It’s hard to imagine a better 3D conversion than what we have with this new rerelease of TITANIC . The images as projected in my theatre were bright and crisp, and the 3D effects were subtle and effective, particularly in the shots where you’re placed at eye level with the ocean surface. But for me, the experience was no more or less immersive than it was upon its initial release in 1997.
What was clunky in the film back then is no less clunky now – the stilted, mannered dialogue, the occasionally awkward character transitions, and the few characters that fail to graduate beyond stereotype (especially the role of Cal, the shallowly conceived “villain” of the piece made even more unconvincingly lascivious through Billy Zane’s eyebrow arching performance).
But the elements of the film that struck such a primal, deeply emotional chord across the globe 15 years ago still ring true today; mainly, James Cameron’s ability to seamlessly infuse cutting-edge technological spectacle with all the sentimental allure of an old fashioned epic. Some of the dialogue may be groan-inducing at its worst, but the script is nevertheless beautifully structured, and gives a profoundly emotional eloquence to both the grandiose and the intimate in equal measure; that is, the smaller story centered around the doomed lovers plays more powerfully against the scope of the larger tragedy, and vice versa.
In its best moments, the film feels haunted by a visceral, respectfully solemn feeling of loss. For first-time viewers, TITANIC may feel like a revelation of how a true epic can stimulate the senses, and not just bombard them into a stupor.