Very few movies have been able to captivate the entire world the way Titanic did. Whether it was the iconic, “you jump, I jump” scene, or the sneaky love affair, Titanic, in one way or another, touched nearly every viewer in many inspirational ways. James Cameron’s cinematic brilliance and devotion to innovative film effects combine in Titanic to create a film that will endure in our culture for years to come.
Probably the most essential part to Titanic’s greatness was the incredible acting. It received a nomination for Kate Winslet for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Gloria Stuart for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. People today are still livid that Leonardo Dicaprio didn’t get an Oscar for his role as Jack Dawson. Very few actors can bring out emotion from an audience together the way the Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet did. The two of them created a sense of true passion for the audience. And you can’t forget the powerful performances by iconic actors Billy Zane and Kathy Bates for their roles as supporting cast. The casting was brilliantly chosen as nearly every role seemed to be casted perfectly, and furthermore executed perfectly.
An element of Titanic that is very prominent is the concept of gender roles. Granted, the movie takes place in 1912 and since then gender roles have evolved greatly. However, Titanic gives us points to think about even in our modern times. Initially, only women and children were allowed to board the lifeboats, and because of that many more men died than women. So we ask ourselves, would we still begin to save the women and children, or would everyone be treated the same, man or woman? By only allowing women and children on the lifeboats, that is basically saying that men are more capable, which isn’t exactly true. But, on the other hand, men are generally more physically capable to survive in such conditions. Therefore, even in our evolved times today with gender equality we still struggle with the question of “who gets saved”.
After watching a romantic drama it is very rare that a person would think, “Wow! The effects in that movie were really good.” That is definitely not the case for Titanic. At the time, Titanic had the largest budget of any movie in history at about 200 million dollars. During its production people were very critical of the movie for spending so much money for special effects and props for a romantic drama. Once it was released, those critics were silent. The effects made the whole experience so much more life-like. It practically made you feel like you were there with Jack and Rose, which only added to the emotion of the film. James Cameron’s ability to visualize something in his mind, and then portray it for others to see is truly remarkable.
The real-life tragedy of the sinking of the RMS Titanic is so compelling in so many ways. For one, it is the only ship in history known to have been sunken due to damage done by an iceberg. Also, the ship was branded as the “ship of dreams” and the “unsinkable ship”, yet obviously those were untrue. Since the Titanic sunk, about 20 movies have been made, all different in style, yet one stands out of them all. Now there are many reasons why James Cameron’s Titanic reigns supreme, but it really all comes down to him. It’s no accident that two of the all-time highest grossing movies ever were made by him. It’s because he is not afraid to go color outside the lines, he challenges us to think about our society today. The transitions between the flashbacks and the scenes with recovery team could not be more fluidly elegant. If anyone has deserved an Oscar for their work on a movie it is James Cameron for Titanic. His love and curiosity for exploration is displayed to a tee.
There is something about movies that can just transport us to a new world, take us where we’ve never been, and experience feelings foreign to us. That’s why we love the movie industry so much. That’s why we idolize our actors and actresses. No movie better summarizes the true purpose of a movie than Titanic. Titanic takes us aboard the RMS Titanic and we experience all the luxury, the lust, the exhilaration, and the magnificence of the ship. It also makes us experience all the sadness, the fear, and the loss of the sinking. Now that really is something spectacular in a film.