out of Five
Running time: 192
Fifteen years on, James Cameron's epic romance-slash-disaster blockbuster has lost none of its extraordinary power – this is a thoroughly gripping, emotionally powerful, genuinely thrilling and, yes, achingly romantic drama with jaw-dropping special effects and star-making performances from DiCaprio and Winslet.
What's it all about?
Directed by James Cameron and getting a 3D version rerelease just in time for the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking, Titanic (1997) stars Leonardo DiCaprio as steerage kid Jack Dawson, who wins a ticket for the Titanic in a card game minutes before the 'unsinkable'
passenger liner begins its maiden voyage in April 1912. Once on board, Jack meets frustrated, art-loving socialite Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate
Winslet) and the pair fall madly in love, despite the fact that Rose is engaged to pompous steel heir Cal Hockley (Billy Zane). However, when the Titanic hits an iceberg, Jack and Rose are forced into a desperate race for survival as the ship begins to sink.
It makes a nice change to see DiCaprio happy and smiling again after his recent string of decidedly downbeat roles and he's terrific here, sparking powerful chemistry with Winslet (who's never looked more
beautiful) and delivering a likeable, energetic performance that effortlessly carries the film through its pre-iceberg scenes. Winslet is equally good, particularly in the latter half where she turns feisty action heroine (the scene where she wades through a flooding corridor with an axe to rescue Jack is one of several great sequences) and there's strong support from Zane (practically twirling his moustache as Cal), David Warner (as Cal's sinister right-hand man) and Kathy Bates as the 'unsinkable' Molly Brown.
The 3D effects on the reissue are extremely impressive, giving a palpable sense of the sheer scale of the ship, most notably in any scene that involves looking over the side. Similarly, the horrific sequence when the ship splits in half and people start plunging from one end to the other is given additional depth in 3D and makes a powerful emotional impact.
The various criticisms of Titanic are all still valid (the dialogue is frequently cheesy, the below decks Irish stereotyping is a little over the top, the lengthy book-ending sequences - with Bill Paxton and Gloria Stuart - could easily have been shortened and the less said about the sex scene the better), but in terms of sheer jaw-dropping spectacle, there's simply nothing to beat it. In particular, from the moment the iceberg hits the film is a perfectly structured, powerfully emotional and genuinely thrilling, edge-of-your-seat masterpiece.
Hugely enjoyable, powerfully moving and thoroughly gripping, Titanic 3D is an unmissable experience on the big screen thanks to stunning special effects, superb direction and terrific performances from its two young leads. Highly recommended.