My only fond memory of Titanic is from a student exchange trip to Russia, when I saw a middle-aged Russian man rocking a Titanic-themed t-shirt plastered with Leonardo DiCaprio’s face.
Back when I was in high school, and this movie was all the rage, and Celine Dion was inescapable, and I was cynical of anything pop culture, I vowed to myself that I would never watch Titanic. And until now, I’ve been able to keep that promise.
I knew the obvious plot points, of course – the boat sinking, the doomed love story, something about a naked drawing, old lady framing device. I recognized some other random moments thanks to various parodies or references in other media, such as the Irish jig replicated in Battlestar Galactica or that episode of Futurama, or that other episode of Futurama. But I finally had to see the whole film to truly appreciate how stupid it is.
You would think that a movie about a massive ship sinking would carry enough drama and gravitas on its own, but no: this movie also has to add a ridiculous MacGuffin to explain why some guy would be sending submersibles to search the wreckage, and why a little old lady would travel by helicopter to the middle of the ocean to tell her granddaughter and a bunch of strangers about the time she lost her virginity. What happened to the giant valuable diamond? Who cares, because its existence and disposal is completely meaningless!
Right around the time a normal movie would be wrapping it up in time for the closing credits, the iceberg finally strikes. Trivia point: both in real life and on film, the impact took 37 seconds, which happens also to be the 37 seconds that I stopped paying attention. I actually liked the way people mostly didn’t really get the severity of the situation for a while; that felt genuine based on every disaster I’ve been witness to.
But what didn’t feel genuine was the way Jack and Rose decide to go traipsing back and forth through flooded sections of the ship, completely impervious to the cold temperatures. And the absurd gun fight when Billy Zane decides he’d much rather shoot Jack than hop in the lifeboat. When the stern splits off from the bow and slams back into the ocean, the people on deck suffer little more than a faint shudder, because physics. While I’m complaining about inanities, I’d also like to point out how stupid it is that a charcoal drawing survived 80 years in a waterlogged safe.
Did cold-hearted Bridget get emotional watching this film? Okay, I’ll admit that I did – but it was when they showed all the second- and third-class passengers who clearly weren’t going to make it out alive, not when Jack was cheerfully turning himself into an icicle.
At least Rose finally gets to share her story of lost love. “He exists only in my memory, which is why I like to imagine him looking like Leonardo DiCaprio.”
Thank God I took on this project, because otherwise I never would have experienced the pure face-palming that is Titanic. And with that, gentle readers, I’m finished! Next week, I’ll do a summary post or two, along with a ranking (of either the whole list, or maybe only part, depending on how lazy/busy I am. Thanks for joining me on this journey!
Theme: On a Boat
First Time Watching? Yes
Final Verdict: I have a sinking feeling…