Cameron's dazzling Titanic 3D revamp confirms its epic power

Apr 5, 2012

It's long and melodramatic, but the Winslet and DiCaprio romance can still stagger and thrill

What you need to know
Titanic 3D is a re-release of James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster, updated in 3D format to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the April 1912 sinking of the White Star Line's RMS Titanic.

The film is a fictionalised account of the infamous tragedy, focusing on a doomed love affair between wealthy female passenger Rose, played by Kate Winslet, and poor artist Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

The 3D stereoscopic version has been created under the guidance of the original director, James Cameron, who popularised the 3D format with his 2009 feature Avatar, one of the most successful films in cinema history.

What the critics like
Fifteen years on and the Ship Of Dreams sails again, says Phil de Semlyen in Empire. Titanic shows how good the conversion process can look, especially with Cameron at the wheel. The results are impressive, subtle and tactile and "reason enough to revisit the director's icescapade". The big-screen romance is "every bit as epic as you remember" and the great ship's final hours are a cinematic tour de force which "retains the power to stagger and thrill".

We know the story ends badly, says Cath Clarke in Time Out, but Cameron still sweeps us up in the romance between Winslet's rebellious posh girl and DiCaprio's steerage kid. The 3D is dazzling, "conveying the vastness of the ship in a way that will hit vertigo sufferers in the bladder".

The 3D is applied with intelligence and restraint, says Robbie Collin in The Daily Telegraph. Scenes that benefit from the extra dimension get it, but the more intimate moments don't. And even without plastic glasses, viewers can appreciate that "this film is a once-in-a-generation Hollywood epic that ages without dating, transcends target audiences and is simply too big for genre".

What they don't like
CGI spectacle doesn't age gracefully, not even with a 3D facelift, says Nick Pinkerton in The Village Voice. Today, Titanic must float or sink on the enduring charisma of its young stars. But Winslet's rebellious Rose suffers from Cameron's "feminist" pandering script, especially, in the current pop-culture of matter-of-fact warrior-women. And contemporary 16-year-olds may not "swoon quite the same way for Leo, knowing that Jack has become the burly and brooding DiCaprio of latter years".  

It's backside-achingly long with a level of melodrama to make Gone with the Wind blush, says Cath Clarke in Time Out, and Celine Dion's theme song hasn't improved with age. But distance "drifts a puffy cloud of nostalgia over its faults".

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