(Editor’s note: A 3-D version of the Oscar-winning 1997 movie “Titanic” opened Wednesday. Here is Linda Cook’s updated review of the original version from 15 years ago. Her 1997 review follows.)

“Titanic” is an epic that’s see-worthy indeed.

This is the movie, directed/written/produced by James Cameron, into which $200 million was sunk. And it shows in its glorious effects, dazzling camera work and lavish sets. Now, with the addition of Cameron’s carefully crafted 3-D effects, many sequences — in particular the final scenes when the boat is sinking — are even more compelling.

The show opens in the 1990s, with 101-year-old Rose (the wonderful Gloria Stuart), a survivor of the disaster, retelling her story to a deep-sea diving team. The tale is told mostly in flashback as Rose remembers being, at 17 (played by Kate Winslet), a wealthy but unhappy girl aboard the doomed ship.

“I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called ‘the Ship of Dreams.’ And it was. It really was,” Rose says as the movie fades back to 1912.

The young Rose feels pressured into marrying the wealthy Cal (Billy Zane) and even considers throwing herself overboard until she is stopped by a handsome young stranger named Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio). Jack, a kind of vagabond artist, has won his passage among the third-class passengers during a poker game. He finds that Rose, despite her trappings of sophistication, is a free spirit much like himself and the two are drawn together.

But Cal has other plans and keeps a close watch on both Jack and Rose. Selfish, arrogant and used to getting what he wants, Cal can’t understand why Rose won’t give her heart completely to him. He tries to woo her with a priceless blue diamond, the Heart of the Ocean. Meanwhile, Rose’s mother (Frances Fisher) commands Rose to stop seeing the streetwise artist, which seems to make Rose all the more determined to run into him again aboard ship.

Throughout, the romance is the fictional thread that holds the true-to-life epic together. But there’s lots of action, too, especially after the ship hits the iceberg and those aboard begin to realize their lives are in danger. Wonderful cinematography and special effects help create this colossus of a show that’s more than a run-of-the-mill disaster movie and more than a flippant adventure flick, especially with poignant scenes — some that last only seconds — depicting the courage with which some of the passengers faced death.

Sometimes its dialogue becomes perilously close to being too cute and cornball for its own good, and some scenes could have been trimmed. More than three hours without an intermission is a long time.

Still, the film is a monumental piece of cinema — now iconic in itself — that leaves audiences shouting, applauding and, yes, weeping through currents of emotion.


From '97: ‘Titanic’ certainly doesn’t sink

(Editor’s note: A 3-D version of the Oscar-winning 1997 movie “Titanic” opens Wednesday, April 4. Here is Linda Cook’s review of the original version from 15 years ago.)

“Titanic” is an epic that’s see-worthy indeed.

This is the movie, directed/written/produced by James Cameron, into which $200 million was sunk. And it shows in its glorious effects, dazzling camera work and lavish sets.

The show opens in contemporary times, with 101-year-old Rose (the wonderful Gloria Stuart), a survivor of the disaster, retelling her story to a deep-sea diving team. The tale is told mostly in flashback as Rose remembers being, at 17 (played by Kate Winslet), a wealthy but unhappy girl aboard the doomed ship.

“I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called ‘the Ship of Dreams.’ And it was. It really was,” Rose says as the movie fades back to 1912.

The young Rose feels pressured into marrying the wealthy Cal (Billy Zane) and even considers throwing herself overboard until she is stopped by a handsome young stranger named Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio). Jack, a kind of vagabond artist, has won his passage among the third-class passengers during a poker game. He finds that Rose, despite her trappings of sophistication, is a free spirit much like himself and the two are drawn together.

But Cal has other plans and keeps a close watch on both Jack and Rose. Selfish, arrogant and used to getting what he wants, Cal can’t understand why Rose won’t give her heart completely to him. He tries to woo her with a priceless blue diamond, the Heart of the Ocean. Meanwhile, Rose’s mother (Frances Fisher) commands Rose to stop seeing the streetwise artist, which seems to make Rose all the more determined to run into him again aboard ship.

Throughout, the romance is the fictional thread that holds the true-to-life epic together. But there’s lots of action, too, especially after the ship hits the iceberg and those aboard begin to realize their lives are in danger. Wonderful cinematography and special effects help create this colossus of a show that’s more than a run-of-the-mill disaster movie and more than a flippant adventure flick, especially with poignant scenes — some that last only seconds — depicting the courage with which some of the passengers faced death.

Sometimes its dialogue becomes perilously close to being too cute and cornball for its own good, and some scenes could have been trimmed. More than three hours without an intermission is a long time. But overall, the show is a monumental piece of cinema that leaves audiences shouting, applauding and, yes, weeping through currents of emotion.

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