Thursday, 27 June 2013
Titanic (5 Stars)
This was probably the most hyped film ever. I remember the months leading up to its initial cinema release in 1997. Even though the Internet existed at the time, it hadn't established itself as a part of everyone's lives the way it has now. Information flowed slower in those days, but the upcoming film about the Titanic was still making big waves. So many films had been made about the Titanic before, in particular the film starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, also called "Titanic", made only a year earlier in 1996. What was the point in making yet another Titanic film? Then the studios leaked that it would be a love story. A big budget love story. People were expecting it to make enormous losses, but the closer the release date came the more people began to expect something good. The media promotions were driving the public into a fervour. Then the film finally appeared just before Christmas 1997, and everyone loved it. News reports showed people leaving the cinemas in tears. I don't remember such a fuss ever being made about another film before or since.
The film remained in the cinemas a long time, about three months in my local cinemas, although I've heard stories about it being shown even longer elsewhere. I went to see it quite late, February 1998, I think. Later in the year it came back to the cinemas, with television ads telling us to "go watch it again". This type of film promotion was also unique, as far as I'm aware. I didn't go back to the cinema a second time, but I did feel tempted, though only because the video and DVD release were delayed so long. The studios were milking the film for all it was worth. The fact that it won 11 Oscars at the 1998 Academy Awards gave it an extra boost. When the DVD was finally released at the end of 1998 it became the first film to sell over one million copies on DVD.
Over the next few years something strange happened. People turned against the film. In the early 2000's the Internet was becoming more widespread, and it became common for people to write badly about "Titanic". By 2005 it had won a series of reader polls as the "worst film ever". Were people crazy? No way it was that bad. I think the problem was that they had binged on "Titanic". They'd watched it so often that they'd grown sick of it. But I still liked it. I just shook my head at all the negative criticism.
In 2012 the film was rereleased in a 3D version, totally unnecessarily, in my opinion. I expected it to flop, but it was a big hit in the cinemas again. Currently the film seems to be "in" again. The public is fickle, but not me. I loved the film when it was first released, I love it today, and I see no reason why I should ever stop loving it.
It's interesting to see what has happened with the two leading actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. They both gave outstanding performances in "Titanic". Since then Kate Winslet has gone on to make one excellent film after another, establishing herself as a world class actress. For Leonardo DiCaprio it's been different; "Titanic" was the peak of his career, and he's never risen to the same level since. Of course, he starred in "Django Unchained", but that was a great film despite him, not because of him.