Making the Grades
It’s amazing how Hollywood can convert disaster into dollars time and time again. James Cameron, the creator of Titanic turned the biggest ship and sea tragedy into one of the greatest money making film of all time—and didn’t even have a moment in the closing credits to dedicate his windfall to the memory of those who perished. Just a minor oversight.
I acknowledge Titanic as one of the most technically advanced and visually awe inspiring movies ever made. Cameron’s task in directing this production is in a league with the skills and organization required to run a small country. After all, Titanic’s grosses far exceed the GNP of a small nation. But why would he choose to take a story chock full of amazing feats of heroism and tragedy, and instead create two fictional characters to be the main focus of the film?
Perhaps Cameron and the two studios supporting this project figured they knew what would really sell. I suspect they reasoned that facts are for documentaries and hardly necessary with a heartthrob like Leonard DiCaprio on board. Banking on swooning teens coming to see one of the steamiest PG-13 films to date, many of the target audience actually left convinced Jack and Rose (Kate Winslet) were as real as the frigid waters of that fateful night.
The film contains unnecessary frontal female nudity, implied intercourse complete with orgasmic comments, language I think would even offend the steerage class, and glamorization of gambling, drinking, and smoking. Applauded by adoring fans, this young lovers’ story also teaches that an opportunity for sex is something you should grasp now—just in case your ship sinks.
In an opening scene, Rose, now 101 years old, accuses an exploration team of not getting the Titanic experience—but Cameron missed the boat too. Just like the treasure-hunting crew he portrays, this motion picture has mined catastrophe for cash profits—and thrown the sanctity of life and moral responsibility aside.
Original Theatrical Release:December 13, 1997
Note for April 2012 3D Release Titanic sails back into theaters in a remastered digital 3D version that gives the film an even great sense of visual amazement. Definitely the best 3D conversion of a 2D shot film to date, the depth perception is magnified with the clarity and detail now visible on the screen. Of course the content that possibly left 1990s parents concerned about showing this otherwise amazing movie to their kids is still in this edition, as detailed in my original review.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Titanic.
Why do you think the scriptwriters of this film chose to focus more on fiction than fact? If you were to tackle this topic, how would you handle it?
Touted as “unsinkable,” the passengers aboard the Titanic were at first slow to respond to the seriousness of their situation. Can you think of other instances when apathy has caused people to neglect warnings? How did things change when the reality of the danger began to dawn? How did the “every man for himself” attitude adversely affect the survival rate? What things could have been done differently?