SRP $29.99 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL/DTS 5.1 PARAMOUNT
 

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 interaction.

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!

 

 

 

 

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bulletFeature 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.
bullet“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 hours!
bulletAlternate 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.
bulletMusic 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!
bulletDeleted 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.
bullet“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.
bulletPress 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.
bulletConcept Posters and One-Shots: A stills gallery with posters and shots ranging from very cool to very cheesy.
bullet1912 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 time.
bulletConstruction 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.
bulletDeep 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.
bulletTitanic 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.
bulletTitanic 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 cabin.
bulletVideomatic (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.
bulletVisual 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.
bulletPhoto 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.

Final Thoughts

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