It's easy to understand how Director Robert Altman came to state that
"TITANIC" was one of, if not the worst film of all time." There are so
many heavy-handed, campy, self-indulgent, smug things going on throughout the
film. But, there's undeniable magic under all the manipulation. This
reviewer can't forget the impact a 3 second sequence had when the ship's captain
decides to fire a distress flare. With great CGI and camerawork, as the
camera pulls back, the viewer instantly gets caught up with the isolation the
victims of this disaster are in.
The dialogue is typically atrocious, almost continuously patronizing, as
with any scene with Moll Flanders, and relating to Billy Zane's villainous
character. Why didn't Cameron just have him run his fingers over a long mustache
and chuckling an evil laugh?
But, again, "TITANIC" is a spectacle. And, it's dazzling to watch. The
effects don't appear dated, even 7 years later.
PARAMOUNT has provided the 16:9 enhancement the previous version lacked.
The 2.35:1 aspect ratio is intact and flawless!
In addition to a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, now we have a "DTS" 6.1 mix as
well! It's incredible. While both are good, the DTS version offers better bass.
Both offer incredible surround and discrete effects throughout.
The extras? Well, there are plenty! To begin with, we get "THREE"
commentaries! One with James Cameron. Sure, he's dry, but he's very
knowledgeable and it's impressive to hear such devotion and love for this
project as expressed herein.
Another is with Kate Winslet, Bill Paxton, Gloria Stuart and more. (NO
LEONARDO HERE!) It's an engaging commentary, but surprisingly lacking in
Another is with two historians offering plenty of historical info, and
well worth a listen.
An alternate ending is included, and it's sooooooo, soooooo dreadful, that
it makes the film look even more syrupy than it did before! BOO! Smart decision
on removing it!
There is a big "deleted scene" section, comprised of some scenes only
running a few seconds to those running longer. Some are quite good, and we wish
they'd been added to the film via branching.
We also get numerous featurettes, documentaries and more, making this a
strong contender for the ideal Holiday Stocking Stuffer of 05!
|Feature Length Historical Commentary: A pair of Titanic
Historians gather round the campfire and give out their two bits on
the film. If you were watching the film for more reasons that to
scream at Leo DiCaprio or to wait for Kate to drop her drawers, then
you might as well go through this – at least in part – and try to
pick out a few snippets of very interesting information.
|“Making Of” Pods: Using this setting, you can watch the
film with an icon appearing once in a while. Once it does, you can
branch out to some brief making of vignettes that are relevant to
that part of the movie. They loaded it up too with 61 of them and
the good kind, not the ones that are merely snippets from the
documentary. Sit back, relax and enjoy for the next three hundred
|Alternate Ending (7 minutes): I don’t really want to ruin
it by spoiling it but I have to admit, I really didn’t expect
William Shatner to show up at the end and save the day!!! No, no…
just kidding. I think that’s what Cameron was doing as well when he
filmed this other ending which thankfully stayed on the floor of the
editing room. It would simply have added an extra layer of pure
Velveeta on a film that already had a fair amount on cheese as far
as dialogue was concerned.
|Music Video (5 minutes): I’ll say this once and I’ll
never say it again: I really like Céline Dion. This music video for
the fantastic tune “My Heart Will Go On” is always a pleasure to
listen to. What a voice and that was before she joined the ranks of
the Holly wood Super-Skinny club. She was a pretty sweet-looking
lady too back then!
|Deleted Scenes: Introduced by James Cameron and with an
optional commentary track by the director, twenty-nine partial or
completed scenes are presented to the viewer. Most are no more than
a few seconds long but the producers actually completed them as they
would have been for a feature presentation and therefore you really
get the full picture of what they were intended to accomplish. As
per Cameron, they were mostly cut for pacing and time reasons but
some of them look like they would have worked real well… and yes,
I’m telling Jimmy Cameron how to direct.
|“Titanic: Breaking New Ground” (45 minutes): A
fascinating documentary that links the very real tragedy of
Titanic’s sinking to the making of Cameron’s film. It begins with
the director’s recollection of his first few dives to the wreck and
the influence they had both on him and on the direction the film
would take. Complete with comments from Cameron, the stars and some
authentic survivors, it’s that rare kind of special features that
would actually make a pretty good stand-alone DVD.
|Press Kit Featurettes (20 minutes): A set of seven short
Featurettes which initially went out before the movie was released.
