A Few Words About A few words about... Titanic

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I’ve made note numerous times in my comments that a DVD is to a film, as a black and white Xerox is to an illuminated manuscript.

    Having now had some time to spend with Mr. Cameron’s new Special Collector’s Edition of his film, Titanic, I feel secure in stating that this DVD, especially when compared to the original release, is the Illuminated Manuscript of our current format DVDs.

    There can be no doubt that this is splendid filmmaking of the highest level.

    The telling of a small personal tale within the majestic surroundings of the larger story is an art in itself. I firmly believe that Sir David would be first on line to shake Mr. Cameron’s hand in his accomplishment.

    From the elegant packaging in the color of a certain blue diamond, to the perfect break in the film, allowing the two discs to hold and exhibit the film in the possible highest quality, Paramount’s new Collector’s Edition of Titanic should please even the pickiest cinephile.

    This DVD allows the full majesty, romance and ceaseless wonder of this tale to make its way to your home theatre in the finest imaginable quality.

    In short, this DVD of Titanic is superb in every respect.

    A home video triumph.

    RAH
     
  2. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I certainly agree with your assessment of the DVD, which I already bought. It's... perfect, no question about it.

    The movie is another thing. An enormous undertaking, done with skill and care, that still leaves me... utterly unfulfilled on every level -- the script, the music, the acting, all lacking in something intangible that Lawrence of Arabia and The Wizard of Oz and Vertigo had in spades. If I had to choose a single item that I would say is below par, it would be the script.

    Only the special effects delivered what they promised on a grand scale, to me.

    But I'm just one single filmgoer. I'm sure the new DVD will be a hugely welcome addition to many people's collections. The movie sure looks better here than in the previous DVD.
     
  3. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Always nice to get Mr. Harris' approval. Glad to know that this dvd effort is great. [​IMG]
     
  4. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Mr. Harris, you've said it better than I ever could have! [​IMG]
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    You know what I've discovered? For me, history has been very kind to Titanic. I remember rolling my eyes at the love story aspects of it when I first saw it, but now I'm just jonesing for the new disc so I can watch it again [something that, say, Eps 1-2 have not (and probably never will) do for me].

    Mr. Harris your approval just makes the wait for next week all the more unbearable [​IMG]
     
  6. JoshB

    JoshB Supporting Actor

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    I still remember what it was like to view this back in the theater in 1997. It was at least a month or two after it had come out, and more and more people were going to see it. I had a feeling when i left the theater that I rarely have when watching a film, and have only felt that way after seeing such films as Saving Private Ryan and Return of the King. It feels like everything you wanted to see or thought you were going to was exceeded, and that movies can be enjoyable all over again and actually worth going to see. Titanic just had that universal appeal, like Star Wars or LOTR where there is something for everyone that made it such a hit.

    I think this is the first year in a long while that I have rarely gone to see what is being released since nothing has caught my eye and everything is just not that great. Titanic actually has the ability to be rewatchable many times over and I think will become a classic in years to come, if it isnt one alrready. Sure it isnt perfect and its flaws do show, but then it took years to Wizard of Oz and Wonderful Life to become classics again. I think as time goes on more people will begin to appreciate the film not as a showcase for effects or its stars, but how movie making and epics has evolved over the years and how storytelling is not taken aside to grand effects or action scenes. Titanic has all of this and it actually works.

    I previously owned the VHS and early DVD, but this one seems like a no brainer for purchasing. A few flaws in the film aside, it is no doubt a superb technical and film making masterpiece that helped to reintroduce the epic to modern audiences. Would some of our most recent and beloved films (I dont think I have to mention them) be as popular without Titanic?
     
  7. Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas Second Unit

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    There really wasn't any doubt that Titanic would get the full blown special edition treatment with an exemplary transfer. It was just a matter of when.
     
  8. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    I haven't seen any David Lean films besides THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (excellent) and A PASSAGE TO INDIA (so-so), but I can only hope the ones I haven't seen have more substance to them than Cameron's epic. The bad guys, though embodied by good actors (especially the oft-poorly-utilized David Warner), are thoroughly one-dimensional and are in many cases reduced to one-liners. Kate Winslet looks beautiful in those period costumes but has little to do. I mentioned to a couple film buff friends of mine that I thought Kate was an excellent actress, and they thought I was insane, and I said what have you seen her in, and they said TITANIC, and I said ok, I understand, but you ain't seen her in HEAVENLY CREATURES, a film that shows you what she can really do. Unlike TITANIC, a technically (mostly) well-made epic, with painstakingly accurate period detail, that wastes a lot of talented actors in favor of sappy romance and spectacle. Now, I'm all for sappy romance if it's at least fairly well-written sappy romance, but c'mon...Cameron was rightly blasted from many quarters for his stinky script; I'll also let him have it for some extremely poor CGI renderings of the boat and little videogame people walking across it. Cameron owes a hell of a lot to a far superior and much more compelling production, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER. I might give the DVD a spin to see if my opinion upon rewatching this might have softened over the years, out of curiosity...but I won't hold my breath. At least it's supposed to be an excellent DVD of the film.
     
