By now everyone knows the story: Titanic is the most
expensive movie in history and most of the experts predict
it'll sink faster than the real Titanic.
Instead, James Cameron's masterpiece set box-office history
(quickly headed toward $600 Billion domestically - #1 for 15
weeks) and Oscar (tm) history by taking home 11 of the 14
awards for which it was nominated.
Of course teenage girls everywhere will never forgive the
Academy for passing over Leonardo DiCaprio for best actor,
while Kate Winslet's nomination was somewhat suspect.
But Titanic is one of the best films ever created
regardless of any flaws in the actors.
The story is well-developed: If you go to the film just to
see the iceberg hit the ship, you'll have a long wait.
Cameron should be applauded for actually giving his characters
real depth before throwing them into the crisis. Today, most
directors believe (and rightfully so, perhaps) that the movie
audience wants action, action and more action. But to be a good
story, we need to care about the characters, we need to
understand them. Cameron allows us the opportunity to get to
know the characters; not just the main roles, but the smaller
parts like Fabrizio (Danny Nucci), Bruce Ismay (Jonathan Hyde)
and (ship designer) Thomas Andrews (Victor Garber).
But the reason people keep going back to see Titanic
is the story, as played out by the main cast. Rose (Kate Winslet)
and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) meeting and falling in love, before
being torn apart by the tragedy which befalls the ship.
Rose's fiancee, Cal Hockley (played masterfully by Billy Zane)
is an excellent villian, assisted by his 'undertaker of a
manservant' Lovejoy (David Warner). These two have little
redeeming social value, and no tears are shed when Lovejoy
meets his fate on the deck of Titanic, or when we learn of
Hockley's fate after the Crash of '29.
When all is said and done, Titanic is one of the best
films of all-time. It may be early to start to make comparisons
since it has not even left the theater yet, but this is a movie
which will stand the test of time, like Gone With the Wind,
The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca.
In the years to come, Titanic will be the movie by which
all others are compared, much as sci-fi films of the '80's are
measured by Star Wars.
My rating for this film is easy: 10