Sunday, November 8, 2009

TITANIC (1997)

Well, the almighty James Cameron is going to unleash AVATAR in December so why don't we strap our jugs into a corset, hock up a loogie and swing axes at loved ones; as we prepare to jump into the frosty waters surrounding TITANIC and swim around amongst some of my thoughts on the matter.

If you haven't seen this film; then please send me an email with your first-hand opinion on the advantages of living beneath a rock. In the meantime, I'll give you a brief synopsis:

Two people fall in love on the wrong boat.
Wacky hi jinks ensue.

“Take her to sea, Mr. Murdoch. Let's stretch her legs.”
Let us begin, shall we...

- The most convincing piece of evidence, in my opinion, that this film is amazing and effective is the fact that EVERY time I watch it, I STILL want them to miss the iceberg.
I felt that way on my first viewing and I felt the exact same way on my recent viewing.
I've lost count of how many times I've sailed upon this ship, but each time I return it feels like the maiden voyage again.

- Jeanette Goldstein has a small role as a the 3rd class Irish mother. It'd be awesome if, when the Titanic staff are holding off the lower classes behind locked gates, she clicked into her Vasquez persona (wielding her Colonial Marines-issue smart gun) and screamed “LET'S ROCK!” before unleashing hot rounds of penetrating death upon the cowering employees.
I also want to see a xenomorph clog-dance against Jack during the steerage party scene. He seems a bit cocky at that point, and I feel his getting served by a chitinous, ebony nightmare with mad dance skillz would've appropriately humbled him a smidgen. Perhaps the alien could go on to win Rose's heart and steal her away from our charming, streetwise artist, eh? Then we could all have been treated to the sight of Rose getting orally impregnated via face-hugger in the back of a jalopy as the xenomorph drone watches, drools and fogs up the windows with panting, hot breath.
Now that I think about it, when Rose and Jack are being pursued by Lovejoy and they flee through the engine rooms, I always expect Charles S. Dutton to jump in and have a manly fistfight against an alien.
Seriously, Dillon was a badass, yo and Alien 3 is underrated gold, folks.
Go watch it again.

- Victor Garber's 'Mr. Andrews' performance is hilarious if you take it out of context.
He does an amazing job all round...but if you ignore his lines and just focus on his actions, then it's almost like he's slowly going insane as he wanders a damned ghost ship, trying to comprehend who these spectres are that persist on haunting his leisure cruise and chatting to him during meals.
Just try it. Watch his face and imagine he thinks he's surrounded by ghosts. It's great.
Someone could do an amusing editing/hatchet job on this.
Post it on YouTube if you do.
Think of the laughs, children.

- When the ship is starting to sink, Captain Smith basically loses his shit...but he chooses to do so in a quiet and dignified manner. He elects to simply wander around the ship and stare blankly in a state of a well-groomed, short-bearded Santa Claus who just came home to discover his elves running a train on Mrs. Claus.
That'd knock the lemon out of your tea, I'd say.
Then again, perhaps the traumatic situation at hand had nothing to do with Smith's fractured mental state.
Personally, I blame Grima Wormtongue's poisonous influence. He was probably lurking around in steerage; eating rats and waiting for the Titanic to dock at Mordor.
(NOTE: I consulted a weighty textbook on the subject, and I discovered that the Titanic was not scheduled to stop at Mordor. Grima was misinformed.)

Worm Tongue and King Theoden Pictures, Images and Photos
“The ship is fiiiiiiiiiiine, Captain. Relax. Let's have a brandy...”

- I saw this 5 times at the cinema.
Coincidentally, I too am an artist and my then-girlfriend's parents hated me as well, so it seemed to fit, no?
...Okay, I didn't freeze to death in the ocean while clinging to an expensively ornate door, but she did go on to live a good life, I assume. So there were some parallels.
I do wish that I could say that I sketched Billy Zane's woman nude, though. That'd be well received during dinner parties, I feel.

- Cameron is a god. Simple.
That being said; I've never understood why douchebags mock the “King of the world!” line + Cameron's usage of it during his Oscar acceptance speech.
Cameron was understandably proud of his achievement and I think that his reaction was actually quite subtle, when you consider how MASSIVE said achievement was.
As for the line in the actual script; even it makes sense and is not worthy of ridicule. Jack had most probably never been in a situation like this before. Yes, he mentions his travels etc but he's still just a starving artist getting by on limited means and, frankly, I'm surprised that he didn't just whip it out and start beating off right there on the foredeck while Fabrizio cheered him on as he aimed for a happily leaping dolphin.
So shouting that he's king of the world? The man showed impressive restraint if you ask me.

James Cameron Pictures, Images and Photos
"I'm gonna create some awesome."

