Review: Titanic 3D

(This review was originally posted on February 16th, and was a Valentine’s Day screening)

PLOT: TITANIC is an epic love story of star-crossed lovers on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. When a young drifter named Jack wins passage on the ship with a lucky hand in poker, he and his mate set sail for America. Along the journey he meets Rose, a beautiful debutante he saves from jumping into the icy cold waters below. Little do they know that the massive vessel is about to become a dark page in history. After hitting a massive iceberg, the ship quickly takes on water and begins its fateful decent into the freezing cold depths of the Atlantic. Near, far, wherever they are, will the young lover’s hearts go on?

REVIEW: Nearly one hundred years ago, on April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic went down. What was thought to be an unsinkable ship sank to the bottom of the ocean sending 1,517 passengers and crew to their deaths. This tragedy has been portrayed in television and feature films including both 1958’s A NIGHT TO REMEMBER and of course, the Academy Award winning feature film by James Cameron simply called TITANIC. And on Valentine’s Day, we were invited to witness the 3D presentation, featuring the restored and enhanced audio and a digitally re-mastered picture.

The evening began with a reception that included a string quartet. Sure they may not be playing a final swan song on a sinking ship, but it was a nice touch. Aside from that you were given the opportunity to take a photo with “Jack and Rose” (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s characters) or get a caricature drawn of yourself. They even offered the audience a chance to talk to a camera crew afterwards to express their excitement of the film afterwards. Clearly this was a celebration for something that the studio is very excited about, as we all know how disappointing post conversion 3D generally leaves moviegoers.

Once inside the sold out screening, there was more in store for the event. The Los Angeles based radio station KOST 103.5 and the morning show talent of Mark and Kristin came out to offer a prize to the best couple. Several audience members were decked out in tuxedos and formal wear hoping for a hundred dollar prize. The truth is, this type of audience participation never sits well with me, especially when it involves slightly obnoxious disc jockeys. Generally the chatter of radio DJ’s building an event up feels forced and insincere. Yet the outcome ended up to be a fine romance when a lovely older couple won the award. The two were celebrating their 54th anniversary together, a real life Jack and Rose with a much happier ending. Now THAT is unabashedly romantic and beautiful.

After all the bells and whistles, the movie began. The love story of a striking well-to-do young woman named Rose (Winslet) as she falls in love with the penniless yet handsome young man named Jack (DiCaprio) began. The extravagant set with the still impressive special effects remains a dazzling mix of technology and cinema. While the dialogue has a few moments that feel a tad too melodramatic, it in no way weakens the visual feast of it all. My biggest problem with the film then – and now – is the casting of Billy Zane and his utterly obnoxious character. As Rose’ fiancé, he just reeks of soap worthy passion with an occasional moment of truth. Even still, TITANIC remains a powerful force well deserving of the eleven Academy Awards it received.

As talented a filmmaker as James Cameron is, the idea of releasing TITANIC in post conversion 3D seemed ludicrous. While certainly the sinking of the ship might make for a visual treat, the phrase “cash grab” seemed appropriate. In many ways – with the overblown hype from the original release – the idea of experiencing the film again looked to be a bit of a chore. Yet, in this very rare case, the 3D technology improves on what is one of the greatest motion pictures ever made. With or without the magic of celebrating Valentine’s Day with this feature, TITANIC holds up phenomenally well. It is an inspired romance that may drift into melodrama, but the love story more than ever seemed timeless and universal.

As dreadful as another post conversion of a blockbuster may sound, this is as good as it gets. TITANIC 3D is a welcome return to this classic love story. James Cameron’s epic creation shines and visually, audibly, it is a stunning achievement, without the usual trappings of conversion. All low expectations and doubts can be thrown overboard thanks to what is most assuredly a perfect way to spend Valentines, or any other day for that matter.

Review: Titanic 3D




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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.