Posted by: LucidMystery | November 1, 2008

Well, the Ship Still Sank

Celine Dion is done singing, and the credits just finished rolling. And you know what? No matter how many time I watch that movie, the ending is always the same. Rose still spits marvelously in Cal’s face and the ship still sinks. I guess some things just never change.

I may have hit the craze about a decade too late, but a year or so ago, I fell in love with the movie Titanic. (Was it really that long ago? 1997, dang) When the movie actually came out in theaters, I was only 12–definitely too young to understand the subtleties behind decisions that the characters made. All I knew was that Jack was reasonably better looking than Cal (I wasn’t a big Leo fan, even then), and Cal seemed like a jerk. Of course, I knew that the sinking of the Titanic was a terrible tragedy, but the lady sitting next to me in the theater was bawling so hard she gave herself an asthma attack (I kid you not, wheezing, sniffling, gasping, sobbing, and inhaler-ing). Now how is a 12 year supposed to get into the emotion of the film with all that going on right next to her? Simple answer, I didn’t.

Flash forward to junior year of college when I watch the movie again for some reason. All of a sudden, Rose’s internal fight against Cal makes sense for more reasons than his bad temper, the reality of the deaths of 1500 people strikes a chord, and Jack seduces me a little. All of a sudden, I fell in love with Titanic like those crazy 16 year old girls who saw the movie 73 times in theaters. Now it doesn’t matter if I have watched it start to finish or just jumped in the middle, I still cry uncontrollably when the mom is putting her kids to bed and the old couple are hugging as the water rises around them. And I can hardly bear the wistful beauty of Rose finally meeting Jack again by the clock in the end.

I remember being annoyed at how many Oscars Titanic picked up back in the day. When James Cameron accepted Best Picture and yelled “I’m the king of the world!” I was just completely disgusted. Who needed to see a depressing movie about two star-crossed lovers (one of whom freezes in an 80 degree pool in a Hollywood set, I was very indignant) who never really can be together until after an old lady chucks the world’s most valuable piece of jewelry into the Atlantic? I didn’t understand the poetic magic of that move…come to think of it, though, I still would have kept the necklace or at least left it somewhere for the granddaughter to find.

From a movie critics standpoint, Titanic was a spectacular film. Very well acted (ok, a couple patchy moments from Leo), a brilliant score (in spite of synthesizers) that I still listen to, good special effects for being 1997, a good cast, and bittersweet references to real people. I only have a few qualms about the movie, they are as follows:

  • Let’s not overlook the blatantly obvious point that James Cameron majorly banked on a tragedy of epic proportions. I suppose that happens to many tragedies (the barrage of 9/11 movies and specials…case and point), but it’s too bad he couldn’t give any proceeds to someone to at least pretend to justify it. I guess it is a good “in memorium,” though, so we can give him that. And he did ask for a moment of silence before getting his best picture award.
  • The ship Titanic actually had a few issues before it even left harbor; for instance, it almost hit another boat. The New York came within a few feet of smashing into the Titanic because the ship’s wake; they were saved at the last minute by a tug boat, which was able to pull the New York back to its own dock. People all thought that was a bad omen, but it never happened in the movie. Kind of a big detail to skip, but it was already 3 hours I suppose. No reason to torture the people who won’t take a bathroom break no matter how many Icees they consume.
  • Right after the ship hits the ice berg in the movie, Mr. Murdoch yells “Hard to starboard!” So the dude at helm promptly pulls the steering wheel as far port as he can…? Now, I’ve never steered a ship, so it may very well be that when you want a boat to go right, you pull the wheel to the left. I just wouldn’t have thought of that.
  • Dang it all, Rose! Jack would have been able to save himself if you had just stayed on your lifeboat! Now I know, if I had been her, I wouldn’t have wanted to leave him either, and I might not have. But still, if he had been looking after himself and not having to worry about keeping her on that raft, he would have been able to stay alive until the life boat came back for the survivors. That was some wonky grammar in that sentence, my apologies. I’m still in an emotional fix. My point is, Jack would have made it if he had been alone. The they could have gotten back together on the Carpathia.

On the whole, though, minor flaws and all, I do love Titanic. The first time I saw that scene where Jack has Rose standing on the front of the ship, I thought that was the stupidest idea ever. Now, I admit it could be viewed as a cheesy moment, but I can’t help but sigh with longing when his hands gently dance with hers as the sun sets behind them. Cinematic love at its finest. And though I will say I have never been a huge fan of Leonardo DiCaprio and that is still the only movie where I have been attracted to him, he worked some magic. Jack’s free but strong personality was perfect. And Kate Winslet was most excellent as Rose, and was absolutely beautiful in the process. She actually had some curves to her, so not only was she gorgeous in the elaborate wardrobe from the movie, but she looked like an actual woman, not an anorexic twig.

Getting beyond the romance, Titanic also showed human nature at its truest. The moments where the third class passengers are literally having to fight for the chance to survive is torturous to watch (and it’s horrifying to think that those gates were installed in their corridors, which means someone had to actually think about wanting to trap them in the event of an emergency. It’s disturbing.) But then, we also see where the people are dirven crazy by their fear, and they destroy their own chances at surviving as they fight for a space on the boat. It must have been utter madness.

When I think about how awful the event must have been and how hard I cry every time I watch it, to tell you the truth, I’m not sure why I developed this epic fondness for Titanic. It kind of came out of nowhere years after everyone else in the world was already over the obsession. That’s me for ya. Oh well, it’s a good movie. If you haven’t watched it since 1997 (or even 1998), run yourself down to Blockbuster or hop on Netflix and get it! Oh Titanic, tis a good thing.


  1. It always bothered me that they had sex after knowing each other how long?

    And when the last lifeboat is about to pass by Rose, before she can get the whistle…oh that is excruciating. When she’s trying to call for help but she’s too hoarse…. It’s like, each time it happens, I’m worried that THIS time, they won’t hear her.

    My brother and I used to rewind the part where old Rose throws the necklace in the water, and watch it again and again. She makes this hilarious squeak.


  2. Hehe, look up Titanic in 30 seconds bunny style on youtube, they totally play up the little squeak she does!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: