Friday, March 30, 2012

Going down with the ship again: one Titanic reaction

Last Saturday morning we caught a showing of The Hunger Games (in IMAX), which was intended to be a birthday surprise for my wife (although she wasn't completely surprised she was still excited). However, that's not our topic du jour.

No, I must address something that happened before the film even started.

We stood in line outside the theater, and remarked on how we couldn't remember the last the last time we stood in line for a movie. (We tend to avoid the madness of opening weekends, as we are, you know, not teenagers. For me I think the last time I was inclined to queue up for a movie was last century, but the exact time is not important.) Anyway, while waiting outside we couldn't help but notice the large sign for the coming re-release of Titanic in 3-D, and I told the tale of how back at the time that movie came out I saw it three times in the theater. I clarified I was forced to see it three times in the theater. The first time I was fine with it, and thought it was okay, but then getting roped into seeing it another two times was two times more than I really ever needed to experience it. Even if paid to do so I wouldn't go to this 3-D version; my saturation for Cameron's at-best-mediocre epic was reached long ago.

Then after we were seated in the big theater and the previews commenced showing on the immense screen the inevitable trailer for Titanic 3-D came on, which was pretty much what I recall the original trailer featuring but interspersed with cards touting the extra dimension offered this time to entice the fans to plop down the money for the higher ticket prices. I regarded the familiar glimpses of Leonardo and Kate standing at the bow of the ship and the cry of "Iceberg! Dead ahead!" and whatnot with an expected level of dismissive cynicism.
Then in a montage of shots from the sequence where the ship is going down the one featuring the elderly couple lying in each other's arms on the bed as the water rose around them in their compartment flashed on the huge screen, and I found myself having to actively fight back tears. Next to me I could hear my wife start sobbing and reaching into her purse for tissues.

Both of us were very surprised that single image, out of all the scenes of people plummeting to their deaths in the icy water, had such a visceral and immediate effect on us on such an emotional level, especially in my case given my nigh-disdain for the whole thing now. However, I do think if that doesn't get to you then you are one cold-hearted motherf*cker.

I mean, that's something where even the Terminator would look at that and get misty.

Curse you, James Cameron.


Hunger Games was a good movie that I did enjoy (and if I saw it again wouldn't start to hate), but perhaps one of the best things about it: It's not in 3-D.

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