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Titanic (1997)

Directed by James Cameron

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane

Jack Dawson (DiCaprio) is a young American artist who’s been traveling the world looking for ways to make a living. When he wins a ticket to sail on the Titanic he jumps at the chance to return to America. Once on board he soon connects with a young socialite named Rose (Winslet) who’s struggling with the arranged marriage she’s being pulled into. Their connection soon grows into a romance that defies the constraints of the different worlds they live in. This romance is tested when the Titanic runs into an iceberg and they’re forced to fight for survival.

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This film won eleven Oscars in 1998 a record it shares with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. These wins included a Best Picture win over some great movies including As Good as It Gets, Good Will Hunting, and L.A. Confidential. James Cameron also directed himself to a Best Director Oscar, the first of his career. Among the other wins were Best Score, Best Song, Best Sound, and Best Editing. This film also won Oscars for Art Direction, Sound Effects, Visual Effects, Set Design, and Costume Design. In addition to the critical success, this movie also broke box office records, grossing over $650,000,000 to date.

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The success of this film comes from the incredible visuals used to tell a story on a massive scale. The visual effects allow the Titanic to come to life from the very first moments of the movie. The sets and costumes add further success to the feel of the story. This film set a new standard for the quality of visual effects thanks to the uncompromising demands of director James Cameron and the work of digital effects company Digital Domain. Together they created a more realistic picture of the sinking of the Titanic than had ever been seen on film.

In addition to the visuals this movie also has nice sound and camera work. All the technical aspects were there to support a large-scale film such as this. This includes James Horner’s wonderful score which included one of the more recognized original songs from a film made in the last 20 years.

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The acting in this movie has its own successes. Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) and Kate Winslet (The Holiday) anchored a well-known cast that included Kathy Bates (Misery), Francis Fisher (Unforgiven), Bill Paxton (Haywire), and Billy Zane (Zoolander). DiCaprio is undoubtedly the star of this film, giving another great performance to add to his impressive resume. Kate Winslet also has good moments, but her performance didn’t leave me feeling overly impressed. Despite an overly emotional script, the rest of the cast does a nice job with the story. The intense action scenes also create a nice amount of drama for all the characters in the film. Allowing the big picture to shine through the romantic baseline of Jack and Rose.

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Overall, this movie has all the technical success that you could ask for. From an emotional standpoint it leaves a little to be desired. Still, it’s a good movie with some memorable moments throughout. If you haven’t seen Titanic you may want to take the time. It is over three hours long, so make sure you’re ready to invest the time. In exchange you’ll see a good movie with groundbreaking visuals. I give this one 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 194 minutes


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