They’re very broad in scope but a few were worthwhile, mostly the
ones dedicated to the technical aspects of the ship set. You’ll find
in there Story Focus, Actor Focus, “Building the Ship”, “Populating
the Ship”, “Sinking the Ship”, Cameron Focus and Deep Dive Focus.
|Concept Posters and One-Shots: A stills gallery with
posters and shots ranging from very cool to very cheesy.
|1912 News Reel (2 minutes): I’m not sure if this feature
was as dumb as I think it was or whether I was just expecting
something else. I figured this would be actual footage from period
newsreels but instead, I got two minutes of the current stars edited
as a newsreel and formatted to look like old film stock…. Waste of
|Construction Timelapse (5 minutes): During the building
of the massive Titanic set, documentarian Ed Marsh set up a
timelapse camera on a 40-foot tower next to the site. What follows
is an awesome capture of weeks of work building a ship were once was
dry land. Very, very…. Very cool.
|Deep Dive Presentation (15 minutes): James Cameron
narrates a montage of clips from his dives to the Titanic’s grave.
Personally, I would give my right arm and both my eyes to be able to
go down there but I guess for the moment, this is the best I can do.
Lots of cool footage, a lot of it never seen before, especially that
part when he runs into Linda Hamilton’s lawyer.
|Titanic Crew Video (20 minutes): Rather on the long side,
this is a collage of video shot by the film crew during principal
photography with some outtakes, gags, jokes and little performances
by miscellaneous crewmembers. There’s a bit of footage from older
films mixed for in for good humoristic measure and it’s pretty neat
to watch but it shouldn’t really last more than 5 minutes.
|Titanic Ship’s Tour (8 minutes): Seeing as they had
access to what is perhaps the most complete and accurate recreation
of the Titanic ever made, the Titanic Historical Society took the
opportunity to walk around the set with camera in hand in order to
preserve some souvenirs for their members. It’s basically a walk
through the set narrated by Anders Falk, who roamed around parts of
the ship while they were filming elsewhere… It’s pretty spooky to
see the flooded ship empty of passengers, a bit like you would
imagine its first few moments at the bottom of the ocean. It’s
interesting to note that Anders Falk was also one of the two big
Swedish guys who bunked with Leo and his pal in their 3rd class
|Videomatic (5 minutes): A brief look at some
pre-visualization shots by Cameron made prior to the shoot. They
were especially important for the deep dive shots since each round
trip to the wreck lasted about sixteen hours and they could only
shoot about twelve minutes of film.
|Visual Effects (8 minutes): A quick run through four key
scenes of the movie with the different layers of composition added
progressively up to the final product. It’s fairly interesting
although ten years later, these techniques no longer hold too many
secrets. It’s still pretty cool when you learn they were used in
some instances were you would never have noticed or even imagined
they could be.
|Photo Galleries: Tons of pictures for your viewing
pleasure! A total of eight different photo galleries range through
several topics with hundreds of pictures for you to go through.
Several involve the thoroughly scrumptious Ms. Winslet. |
At the risk of being scoffed at by many, I have long proclaimed
myself a huge fan of this film. I don’t mind sitting through Kate and
Leo’s romance in order to enjoy a wonderful film that always manages to
squeeze some water out of the rock that is my head. Heck, I even enjoy
it so give yourself a chance to and make sure you put your hands on this
long-awaited special edition that contains plenty of very worthwhile
footage in addition to a classic film. A highly recommended