Saturday, May 05, 2012

After 15 years, I finally got around to seeing "Titanic"

I was only four years old when "Titanic" was first released in theatres on December 19, 1997. As you might expect, a story about young love wrapped in an epic historical disaster is not exactly compelling to a four year old. Nor does such a movie that has eleven Academy Awards and was once the highest grossing movie of all time entice a four year old. So for the next fifteen years, I continued on in a state of ignorance about "Titanic" the motion picture. But on Thursday night, that finally changed.

In early April, my dad expressed interest in going to see "Titanic" again in the movie theatre, particularly because it was playing in 3D on IMAX screens. I had never seen the movie, and agreed to go with him. Those who know me personally could probably tell you that when I agreed to that, I was lying through my teeth. I get restless during ninety minute movies - I would never see a movie that clocks in at three hours and fourteen minutes, no matter what the movie might have been. At age 19, my interest in stories about young love wrapped in epic historical disasters is about the same as it was when I was four, so why I agreed to see it for three hours and fourteen minutes is beyond me. I guess I figured it was an experience to see a cinematic classic on the big screen, and I was also pretty sure that my dad would forget about wanting to go see it by the time the movie was out of the theatres again.

He did not forget. He continually checked the showtimes, and saw that Thursday night would be the movie's last showing in IMAX 3D before "The Avengers" began playing at our local theatre. So we bought tickets online, headed for the theatre, and I begrudgingly began a three hour journey into the lives of Jack, Rose, and some other rich a-holes.

I was certainly impressed. The movie did not feel like it was three hours long, and I think that's a testament to the compelling nature of the film's final hour. Sure the movie is slow in the beginning, and from there it's just a lot of upper class douchebags treating Jack Dawson like crap, but once the ship hits the iceberg, the movie is a non-stop thrill ride until the very end. "Survivor" alum Rob Cesternino recently podcasted about the film and I think fairly accurately claimed that if you start watching the movie on television at any point after the ship hits the iceberg, it's next to impossible to not simply watch the movie to its conclusion at that point.

As for the 3D...well, you'd be asking the wrong person. I'd never seen the movie before. That being said though, the 3D didn't seem to add a lot. There's not three dimensional action sequences where waves crash at you or anything like that. Maybe it was just the curved IMAX screens, but all the 3D really seemed to do was push the backs of people being talked to in front of the screen and as a result make the picture look like a paper cut out. But hey, the rerelease made a few hundred million more dollars for James Cameron, so I'm willing to bet the conversion was worth it.

All in all, it's an experience I enjoyed and probably one that very rightly should have been experienced for the first time in a movie theatre, as cinematic classics have meant to be enjoyed for years. If there was a movie I'd be willing to watch for three hours, it would probably be this one. And yet oddly enough, the only thing I hold against seeing "The Hunger Games" in the theatres is its running time of two hours and twenty-two minutes. Perhaps a trip to Panem is overdue - or maybe I'll just wait fifteen years and see it in its rerelease commemorating the 100th Hunger Games.

I also don't think I'll ever be able to forget my experience walking out of the theatre, and what I realized had happened while we were inside watching the movie. It was a glimmering moment of realization that this world is a special place, perfectly fit for those with senses of humour and irony.

It had rained.