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Titanic in 3D

Titanic in 3D

Released 6 April 2012
Director James Cameron

Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton
Writer(s) James Cameron
Producer(s) James Cameron, Jon Landau
Origin United States
Running Time 194 minutes
Genre Drama
Rating 12A

That sinking feeling.

It was inevitable really. It was the highest grossing film of all time, won a record number of Oscars, and next week marks the 100 year anniversary of the event it depicts. A cinematic re-release for Titanic was unavoidable. And now we get to watch it in 3D. This too may have always been a foregone conclusion, given that it was writer/director James Cameron’s revolutionary Avatar which started the current fad for 3D. And while films which haven’t been shot specifically to be released in 3D (like Avatar was) can suffer from a shoddy 3D conversion in post-production, surely Cameron of all people could pull this off, couldn’t he?

In reality the result is mixed. Titanic was always a massive film, and on a big screen re-release in 3D it looks ever bigger. When the iceberg finally arrives (after one hundred long minutes) it leaps menacingly off the screen, and when the ill-fated ship finally starts to sink the stern stretches up out of the ocean and into the audience. As passengers tumble into the sea you’ll be ducking your head.

The problems with this film lie elsewhere. The plot has the same flat dialogue and slow pacing, to which the addition of 3D contributes no added buoyancy. The middle section is still too long, and for the hour it takes Jack and Rose to get acquainted the 3D is almost totally unnecessary and unnoticeable.

Titanic 3D also suffers from many of the problems that bug other films converted to 3D after being conventionally shot. The combination of the conversion process and wearing the dark glasses in a cinema can leave the picture on the screen appearing dark to the viewer. For a film in which the main action sequence takes place at night this is a major flaw. The 3D effect has also left scenes with a lot of motion appearing blurry, which also becomes painfully evident in the final sinking scenes.

However despite all, this Titanic 3D still looks amazing, and its ground-breaking visual effects are still impressive almost fifteen years after the film’s original release. Despite some visual hiccups the 3D does have its moments of true effectiveness, but overall it seems a little unnecessary. The truth is that Titanic always looked amazing on a big screen. 3D or not, Titanic still looks better than you remember from the last time you saw it on television at Christmas. Maybe next time it gets re-released they could cut twenty minutes off its running time, and maybe dub over some of those dodgy Irish accents in steerage class. That would be a real improvement.

- Bernard O’Rourke