Watching ‘Titanic’ For The First Time as a 21 Year Old.

Titanic‘! It’s quite possibly the most popular film of all time and yet I have only just now seen it for the very first time as a 21-year-old thanks to the 25th Anniversary 3D Re-Release. It’s a movie that I’ve avoided all my life because why on Earth would I watch a three-hour movie about a devastating shipwreck, especially when I know that Jack and Rose don’t make it out together. Why would I put myself through that? Yet the universe decided that it is high time I finally do watch it.

Growing up in the early 2000s, you could still feel the wave of popularity that this movie created. I don’t even remember the first time I heard about this movie, I highly doubt anyone does but what I do remember from my childhood is getting absolutely terrified by it. I don’t recall ever seeing the movie on television when I was young but I do remember seeing the music video for Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On‘ and seeing those clips spliced in just horrified me. Seeing those people fall off the ship to their doom and Leo and Kate looking wet, cold and horrified, made me feel so incredibly uneasy. it’s funny looking back on it now but whenever those first few notes start playing, I would just get sad and put off. So growing up with that connection to the movie definitely made it hard for me to ever even consider watching it. People would be absolutely disgusted that I haven’t seen it and I would look confused at them and ask them, you wanted to see that, on purpose? Again, it’s funny because it stayed this way till this very January when during our stay in Manchester, they played it on the TV in our hotel room and I had no other option but to watch. It was quite late and the movie being as long as it is, we didn’t end up watching it fully but I admit that I was engrossed by it, the filmmaking was truly beautiful to see. Then the ship started breaking apart and all that horror caused by it as a child resurfaced and I got mad at the movie, I genuinely got pissed at the movie thinking why would James Cameron put us through all this to make us feel sad like I did not sleep well that night.

Fast-forward to February and Disney and 20th Century Studios are re-releasing the movie in 3D for its 25th Anniversary. I was actually pretty pleased about this because I thought, how cool would it be for me to experience this movie for the first time fully on the big screen? I asked a friend if they wanted to watch it with me, she was one of those people that was shown it as a child which I still cannot fathom why anyone would want a child to watch ‘Titanic‘ but nevertheless she said yes and we had this cute friend date. She simped for Fabrizio and I got reduced to a rights-less simp for Leonardo DiCaprio, YES LOOK AWAY. The audience was quite full and some were interactive which was fun. We started cheering silently when old Rose says ‘It’s been 84 years’. We both turned feral at the ‘I want you to draw me like one of your French girls.’ scene, only I was feral through the entire three hours or basically whenever Jack was on-screen. It’s quite funny that during the intermission I went and got some candy and the intermission happens right before the shipwreck so the second half was just devastation and believe it or not, it turned off my appetite. It is just such an amazing but terrifying second half. The build-up of tension, and the inventive nature of the problems that Jack and Rose have to overcome. The inner realization that had you been on this ship, you would’ve most likely lost all hope, it is just so grim but with it being the spectacle that James Cameron turned it into, you cannot look away.

As for the romantic epic that is Jack and Rose’s story, I get it now. Leo and Kate are just perfect. DiCaprio carries this effortless charisma and charm, it makes it impossible to not fall in love with him. Winslet on the other hand is someone you want to root for to get out of that repressive lifestyle, that being said, her directness and strength are what make her such a likeable character. The two together work like magic, the chemistry is undeniable. I love their entire journey to their iconic first kiss during sunset at the front of the ship, it is just as beautiful as I’d imagined. It was actually quite funny because I’d seen that image of them kissing so many times that it didn’t register to me that this was their first time kissing. It’s really commendable just how well this movie portrays something so tender, warm and beautiful and contrasts it with something so colossal, cold and crushing as the ship’s destruction mere moments later and balances the two throughout. Their will to stay together and save each other despite having known each other for two days and yet it’s like they didn’t know anyone who could look into their souls the way they did when they looked at each other, that’s Jack and Rose. The entire debate on the damn door or paddle board whatever it was is still spirited now as it was in 1997. I do think that they both could’ve fit but the weight would just pull them under. What I did think though is that they take turns or maybe Jack goes searching for something to hold onto. Cameron didn’t really do his best at convincing anyone that he couldn’t have survived.

After seeing both ‘Avatar‘ movies and now ‘Titanic‘, it’s quite apparent just how clear Cameron’s vision is. He is a master of thinking of small details to enhance the realism of a scene or how to come up with the most anxiety-inducing third act you’ve ever seen. Sequences like the key dropping in the water and they have to unlock the door before the water rises up to the top or when Rose has to go search for something to get Jack out of his handcuffs. It’s that genius that makes this movie stand out. No one and I mean no one does it like Cameron. The ship splitting apart and the upper part becoming vertical, the plates falling down, the tables flipping, the shot of that elderly couple in bed and the mother telling one final story to her two children embracing their fate as the water rises. The frustration of the lack of order and the destruction of the lifeboats, the two passengers hitting parts of the ship and falling into the ocean, or them sliding down the decks, this movie is so insanely memorable, it’s moments like these that make it stick and he manages to do this for a three-hour movie and I don’t think I’ve ever felt a three-hour movie pass by quickly. To hit us with that ending of Rose, in her last moments as she lays in a warm bed, and having that sequence where we’re treated to the glory of the ship and the colours and tones are warm again and we see Jack waiting for Rose by the clock at the top of the stairs and the two kiss, it’s bittersweet but it works, it’s not as tragic that way. It’s a truly fantastic ending.

Overall, it seems like I have now two movies directed by James Cameron that I turned away as a child and now become obsessed with. I am in awe of his directing and attention to detail and just inventive nature. I understand now why people love this movie so much, I’m even a fan of the Celine Dion song now which is truly insane because I’ve despised it for two decades now but now it’s entered the On Repeat playlist on Spotify. I really am so glad I got to see it in theatres, the 4K restoration was insanely good and the 3D while unnecessary still provided some cool depth to a few scenes. Overall, a hugely entertaining time. I get it now, I truly do.

Titanic‘ is still showing in a few select theatres as well as streaming on Disney Plus in select countries. Its also available on just about any form of physical media from Laserdisc to VHS to DVD and Blu-Ray to 4K and even 3D Blu-ray.


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