Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

‘Titanic’ still sinks, stinks

Our wonderful Penrose is unfortunately endowed with many, many awful movies. Luckily, however, its selection is not mired by ‘Scary Movie’ by-products and ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ tangents. But it is mired by a slew of cinematic overrated exaggerations that somehow managed to make the Academy melt come Oscar time, the worst of which is the 1997 undeserving James Cameron blockbuster, “Titanic.”

The input: $200 million. The output: poor acting and an unrealistic drama, laced with predictability throughout. Today, somehow, it remains the highest grossing film in the world at $1.8 billion.

For those lucky souls out there who have yet to see this modern-day cliché, “Titanic”
is the story, told anecdotally at the age of nearly 101, of upper-class Southampton girl Rose Calvert and lower-class voyeur-cum-painter Jack Dawson aboard the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic, the largest passenger ship in the world at the time.

Their first ‘hello,’ like their last ‘goodbye,’ is purely absurd. Jack finds Rose at the heart of a suicide attempt. It is not clear to the audience at this point whether Rose’s self-destruction is caused by some sort of love-gone-awry situation or a serious mental illness. Nevertheless, he pulls her chestnuts out of the fire and they almost instantly develop a friendship, love-triangle with her fiancé and foreshadow an already-predictable tragic-love ending.

An oak panel of the ship manages to sever the relationship between Jack and Rose. Rose stays afloat as Jack heroically lets go and sinks into the freezing Atlantic abyss. ‘He saved her by sacrificing his life… Aww, how sweet’ is the automatic gut response to an ending that yearned for a realistic yet interesting twist, a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque parallel death or merely any interesting deviant from the rest of this 3 and a half hour-old monotonous, uninspiring
crock pot of a movie.

Agreeable critics point to the movie’s accurate depiction of class struggle on board the ship between first-class deck and the third-class deck. Seriously? If class struggle is what you’re after, look no further than “Crash,” “The Bicycle Thief” or “Tsotsi.” Jack may have been a poor painter at the beginning of the century, but he was not impeded by the overwhelming cultural forces of racism, poverty or slum-life, respectively.

Other agreeable critics point to a depth of romantic narrative comparable to “Gone With the Wind.” I have not yet seen the 1939 ‘classic,’ perhaps because of its 238 minute running time or my hostility toward ‘golden age’ Hollywood films [Ed. – Well, Becquer, you better get on that.], but if it is truly as good as they say, I doubt it follows an unimaginative plot of “Titanic” proportions: girl about to marry rich snob; girl meets less-rich, funny nice-guy; girl falls in love with nice-guy, creating tension between nice-guy and snob; nice-guy somehow (usually tragically) gets girl in the end. C’mon, even “Atonement” and “The Notebook” were more gripping than that.

If anything is worth complimenting, it should be the movie’s cutting-edge graphics
(bear in mind it was made in 1997). But you shouldn’t ever watch a movie for its aesthetic value.

If you have 3 hours and a half to kill and yearn for some fictitious 1912 background noise, then check out “Titanic.” Or if you feel like re-watching the first-ever PG-13 movie you saw in, say, in third grade, then check out “Titanic.” But if not, don’t bother;
you didn’t miss anything.

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