Cameron cemented his position as the king of 3D with the as yet unparalleled Avatar. His masterful use of the technology displayed its true potential to completely surround and engulf the audience into the film’s remarkable world. For that reason, Titanic 3D should be a re-release to genuinely look forward to. It’s a chance to see the classic epic back on the big screen delivered with a stamp of 3D approval from Cameron himself.
Though it seems rather extraneous to outline the plot as there are few who are unfamiliar with the film, Titanic is a tragic disaster movie by nature, but at its heart lies a love story in its most classic form.. Rose (Kate Winslet) is a 17-year old girl who is unwillingly engaged to the wealthy Cal (Billy Zane) and deemed to live an unfulfilling life amongst the American elite. Jack (Leonardo Di Caprio) meanwhile, is a poor artist who finds himself on the ship after winning his ticket in a game of poker. Brought together as Jack talks a suicidal Rose out of jumping off the ship’s stern, they fall deeply in love and vow to leave together as soon as the ship docks. The rest, as they say, is history.
Titanic is a spectacle in the truest sense of the word. At the time of its initial release, the special effects were unprecedented and are still considered as some of the greatest achievements in cinematic history. Despite the seams that inevitably begin to show after 15 years, the sheer grandeur of the production coupled with the timelessness of the romantic tale disguise its age and make it almost impossible for Titanic to appear dated (although its few wrinkles are revealed, with the once grand CGI sweep of the ship appearing more archaic than ever). While the love story that has been woven into Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage is relatively simple, it is a testament to classic melodrama and works devastatingly well alongside the greater human tragedy. And, despite its 194 minute running time, there is never a dull moment as Cameron finds the perfect balance between Jack and Rose’s budding romance and the horrifying demise of the ship.
Titanic’s 3D conversion, though, is completely unspectacular. That isn’t to say that it’s badly done, but there are only a handful of scenes that actually benefit from the extra dimension. The shot of water crashing down the corridor as the ship is almost fully under, as well as some of the vertiginous scenes where passengers contemplate jumping off the ship stand out in particular, and while the 3D does create the desired illusion of tangibility in the opening wreckage sequence, for the most part, it is indistinct and pretty pointless.
Titanic made history with its gargantuan budget, its record-breaking box office success and its 11 Oscar wins, and rightly so as it is a rare gem amongst most blockbuster drivel that will be welcomed back into cinemas with open arms and heavy hearts. The 3D passes mostly unnoticed, with Jim Cameron wisely preferring a more restrained approach to the conversion so as to not distract from the emotional weight of the film. What this re-release mostly goes to show, though, is that Titanic remains one of the greatest cinematic experiences in recent memory and probably doesn’t need the trendy makeover to enjoy a second box office success, which it most certainly will.