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Post 0

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 - 12:25amSanction this postReply
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Bummer.  Life is the Titanic.  We are all doomed. 

Jack the All-American Boy has all the qualities for success: artistic talent, self-esteem, brains, pluck, good sense -- and yet he dies.  The girl he has to drag around survives.

Jack is the perfect American.  He does not hate the aristocrats.  He flat out does not "get" it.  He cannot understand how some people can be "better" than others any more than he could write a grammar on Chinese after listening to a married couple quarrel in Mandarin.  He is perfectly frank, open, honest, honest with himself and therefore with others.  He is talented and he believes in himself. 

The portrayal of the rich as idle aristocrats is another issue entirely.  Why did they not meet Jacques Futrelle or Washington Roebling or John Jacob Astor?
("He was not, however, one of the world's "idle rich," for his life of forty-seven years was a well-filled one. He had managed the family estates since 1891; built the Astor Hotel, New York; was colonel on the staff of Governor Levi P. Morton, and in May, 1898, was commissioned colonel of the United States volunteers. After assisting Major-General Breckinridge, inspector-general of the United States army, he was assigned to duty on the staff of Major-General Shafter and served in Cuba during the operations ending in the surrender of Santiago. He was also the inventor of a bicycle brake, a pneumatic road-improver, and an improved turbine engine.") (Archives at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/)  In our age, we want the rich to lose their money and blow their brains out.

All of the concrete politics aside, the fact that Jack's good qualities do not save him sinks the movie for me.

Even so, the movie presented valuable portraits of courage.  There were some great scenes.  I gave up a sob when they showed the guys at the electrical controls.  When the shit hits the fan, you stand your post and do your job.  I also agree with judgment on the portrayal of the musicians: courage from those in whom you might least expect it.  "Shall we play?"




Post 1

Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 10:47pmSanction this postReply
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Gee, I'm suprised this movie entry hasn't had more comment.

To paraphrase James Cameron's thoughts on the movie: Titanic had been made twice before. The story and the fateful ending were well known. So, why remake it and if you do, how to maintain suspense and an produce an original denoument?

JC simply, and brilliantly, used the portent of Titanic's maiden voyage as the backdrop to a classic love story. That was his only trick and he said so. All else was nothing more (!) than exquisite production and direction.

You know, (and I'm pretty sure I've got this right :)), George Lucas (re Star Wars) made the comment that you should spend millions of dollars on the sets, then don't shoot them. His point was that you don't want to say to the audience: Hey, look at this. Big Production values. I'll linger on them so you can be truly appreciative of our genius!

Same with Titanic. Sure we all know what's gonna happen. It's like great porn. She (the ship, ahem) always gets it in the end. So Cameron uses THAT hoary old story as the vehicle upon which DiCaprio and Winslet ride.

By the time that Miss Titanic is going down for the big plunge, we don't really care. It's Jack and Rose that we are interested in and Titanic's painful demise is nothing more than a wonderful stage upon which our lovers struggle.

Ahh. It's a good thing from any angle. Vive!

Ross Elliot
(Kate Winslet Stalker, Extraordinaire)



Post 2

Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 11:42pmSanction this postReply
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Yes! Titanic is my favourite movie. It was glorious romanticism, and it sold accordingly.

There were elements of this movie that could have come straight out of an Ayn Rand novel. Rose's line to her disgusting Keating-esque fiance that, in reference to Jack, "I'd rather be his whore than your wife" still makes me cheer every time. Any judgment of this movie on essentials would show that this is a movie about individualism, about Rose rejecting the altruistic belief that she must live for the sake of her mother and instead finding not simply a love, but a freedom (I don't think it's an accident Rose is depicted in front of the Statue of Liberty upon arrival on the rescue ship to New York). The scene where Rose starts to be lowered in the life boat with her mother and is seen to consciously make the choice to jump back on board to be with Jack in spite of all the danger is one of the most beautiful cinematic depictions of free will I've ever seen.

Critics--from Leonard Peikoff in his disgraceful "review" to certain other monstrosities who said that "the best bit was seeing Leonardo DiCaprio sink to the bottom of the ocean"--either have a perfectionistic, intrinsicist chip on their shoulder (like Peikoff) or have no sense of the heroic in their ugly view of life.

