Did you know that it takes a solid two hours before they even hit the iceberg? And yet, whereas other movies have me glancing at my phone before 90 minutes are up, the plotting and pacing is so well laid out here that you transition into the sinking portion of the movie seamlessly. The sinking occurs basically in real time, close to an hour. Never before had I appreciated how things progress from the minor annoyance of a few inches of water filling the third-class cabins to the passengers watching in horror as the ship goes nose-first into the Atlantic and they’re tipped up in the air like some nauseating carnival ride.
There’s at least one shot where the camera is right over Rose and Jack’s shoulders and you feel as if you’re also dangling off the railing staring down into the ocean swallowing up this massive liner. It lasts for only a beat or two, but it took our breath away.
Rose’s Bad Decisions
Yes, Titanic 3D doesn’t do much to change the fact that a lot of Rose’s motivations are selfish. Yes, she dangles off the side of a ship looking for attention because she’s trapped into an engagement, even though breaking things off would mean, at worst, that she and her mother actually had to find jobs. Yes, she needs Jack to give her every piece of common sense in escaping the ship: How to wield an ax, how to fight off the guards who won’t let steerage to the lifeboats; how to stay awake in the freezing Atlantic so she doesn’t die of hypothermia. My patience for Rose ran thin in many parts.
However, the one point I will concede is the controversial “I’ll never let go” line. It’s easy to mock Rose for one minute promising Jack that she’ll never let go and then dropping his corpse when the lifeboat comes by. But in rewatching that scene, I realized that it wasn’t literal: He asks her to reach within herself and find the strength to live, both lying on that door in the Atlantic and after he inevitably dies and she has to reinvent herself. You really gain an appreciation for Leonardo DiCaprio‘s performance here: Jack can feel his body breaking down and knows that he has limited time to impart his greatest lesson to Rose.
So yes, Rose does let go of Jack, but she never forgets his love and what he taught her. Somehow it took a giant IMAX screen for me to realize this.
Did you know that you never actually hear the lyrics to “My Heart Will Go On” during the movie? This was news to me, as I was all prepared to belt out along with Celine Dion. But by the time she started crooning over the credits, I was sobbing too hard to sing along. Maybe it’s personal: I’m going through a break-up, and I kept thinking, “If Jack and Rose could find each other again, why not me and my ex?” (It was 1 a.m.; I’m not proud of this.)
But I think it was larger than that. Seeing Titanic in such scope really places you within Cameron’s world, from falling in love to the terror of the ocean liner sinking. And James Horner‘s score! I swoon for that music. Like I said, the 3D somehow managed to enhance everything in this movie, the emotional beats as well as the technological wonder. I wholeheartedly recommend you slap on some 3D glasses and bring the tissues.