a handful of films, I’ve always felt 3D to be a gimmick. Nearly fifteen years ago Cameron shot Titanic on Super 35, a film format that’s notorious for featuring grain and yet he’s cleaned up the image so well, there’s hardly any. He’s given Titanic a very clean look that doesn’t feel digital, but if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was shot with the Panavision Genesis or RED camera yesterday.
In fact, I’m rather curious to see how this film looks in its 2D version, which I read online has a new 4K digital master. I’ll wait for the inevitable blu-ray for that version. But I’m not writing to you about how great Titanic looks in 2D. You already know that. I’m writing to you to say the 3D version is a smash success and probably the best post-conversion every assembled. Why wouldn’t it be? Who would doubt James Cameron? Well in all honestly, me and I was wrong. Dead wrong.
“Subtle” doesn’t seem like a word that’s in Cameron’s visual vocabulary, but that’s exactly how the 3D starts out in this film. That infamous opening shot which presents simulated archive footage of Titanic’s launch is actually in 2D, with only the super-imposed opening titles given a stereoscopic effect. As the story takes us deep beneath the ocean the 3D slowly begins to take effect in the opening submersible sequence. Inside of that mini-sub with Bill Paxton, I noticed some visual depth that appropriately gave me a cramped feeling. I was also surprised that Cameron even converted the low-grade video footage of the wreck in 3D, scan lines and all.
Titanic is a love story and a disaster movie, but it’s also about relationships. Cameron uses the 3D to establish spatial relationships and you truly get a sense of that whenever two people are talking in a scene and the camera is shooting over the shoulder of one of them.
The 3D doesn’t always work, but whenever it fails, the process isn’t to blame, it’s usually the dated visual f/x. Ninety percent of the visual f/x in Titanic are on point. They look incredibly realistic and hold up better than many films made today. But where an f/x shot was lacking in 1997, it looks kinda funky in 3D.
During the scene where Jack and Rose first meet as she’s ready to jump from the aft of the ship in a suicide attempt, I got a bit of vertigo from a few shots. But then there are some funky bluescreen shots of Kate Winslet in that scene that don’t look good in 3D. When she’s in the foreground ready to jump from the railing, Winslet’s face and body have dimension while DiCaprio, in the background extending his hand looks rather flat.
For the most part, the 3D conversion in this film works. I especially enjoyed it during the sunlit daytime scenes on deck and in the bowels of the ship where we see those giant pistons move up and down. Then there is the final death throes of the ship which looks spectacular in 3D, 2D, any way you slice it.
The good thing about this film is that it still holds up. Yes, it’s an hour and fifty minutes of drama followed by an hour of peril with at least a twenty minute set-up, but if you haven’t seen the movie in a while, you might find yourself slowly getting pulled back in like I did. Whether or not it was the 3D, I don’t know, but it did expand my experience. Titanic is not the greatest movie ever made and even if you’re not a fan, you have to acknowledge the visual, acting, and technical achievement it is. The movie was made during an era where Hollywood just didn’t make films this big anymore and in a way they still don’t. Look at it this way: if you’re a guy and you find your girl twisting your arm to see this, it’s not a torturous experience. Okay, maybe your ass will be sore after three and a half hours, but your eyes or brain won’t bleed like those sappy Nicolas Sparks movies usually do for us guys. The movie and the new 3D are a marvel and together they work. They really work.
If you use this piece, call me Lucky Man Sven (The guy who Leo won his ticket on Titanic from in a card game in case you were wondering).
“Titanic 3D” will open 3D/2D theaters and IMAX on April 4, 2012.