I saw this movie at the cinema eight times. Thanks, Matthew, for posting your review here.

(Edited by Cameron Pritchard on 2/13, 11:44pm)




Post 3

Monday, February 14, 2005 - 12:19amSanction this postReply
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Ross - your memory fails you. Titanic was discussed with much sound & fury, signifying plenty, in one of SOLO's previous incarnations. Don't you remember the "monstrosity" Cam refers to saying that any movie that ended with Leonardo at the bottom of the sea had to have something going for it? (Clearly, Leonardo was already too old for this piece of ooze.)

Linz



Post 4

Monday, February 14, 2005 - 1:46amSanction this postReply
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Nice to see a few more comments on this. I may actually watch my DVD of this later today as it's Valentine's day :-)

I absolutely agree that what makes the movie special is the emphasis on Jack and Rose's relationship, with the disaster simply a background (though a powerful and dramatic one). James Cameron is definitely one of the best directors on the Hollywood scene.

I've read the transcripts of Peikoff's "reviews" on his radio show - I gather he hadn't even seen the movie when the first one was broadcast!!

The previous discussion on SOLO must've been before my time. It is still on the web somewhere?

MH




Post 5

Monday, February 14, 2005 - 7:23amSanction this postReply
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Cameron,

The scene in which Rose leaps out of the lifeboat is one of the most poignant of the entire movie, and what set me to sobbing in the movie theater.  (Yes, embarrassing but unpreventable.)

Not only was I moved by her utter individualism, but also by the idea that she would rather die at the side of the man she loved than return to a world in which she did not want to play a part.

And don't get me started on the musicians, the crew, the captain...what heart-wrenching scenes.

Whatever is said to criticize this movie, I found it captured the essence of free will, both in the characters of Jack and Rose.  I read somewhere that Peikoff did criticize it without even seeing it.  (No surprises there, folks.)

Jennifer

(Edited by Jennifer Iannolo on 2/14, 7:26am)




Post 6

Monday, February 14, 2005 - 3:50pmSanction this postReply
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I tried the wonderful "Jack, look I am flying" scene out on Jennifer when she was here.

However, we weren't on a ship at the time ;-)




Post 7

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 8:48amSanction this postReply
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"I'd rather be his whore than your wife"

I cheered at this line too Cameron. Probably my favorite line in the movie.

John



Post 8

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 9:13amSanction this postReply
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I confess that I liked "Titanic" quite a lot -- despite the fact that I thought the two fine lead actors were badly mismatched in terms of apparent age and maturity, and that the subplot noisily creaked and groaned with cliches, more loudly than the sounds of ship itself going down.

I admired the film for its attempted portrait of an intense romantic passion and devotion, however flawed its onscreen realization; for the awesome "reality" of the tragedy created by the special effects wizards; for the hauntingly beautiful score and theme song; and for Jack's intrepid, and (you're absolutely right) totally "American" sense of life and spirit. I went into the movie expecting to completely dislike Leo DiCaprio's character, but "he" won me over inside of five minutes.

So call this film one of my "guilty pleasures."

;^)

(Boy, will I catch hell for that last line from all the intrinsicists out there...)




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Post 9

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 9:15amSanction this postReply
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And don't forget a fine score by James Horner... I know, I know... you're all tired of "My Heart Goes On."  But that's not the half of it.  A terrific Oscar-winning soundtrack, especially to accompany the epic scenes of the ship's sinking.  I comment on it here, as part of my "Film Music February" list of "Songs of the Day."




Post 10

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 9:23amSanction this postReply
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Hey, Sciabarra, I love "My Heart Goes On," pal!!!!! Along with his full score, Horner composed a beautiful theme song, and Celine's delivery of it was, I think, one of the finest renditions of a pop song ever done. About 3 billion gadzillion people apparently agreed enough to make it a monster hit and an instant classic.




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Post 11

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 9:36amSanction this postReply
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"My Heart Will Go On" is just fine in my book.  :)  And Celine has one powerful voice. 



Post 12

Monday, August 28, 2006 - 10:55amSanction this postReply
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You truly don't realize how long this movie is. It was well done.




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