Titanic: James Cameron, Director; Paramount Home Video; Letterbox
Laserdisc, 4 Sides; English Dolby Digital 5.1; 194 Minutes
I know these are supposed to be DVD reviews, but this film, the all-time box-office biggie, has yet to appear in that format, but was recently released on LD. I guess that up until I bought this set, beautifully packaged for the 12″ format, I was the only North American to have not seen Titanic, not having experienced it in the movie theatre.
From such films as Terminator 2 and True Lies I had some idea of what to expect: a story overwhelmed by technology and special effects. However, here we have neither futuristic gadgets nor Arnie.
It’s pointless to criticize a movie that won 11 Oscars and that everybody’s seen, especially every teenaged girl. So many people enjoyed and were immersed in the spectacular drama, overacted and painted with a broad (and very expensive) brush, that one just has to accept it as it is.
The laserdisc edition brings to smaller screens as much as it is possible to retain of the film’s grand scope through THX processing and quality control, and looks very good. The 2-disc edition also nicely breaks into two evening’s enjoyable viewing, the Pause control always at hand for refreshment breaks (I wonder how many people peed in their seats during the course of this film?) Titanic will probably look even better on DVD, and I’ll be intrigued to compare them. Except for those viewers wanting a French or other-language soundtrack, it probably won’t sound any better, the Titanic Dolby Digital soundtrack here very carefully crafted and meticulously mixed, as are those of all James Cameron’s films.
The ship doesn’t hit the iceberg until nearly the end of side 2, so most of the special effects of the ship’s sinking are found on sides 3 and 4, though the recreation of the lavish ship interiors is glorious to behold on the first disc. This film is a feast for the eyes and ears, if not for the intellect, and looked gorgeous on our 51″ screen. Maybe I’ll go see it in the theatre next time around for the reeeeally big show.