Inevitably, pointlessly, Titanic is getting a re-release. As of April 5, we can bask in the hypothermic glow of James Cameron’s tribute to the doomed vessel and its fictitious lovers, reminding us why Titanic is deserving of our love and affection despite Bill Paxton’s hoop earring and Billy Zane’s centre part.
Titanic is the film we all love to hate. And if you think this statement is wrong, remember how many times you’ve seen it, how many times you will see it, and how many times we could probably recite the spitting-off-the-deck scene in a re-enactment I could try and arrange. Or you could just agree with the following points that illustrate why the epic to end all epics is simultaneously the worst and the best film ever made.
But who cares! Not me. Or you. Say “Jack” and/or “Rose” sixteen times, and you’ve got the dialogue of the whole second half pretty much down pat. You are now an Academy Award nominee, so congratulations you thespian.
Remember when you were 17 and you decided the guy with the stolen coat and the amateur sketches was the person you were going to marry? And then you faked your own death and started life in a new country despite him having died because you wouldn’t share a wardrobe door? No? Because three months after you broke up, he took a full-time job at a gas station.
If you really loved him, Rose, you guys would totally have figured out some sort of “ten minutes on/ten minutes off” system that optimized both buoyancy and each other’s well-being (or did your axe plan just go awry?)
Who needs it! Not J-Cam, filmmaker superstar. But none of us were looking at the difference between young Rose and old Rose’s eye colour anyway because who cares?. Next!
And that is just a fact we will all have to live with and know every time we see the juxtaposition of “Jack’s” hands and Kate Winslet’s nude scene.
She said, putting an indelible mark on the sketchpad of pop culture. “Not really!” thought Jack, remembering how he totally abandoned Non-English Speaking Friend for a first class dinner party with 34 forks.
For 15 years we have asked ourselves whose hand that was in the car, how Lovejoy got his job, how Billy Zane’s hair looked both slick and un-shampooed, how Rose’s enormous hat did not act as the ultimate flotation device.
Which is now stuck in your head.
But that’s not all. While all of us can admit that we hate-love these factors, there are things that make Titanic actually great. Exhibit A: the effects. The only reason dads world-over agreed to sit through the first hour and a half of “I’m flying! I love you!” was because – and let’s just admit this – the second half of the film is actually cool.
I mean, you’ve got a sinking ship. You’ve got death and destruction (flashback to 1997: a young Michael Bay watches Titanic for the first time and walks out upon realizing Kate Winslet isn’t going to throw on denim shorts and talk about cars – one day he’ll show us, he mutters quietly, he’ll show us all!) and you’ve got the glass case of emotion which is arguably exactly what the Captain locked himself in when he decided to die.
Because that’s the kicker: Titanic tugged at our heartstrings in a way The Notebook could only dream of. We laughed, we cried, we cried some more, we got up to use the bathroom, we ate some popcorn, and then we cried to the point of blatant hysterics. AND WE LOVED IT. We loved it so much. If Downton Abbey has taught us anything, it’s that if you toss attractive people in a few corsets and top hats, even the most unrealistic story lines become proverbial crack. And crack this is.
Love + loss + costumes + icebergs = all any of us have ever asked for. Are you ready to go back to Titanic? We’ve never let go!