  9. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I simply enjoy & I'm fascinated by the whole Titanic "Story". So, consequently I buy just about any movie about the film. If you don't like the movie, don't buy it. [​IMG]
     
  10. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm somewhat on the fence about this. I've got the previous edition, which this one no doubt dwarfs for both A/V quality as well as extras (not to mention splitting the film over two discs). But I don't really love the film. I think the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts, but there are some things that just irk me about it - the hammy dialogue (I've seen David Lean's films - and you, Mr. Cameron, are no David Lean), that awful Celine Dion song and Kate Winslet's goofy 1/2-British-1/2-American accent (contrary to popular belief, I find Dicaprio's performance in the film to be much better than Winslet's, and she's probably my favorite working actress).

    That all being said, I usually find myself defending the film to most of my contemporaries (it's obviously a film that's very hip to bash among 18 to 30-year-old males). As I said before, the whole is greater than the some of the parts, and I usually find myself choking up by the time the thing ends. And as has been stated before, the production design and effects are meticulously beautiful, worth watching the film for alone. I'll probably end up passing as there are too many other discs coming down the pike that I consider must-buys, but I may pick this up at some point down the road. It's a good, not quite great film that is, I think, better than most people give it credit for.
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    It is not an easy chore to create a small personal setpiece and place it within the huge scale found herein.

    That, in his later works, was one of the (many) true talents of Sir David Lean. To take this and then create an immensely satisfying, popular and Profitable film takes it to another level.
     
  12. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm curious Mr. Harris, on what your opinion is on the other two major Titanic films? "A Night To Remember"(1958) and Titanic (1953).

    I could never warm up to the 97 version, it is an awesome spectacle, but missing something..at least to me.
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Of the two earlier English language films, my personal preference is A Night to Remember.

    Interestingly, we hold the surviving 35mm film element of a promotional film created by the White Star Line for the sister ship, the Olympic (1910-1937). Knowing the history of the Titanic, there is very haunting feeling watching passengers, exercising, dining and walking the ship's decks in actual footage.

    After serving both White Star and later Cunard, the massive Olympic was used as a mail ship, and later scrapped. One cannot but imagine what it would be like to be able to walk its decks today. Fortunately, other examples of the great ships have been saved for posterity.

    RAH
     
  14. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    I certainly hope this thread doesn't turn into another Titanic bashfest.

    Thanks for your comments Mr. Harris. Can't wail til Tuesday.[​IMG]
     
  15. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    I'm no Robert Harris but to me, A Night To Remember is miles better than the soapy 1953 Titanic version. No contest. [​IMG]
     
  16. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    A Night to Dismember is clearly Doris Wishman's masterpiece.

    Er, hold on a second. [​IMG]

    DJ
     
  17. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I agree about A Night to Remember, a glorious film experience. One wishes, perhaps foolishly, that James Cameron had chosen to highlight the true stories of passengers (like the Strauses, who are memorialized in a park close to my apartment here in NYC) rather than create a fiction like the '53 Titanic. In fact, I think the strongest storylines here do concern the true characters like crewmembers Murdoch and Lightoller, and Captain Smith, and Molly Brown, etc.
     
  18. Jeff Whitford

    Jeff Whitford Screenwriter

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    It happens everytime. [​IMG]
     
  19. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I have this one pre-ordered and look forward to it, even though I simply could not stand the hype around this movie when it was released. At the time, if I heard Celine Dion one more time I would have gone on a shooting spree! But now I hope Mr. Cameron treats us to a great transfer and great sound. Besides, I used a number of those McDonald's/Best Buy coupons to bring down the price on this and am on the wife's good side for using them on this and not Batman Begins! [​IMG]
     
  20. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    The movie isn't about the Titanic. It's about Jack and Rose and uses the Titanic's sinking as a background for that story. That's why they cut so much historical stuff that they shot.

    And that (damn) Celine Dion song is only played over the end credits. While I'm hardly a fan of the song, I think it fits the movie perfectly. [​IMG]
     

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