From even the filming of this epic about the sinking of the famous ship there were predictions that it would be as big a disaster as the Titanic. A huge budget and a seemingly overambitious director and there were whisperings…um, make that shouts from the top of the Hollywood Hills that this film would be a flop. With such a huge budget for the day it was easy to jump on that bandwagon. How could it possibly make money? Well, director James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens) proved himself to be wiser than us all. He showed his astuteness by casting the virtually unknown duo of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as the two young leads, he did not focus on the disaster aspect of the story alone, but made it a love story a la Romeo and Juliet on the water and he basically used every kind of technology available to him at the time to capture the story realistically.
101-year-old Rose DeWitt Bukater (Gloria Stuart – The Invisible Man, The Million Dollar Hotel) is brought by her granddaughter, Lizzy (Suzy Amis – The Usual Suspects, Blown Away), aboard a ship that is searching for a rare diamond that was reputedly aboard the Titanic when it sunk. She encouraged by the leader of the expedition, Brock Lovett ( Bill Paxton – Apollo 13, Twister), to tell her tale as a survivor of the sinking.
What she enthralls the entire crew of expedition and her granddaughter with is the tale of the love story of Rose (Kate Winslet – The Reader, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio – Revolutionary Road, Inception). Rose was a young girl from a privileged background who was on the ship with her mother (Frances Fisher – Unforgiven, House of Sand and Fog) and her fiancé, Cal Hockley (Billy Zane – Back to the Future, The Phantom). Jack is a poor young man, who won his ticket on the maiden voyage of the reputedly unsinkable Titanic in a poker game.
Rose feels trapped by the life that lays before her and longs for freedom. Jack is a budding artist who has traveled the world. He doesn’t have two nickels to rub together but his life is filled with adventure. Rose takes a risk and throws away a wealthy life for love. She and Jack have fallen in love. Rose is turning her back on the life chosen for her for one she wants.
All this is going on as the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink. Now Jack and Rose are fighting to stay alive.
James Cameron has made a good old fashioned Hollywood epic. Huge music, huge sets, 2,000 extras, and plenty of story. It was a great film for the whole family and one that people of varying generations could enjoy. He also managed to make a believable recreation of the ship and its sinking. Obviously the man knew the story of the ship inside and out and paid attention to all the details. This translated to the screen and allowed viewers to immerse themselves completely in the story. Cameron was able to do what most believed to be impossible.
Neither Winslet or DiCaprio were big stars at the time of the filming. So a 19-year-old girl carried the weight of a huge film on her shoulders. The movie is hers and she turns in a marvellous performance. Whereas DiCaprio became a heartthrob due to the film, Winslet became a respected actor. She went on to be nominated for an Oscar Award for her performance.
The tension in the film does not come from whether the ship will sink and if people will die as you know that will happen from the beginning. Strangely, the emotion comes from the fact that you do know the ending. People connected with it on such a huge level that they went to see it numerous times.
-Titanic: The Final World With James Cameron
-Reflections on Titanic
-Behind the Scenes
-Deep Dive Presentation Narrated by James Cameron
-$200,000,001: A Ship’s Odyssey (The Titanic Crew Video)
-Music Video “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion