The world's interest in the fascinating history of Titanic has endured for more than 100 years.

Titanic the movie

Titanic Movie Review

Titanic the movie

The year was 1997 and James Cameron was about to release another masterpiece that would be compared by some critics to one of the greatest works of film ever produced, “Gone With the Wind.” Released at the end of the year, “Titanic” would be the most expensive movie ever produced at $200 million. With a star cast of young Leonardo Dicrapio and Kate Winslet stealing the screen. It would bolster sales of history books, websites hits dedicated to nothing but the history of the ship, and even garner more interest in the porn star Toni Kessering, who used the screen name “Titanic Toni Kessering.” However, it would also bring audiences together to tell a tale of lasting love and sacrifice as seen through the mind of James Cameron.

The Cut of the Jib: A Titanic Movie

The story opens with a research expedition full of scientists painted in the light of rock star cowboys. The crew is searching the most famous shipwreck of all times, the RMS Titanic, looking for a sought after gem that supposedly sunk with the ship. After seeing a television clip of these men on television, Rose Dawson Calvert, played by 1930’s film star Gloria Stuart, makes a connection to the treasure hunters and with one phone call is suddenly whisked on board the search vessel captained by Brock Lovett, played by Bill Paxton. Thus, the story then begins as an old but fiery Rose recollects the events as she remembers them.

It is at this time that we get the first glimpse of Leonardo Dicaprio’s character Jack Dawson. He and a friend are in a savage game of poker for all of the marbles. They have bet their last dime in a card game against two beastly rogues and as Jack deceivingly turns over his hand the audience finds a jubilant Dawson about to set sail back to America on the greatest ship ever fabricated. The movie then begins the narration by older Rose (Gloria Stuart) about younger Rose played by Kate Winslet. Unlike the fiery but humble modern day Rose, Kate plays a snobbish, spoiled lady with servants at her every step. Winslet’s character, a bored and unfulfilled teenager, is in a direct contrast to Jack Dawson’s youthful vibrance. Rose is unimpressed with the magnitude of the ship or the elusiveness of the journey while Jack sees nothing but possibilities and adventure. The two have yet to meet but would have their first encounter shortly thereafter.
As the story moves back and forth from present time to the past, Gloria Stuart (old Rose) continues to narrate while the research crew hangs on to her every word. Initially, Levett was only interested in hearing about the jewel, however, Rose had a different story to tell, which is a story of love that shatters all boundaries of social class and society.

Bulkheads and Blunders

Eventually, Cameron paints the picture of a young Rose being suffocated by her suitor, Cal Hockley, who is played by Billy Zane. It is then she decides to end her life by running to the end of the boat and jumping ship. However, much to her chagrin a young man comes upon her scuttling her plans of suicide. Dawson talks Rose out of a potentially terminal position but is himself placed in a compromising position when Rose slips on a guardrail. The two are miraculously fall to the inside of the ship where security guards run upon the scene. At first, it seems Jack may be accused of lude behavior with this woman of such stature, but the situation is quelled and as a reward Jack is offered a dinner invite the following evening. The love story begins.

In Summary

From this point in the story, Jack’s lifestyle of open ended possibilities forces itself on a bored and stuffy Rose. The more she attempts to shun him, the more she falls in love with him. Eventually, this catches the eye of one of the henchmen ordered to watch Rose’s behavior, which creates conflict with Rose’s fiancée. As Cal creates plans that will lead to Jack’s disposal, history has an idea of its own.
A cocky captain and a weary night watchman would lead to one of the most well known tragedies of the 20th century, which is the sinking of the RMS Titanic. An iceberg pierced the ship’s body creating an influx of water into first the lower cabins and eventually the main compartments. Because the boat was unequipped with enough lifeboats for all passengers, those in steerage class were left to fend for themselves. However, Rose and Jack would eventually find one another just as the boat splits in two and sinks. Floating on a piece of the ship, the two vow their undying love for one another as Jack sacrifices his space on the floating debris to allow Rose to live. As Jack fades into the waters of the Atlantic, the movie should have followed suit.

Success for Hollywood

Cameron created a movie that would garner the attention of Hollywood and those looking for a love story. Many heralded the movie a great success and championed Cameron as a masterful artist while others thumbed their nose at the film touting only a man such as Cameron could think he could rewrite history and the lives of those who lived it. If nothing else, everyone could agree that Cameron was able to paint the drastic differences in the social classes of a supposed casteless society. The blending of a love story between two individuals in different worlds coupled with the arrogance and pride of those in power created a powerful attraction for many people. The film would win a total of eleven Academy Awards in 1998 including the most sought after Best Picture category. Only Avatar has been a greater box office hit to the present date.