Director: James Cameron
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane
Sigh. So someone over at my “1001 Movies Blog Club” picked Titanic to be the movie of the week. For realz.
Here we go.
First things first, there’s something you need to know about me, as this will inform most of my opinion of this film.
Not just “dislike.” Not just “well, I would never choose to watch one, it’s just not my preferred genre.”
Actively loathe. I loathe epics.
Probably my least favorite genre of films ever. It’s just not what I want out of my films.
Why? First of all, no one ever made a short epic. So whatever story you find yourself trapped in, get comfortable, because jesus, you’re not getting out of it for at least three hours. In the case of this one, it’s four. I mean honest to god, there is a virtue to telling a story economically, but you never get that in an epic. EVER. Why so long, epics? Why so long? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate on epics just because they’re long, though. There are long movies that I love. But epics are dull. Mind-numbingly dull, filled with show-offy set pieces, one after another, a nonstop litany of drudgery that lasts forever and ever and ever. They are long and dull. They make me want to peel the iris out of my eyes to save myself the pain of ever watching them again.
Next up, they are stereotypical. Most epics bring very little new to the table, story-wise. They sacrifice novel tales for flashy effects and grand sets. They tell a beaten-to-death story in the same old way. Their characters lack depth and interest. I wind up not giving a shit about most characters in epics, actively cheering whenever one of them meets their inevitable fate, because you can’t have an epic without some overly sentimental and melodramatic character death. Writing and character development are never the strong suit of epics, having been sacrificed in favor of a twenty minute chariot race or some new CGI effect they JUST HAD TO HAVE. Really, you have this enormous budget, you couldn’t have hired another writer or seven to clean things up? No, you WANTED your boring, inane characters who behave exactly as I anticipate them behaving? Really? Hence the hatred. (FYI, there are about two or three epics that I like, and one that I absolutely love, but I consider them the exceptions that prove the rule.)
So, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I hate Titanic because it is a shining example of everything I really despise about epics.
This photo courtesy of Jezebel.com
Holy shit, but the characters suck. I mean, I am one of the biggest Kate Winslet fans around, I think she does absolutely phenomenal work, but dammit, I’m a little ashamed of her for having made this movie. Her Rose is all “poor little rich girl,” walking into her bad romance novel of a story line. Evil mother, evil fiancé, and evil fate forcing her into an evil life of privilege. And while I respect Leonardo DiCaprio for having managed to successfully shed his pretty boy image by choosing interesting film work in the past decade or so, this is the film that gave him that pretty boy image he’s worked so hard to get rid of. Poor boy with a heart of gold saves poor little rich girl. Wah. Who gives a fuck. Rose’s evil fiancé (Billy Zane) is downright laughable in his villainy, in that he has absolutely no reason to be evil and be a villain. He’s one of the worst villains ever, and I don’t mean that in the “so bad it’s good” way, I just mean it’s bad. So bad. And heaven help any character that isn’t a member of the first-billed cast. They are more undeveloped than Antarctica, my personal favorite being the Chef Boyardee “Eetsa me, Mario!” Italian stereotype walking around as Leo’s BFF. Really? Oh yes, you will be subjected to this cruel and unusual torture, oh yes.
I roll my eyes at the romance in this film. While most females are apparently genetically predisposed to weep uncontrollably at the merest hint of a stereotypical tragic love story, I say, “really, what else ya got?” In the case of this film, nothing. They know each other for, like, two seconds, and then they have their sweaty sex in steerage. OH, HOW ROMANTIC. No.
Look, is this a must-see film? Apparently, the rest of the world decided it was. For some bizarre reason, it tapped a nerve for those who don’t mind having four hours of their life needlessly sucked away in a melodramatic retelling of a half baked Harlequin romance. It made more money than existed on the planet, something I still don’t completely understand. I hate that it’s the top grossing film of all time. That’s one thing, though – you can never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, a fact which Cameron ruthlessly exploited in this film. The saddest thing of all is that the Academy Awards, and every other film award society, got caught up in the hype and it swept nearly every Best Picture award it was unknowingly nominated for. So not only did it make more money than God, it also won more awards than God. I just… I don’t get it. All of this makes it, for some reason, “an important film.”
Frankly, I’d rather have those four hours back.
And don’t even get me started on the fucking song.
I’ll end with a link to another review of a similar mind for Titanic from the awesome people over at Jezebel: I rewatched Titanic so you don’t have to. I highly recommend you read it, as it says everything I think about the film in a far more amusing way.
Arbitrary rating: 3/10 I’m actually giving it 3 because I do think it necessary for those who take film seriously to see it. Because it made more money than God and won more awards than God, and as much as I may hate it, it has definitely entered into the film lexicon. Yeah, I begrudgingly admit it’s a necessary film to see. Once. But by god, you will have to tie me down and drug me to force me to watch this a second time. Once was bad enough.