- The old-Rose lady annoys me.
Nothing against her or her performance, it's just personal taste. She bothers me.
There's an SNL skit where she gets beaten and that brought a satisfied grin to my face. It was quite therapeutic.
It all boils down to her actions, basically. Many people undoubtedly lost jobs because granny threw the Heart in the ocean and decided to live out her final hours as a diamond-wasting, selfish hag. (There's even a deleted scene where Brock mentions the whole financial angle + resources + employees that stresses the magnitude of his whole operation. Sure; he's a treasure hunter...but he's a treasure hunter with investors and employees who all have bills to pay, Rose. But you don't care, do you? Nah. You got your centrefold and you stole a guy's last name...oh, and his life too. Nice.)
But I doubt that she'd even still have it. She basically stepped off the Carpathia like Jason Bourne in a corset. Wouldn't she have sold the rock so that she could finance her new identity as “Rose Dawson” and enjoy a life of endless horse, rollercoaster and plane rides at Cal's expense?
(NOTE: I just had an awesome image of Rose DeWitt Bukater looking all beautiful as she beats the crap out of NY guards a la Jason Bourne. That would be sweet. Hello sequel.)

Paxton should've just followed the ALIENS trend, adopted his Hudson persona and shouted, “Game Over!” as he rib-kicked her till she coughed up Le Coeur De La Mer.
The cinema would've clapped, I tells ya.

hudson in aliens Pictures, Images and Photos
“I'll sketch ya', Granny!”

- People seem to be compelled to mock big ol' grand cinema experiences that seem kind of 'old Hollywood', for want of a better term. That is unfortunate and makes up the bulk of my theory on why AUSTRALIA was sneered at.
Why this attitude? It baffles me.
As if 'new' Hollywood is so flawless and serves up gold after gold.
There's nothing but remakes, yo.
Stale ones, at that.

- Kate Winslet/ 'Rose DeWitt Bukater' is amazing. (Yes, I agree that Leo carries equal weight in his role and does an excellent job, too. Hell, I'm a big fan and DiCaprio has been doing exceptional, solid work for YEARS, yet it seems like only recently that the masses have realised this. High praise to him, for sure.)
This is probably my favourite Kate Winslet role, along with Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and I cannot praise her enough.
Can you blame me? I mean, Rose digs artists and poses nude. That's my kinda gal. She's simply awesome.
Now, would I freeze to death for her?... I'm not sure. BUT, I'd be willing to discuss the matter and hear what she has to say.

Tommy Ryan says that “You'd as soon have angels fly out of your arse than get next to the likes of her, boyo.”
That sounds like a challenge, sir.
So, in order to land a classy dame like Rose all I must do is meet her during her suicide attempt that interrupted my stargazing on a luxury cruise liner that I've found myself upon after winning a lucky hand of poker.
...Okay. Simple enough.
Unfortunately, I hate poker. Damn it.
No matter; I guess I'll just have to enjoy my time with Rose while I have it.
That brings me to another wonderful thing about her; Rose, and this film by association, feels like that amazing girl that you met while on vacation and fell in love with. But then the time came for you to both part ways...and she disappeared.
Now, you find that when you see her again every time you watch this film, the memories flow in thick and fast.
I love returning to that feeling and the whole experience still gives me chills.

- The VFX have already been spoken about to death by one and all, so I'll not spread another layer upon the thickness. However, I do feel that the costumes and Rose's wardrobe in particular deserve a mention. Her dresses are simply beautiful and her red/black 'suicide dress' plus her flowing, paper-thin 'survival dress' are my particular favourites. The image of Rose moving along a flooding corridor in that wet dress while carrying a fire-axe is one of those cinematic moments that instantly gets locked away in my memory banks under the 'CLASSIC' heading. She looks so beautiful, yet terrified.
Rightly so too, for that entire sequence with the lower-decks flooding and causing electrical malfunctions has an eerie tone of menace that lends the proceedings a horror movie vibe which becomes quite unsettling.

Titanic Kate Winslet Rose DeWitt Bukater Pictures, Images and Photos
(Wet chick + Axe = Hot)

- I must briefly draw attention to the deleted scene involving Lovejoy hunting Rose and Jack through the flooding dining rooms. Yes, I agree with Cameron's opinion that it is unnecessary at that stage of the story; but it is still a damn good scene. Take the time to check it out on the DVD.

- Billy Zane is a king amongst lesser men when it comes to being a cad.
Cal is the type of gent who thinks of words – hesitates – then chooses a hearty slap over discussion. Classy move, that.
This upstanding young gentleman also chooses to chase after Rose + Jack...and shoot at them while the ship is sinking. That's commitment to being an asshole, right there. If you're gonna do it wrong – do it right.

I guess the best way for me to express how awesome Titanic is, is by the way it makes me feel when I'm 'on board', so to speak.
Even though the ship is doomed, I want to be on it.
I want to sketch with Jack, hang with Tommy Ryan, dance with Rose and have as many other experiences as I can manage within that limited time frame until the inevitable comes crashing in.

It's the same situation presented within Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Hogwarts, folks.
These are universes and places that, when you visit, you do not want to leave; and when you finally do step outside the borders, you eagerly wish to return.

I don't care if the ship is going to sink, y'all.
For the chance to spend time with Rose, I'd buy a ticket.
Hell, I'd buy 5 tickets.