Titanic ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This isn't the French body horror film I imagined.

I put off seeing this for a long time. I hated Avatar so much that I really wanted to dislike this. I'm sure some of me putting this off was a prideful thing of wanting to be a cool contrarian guy who hasn't seen this, but now, I couldn't care less about that kind of crap, and I was pleasantly surprised by this.

Sure, some of the writing is just SO bad--dialogue like, "Of course it's unfair. We're women," or, "We never found anything on Jack." The use of a Greek chorus telling the audience how to feel felt way too obvious to me, and it even breaks the rules of the framing device where there are several scenes that don't involve the main character. And while some people love the soundtrack, it just doesn't hold up to me and feels ridiculous corny and repetitive. And given the love for the musicians who went down with the ship, did we really need so much synth in the score?!

But all of those moments are easily forgotten in the scope of things, since this movie kind of breaks a lot of standard movie rules. As much as I love huge, sprawling movies like There Will Be Blood and Synecdoche, New York, I can't think of anything else that feels quite this epic. It's hard to even imagine someone constructing these giant sets and then flooding them these days (Nolan is the only one I can think of) instead of just using CGI for everything. For such a long movie, it has pretty good pacing. It takes a lot of time making you care about or at least understand these characters before this insane tragedy takes place. A weaker director might have cut away from a giant crowd of people literally screaming themselves to death, but the last 30 minutes of this are just pure terror. We didn't need to see a real life portrayal of white walkers, but James Cameron delivered. Side note: when I have nightmares about death, the worst feeling in the world is a sense that I will die very soon. In a lot of ways, it shouldn't have been surprising that this gave me nightmares last night.

As for the end, it really feels like there should have been a message here rather than this corny love stuff. I guess I never emotionally connected to the characters who were doing a fairly standard rushed romantic triangle that takes place over the course of a couple days. It feels a little bit like the plot in the last 30 minutes just exists to move the characters from one set to the next, because it doesn't seem to server any deeper purpose. The scene where Jack is running away from Caledon shooting at him in a sinking boat feels like a hat on a hat.

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