Reviews

Titanic (Special Edition)

4

So, what’s left to say about Cameron’s moist masterpiece? Beyond all the stories of piecemeal FX construction, hellish shoot, studio pressure, burgeoning budget... The big thing that we learn from this very special edition is just how much the cast and crew cared about the unwieldy tearjerker. Cameron’s gab is in-depth, thoughtful, almost tender – dissecting the movie with the light precision of an expert surgeon. He’s honest about the bits he hated (the original ending, for one) and overflowing with praise for Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Not bad for a man who claims at the start of his track that he feels a movie should speak for itself.

He’s followed by a messy cast and crew chat, with everyone from producer Jon Landau to the guy who played Irish Tommy (Jason Barry) chipping in with neat reveals. But the sweetest treat is the commentary from the movie’s historians, Don Lynch and Ken Marschall. Their deepest thrill was seeing the ship come to life, and their knowledge, enthusiasm and sheer love of the RMS Titanic peppers the disc with pathos and humour.

Celine Dion’s toxic video for ‘My Heart Will Go On’ is less killer, more filler, while the alternate ending (we won’t spoil it) proves Cameron was right to slash huge chunks from the final cut. Nice touches are the on/off info pods that pop up throughout, showing backstage footage and comments from the cast as the film plays on. It’s just a shame that you have to splash out on the four-disc Collector’s Edition to see the deleted scenes (stand-out being Jack and Rose snogging a bit too passionately). For completists, the quad-disc version also crams in a rack of mostly old production docs.

And the film itself? After eight years, it still entertains with its smart CGI and slick storytelling, in spite of the wafer-thin characterisation and blatant emotional manipulation. Certain moments – the ship’s rollercoaster ride to its watery tomb; Rose releasing Jack’s cold, dead hands just as she croaks, “I’ll never let go!” – will forever set your chin wobbling, if you have a trace of humanity in your jaded being. But it’s that sweeping, swooning final shot as Rose is reunited with Jack that will always set us a-snivelling. Having hotwired his love story with such a universal emotional charge, it’s no wonder Cameron felt like king of the world.

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