Titanic (1997) - 10th Anniversary Edition

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Romance
Paramount || PG13 - 194 minutes - $19.99 || November 20, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-12-07


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: James Cameron
Writer(s): James Cameron (written by)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill, Victor Garber


Theatrical Release Date: December 19, 1997


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Writer/Director Commentary
  • Cast and Crew Commentary
  • Historical Commentary
  • Branching To Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
  • Alternate Ending
  • Music Video


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), English (DTS-ES 6.1), English (Dolby Surround 2.0), French (Dolby Surround 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Surround 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Amazing as it is, it has been 10 years since Titanic steam-rolled its way into box office records and winning an astounding 11 Oscars in the process. Over the years, certain lines continue to be recited and with the help of James Cameron during his acceptance speech at the Oscars (“I’m the king of the world!”) and while this movie certainly has its fans, for some reason it’s also greatly hated as well.

I popped in Titanic for the first time in several years – last time was probably when the original DVD was released back in 1999 – and even after so many years, this movie stands up and is a classic in my book. What writer/director James Cameron did was nothing short of amazing. Where some films bring in a certain segment, Titanic was one that appealed to the masses between romance, drama and action and even still, Cameron masterfully splits the film between those genres making the first half a love story and the second half an action-adventure before wrapping it up with tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

In my second viewing although Leonardo DiCaprio was certainly good, it was Kate Winslet who shined showing why she received an Oscar nomination (along with Gloria Stuart who played her character’s older counterpart). I know there was much debate about DiCaprio not getting a nod while seemingly everyone else was getting recognized, but in all honesty, while his performance is certainly great, he didn’t standout with the rest in my opinion.

Also what makes this movie amazing, going outside the story and acting, is even in its early conception, the special effects was amazing. Obviously today it’d be done differently as Cameron did use plenty of on-set shooting to accomplish the climatic scenes but when you think of the 90s and effects, you get bad green screen and/or composite shots. Titanic might not be the best of the best compared to today’s special effects but I prefer that style over the George Lucas approach using it far too much while the story remained idle and uninvolving, two qualities Titanic doesn’t fail at.

Titanic is a movie I can honestly say stirred emotions that so few do – and I’m talking about in the history of film. There are only a handful of movies that are sincere with their emotions. This doesn’t force the audience to care about these character’s fates but instead grounds a story around them that allows one to be concerned for their outcome.

I realize I probably have to turn in my ‘man card’ or something for loving this movie but I don’t mind. This is how movies should be. Titanic is just as perfect as they come between Cameron’s writing and direction to an astounding pace for a three-hour movie to some incredible performances. Never again will there be anything like Titanic. Sure, plenty of movies could be as good but to have a movie that brought in so many in different age groups only adds to the film’s stature.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

After releasing a 3-Disc “Special Collector’s Edition” only two years ago, Paramount couldn’t resist going to well one more time, though this “10th Anniversary Edition” contains the same water, but a little more polluted. Before I delve into the features, I will mention that this 2-Disc set hold the same material as the first two discs of the “SCE” and, at the time of this writing (12/6/07), is actually more expensive as the 3-disc version can be found for under $10. So to get this set you would essentially be paying more for less material. Fantastic.

Commentary Tracks – A historical movie like this should receive the most when it comes to features and Titanic doesn’t disappoint as Paramount has provided 3 commentaries that between them, give insight into the making of the movie.

The first comes from writer/director James Cameron as he explains what, in the beginning, shots were the real Titanic on the bottom of the ocean floor and what were miniatures. He pretty much sticks with the accuracies from the interiors to known accounts of what happened on that fateful night.

Next is the cast and crew track that features a plethora of individuals from producers Jon Landau and Rae Sanchini, cast members Kate Winslet, Bill Paxton, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart and Bernard Hill to various cast members like the first assistant director and others. Despite the number of participants (and thankfully subtitles appear to show who is talking), this is a well edited track that gives a good amount of material about the making of the movie.

The historians’ track is probably the weakest of the three since it covers most of what’s already been discussed, especially by Cameron, but the two commentators (one the film’s historian, the other the visual historian) are a good pair and make the track listenable.

Behind the Scenes Mode (~64:00) – You can turn this feature on to watch with the film (pressing the “enter” button will take you to the vignettes) or they can be watched as one long featurette by using the “Play All” option. These average around 2-minutes each and although I’d prefer a professional, feature-length documentary, this gives a look at how the movie was made from using miniatures to mixing special effects with live footage.

Alternate Ending (9:23) – A bit different from the final ending is good but would’ve completely changed the emotional impact. Good to watch it on its own but Cameron made the right decision in cutting it. Cameron provides an optional commentary track.

The music video for Celine Deon’s Oscar winning song is also available.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Titanic is presented in anamorphic widescreen and a 2.35 OAR. I’ve seen movies younger than this that didn’t look all that good but this looks like a $200m+ movie should. Black levels are good with Cameron’s early 20th century matted coloring looks perfect. I didn’t notice any grains or dirt.

You get the choice of either a Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS tracks. You can’t go wrong using either and as much as I love DTS, I didn’t notice that big of a difference. I used the DD track for disc 1 and DTS for the second disc. DTS normally has more ‘oomph’ to it but it didn’t seem like it here. Now, it still sounds great, just not what I’m used to.



.::OVERALL::.

As great of a movie as Titanic is, I see no reason to buy this release with a far superior one already out there and at a cheaper price. There’s no new material and one can expect more releases in the future (20th Anniversary anyone?).