Director James Cameron's $200 million epic "Titanic," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and the Oscar-nominated Kate Winslet is a colossal achievement-a unique gem of a film, an example of everything gone right in a movie.
Since its initial week, "Titanic" has earned approximately $20 million per week, garnering a monstrous $427 million in 11 weeks. Currently it stands 2nd all-time in domestic gross, behind only "Star Wars," which it will soon surpass. It won a number of Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director; and on February 10th it received 14 Academy Award nominations, the most for any film in 48 years.
Despite all the publicity and praise the film has received, none of that can truly capture just how great this film is. It's important to note that this is not a disaster film: it is first and foremost a romance. Cameron penned the script for this film, in addition to directing, producing, and editing. It is the story of rich, first-class Rose Dewitt-Bukater (Winslet) and the young man from steerage with whom she falls in love, Jack Dawson (DiCaprio). Rose does not want to marry the man she is engaged to, Calvert Huxley (played brilliantly by Billy Zane). The romance between Rose and Jack unfolds aboard the doomed ship.
As one would expect in the most expensive movie ever made, "Titanic" boasts incredible special effects, dazzling sets and amazing historical accuracy. Ultimately it's the romance that makes this movie great. It is because we care so much about what happens to Jack and Rose that "Titanic" is so compelling. We see the disaster through their eyes and we fear the Titanic's imminent demise because we are afraid for them.
There are so many great moments in this movie, from the awesome sinking of the ship at the end to the captivating romance and the beautiful soundtrack to the ghostly dissolves from sunken wreck to the new Titanic in all its glory. The truth is that everything went right about this movie. DiCaprio and Winslet have received much publicity for their outstanding performances, as has Gloria Stuart, who plays old Rose. However, Billy Zane should be acknowledged for his despicable Cal Huxley. One feels genuine disdain for the character, culminating with his unbelievable act to get into a life boat.
"Titanic" is what great films are: more than just a film; it is an enthralling three hour heart-wrenching experience, an exploration of love, of human arrogance, and, ultimately, of heroism. It is a film about the human experience, done perfectly, with great performances by all involved. "Titanic" is historically accurate with attention to the little details as well as the big ones.
Is it any wonder that this film has captured our hearts for the last 11 weeks?
Webmeister: Mike Oliveria