Monday, 9 December 2013

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS: TITANIC

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS

11. TITANIC (1997, dir. James Cameron)

09/12/2013

*

As is the case with idle chat while at work, I overheard a couple of people talking about what they didn't like about "Titanic", as is their wont. They had started off by not liking the love story, which is an appropriate observation when you think that it the film essentially adds a romantic plot to an enormous human disaster, but they then pointed out the other atrocity of how the gates were closed on the third class passengers, causing many to be doomed to death, reflecting both the opinion between the classes of a hundred years ago, and the deliberate segregation on ocean liners at the time to preserve sensibilities, before one-class cruise trips began in the 1930s.

However, the gravitas was ruined when one other person mentioned they liked the bit where one person fell off the stern of the ship as it was sinking, hitting the propellers on the way down - my sole addition to the conversation was to suggest they should see the 3D version released last year.

The outrange I did originally heard resulted from the subjective position in which an audience is made, not invited, to sit when they are watching a film - I say "made" because, if you are going to watch a film properly, you have to give in to it, suspending your disbelief, as watching with a critical eye will take you too far away from the attention the filmmaker wants you to give to the story.

This is why there was such an uproar over General Zod's neck being snapped by Superman in this year's "Man of Steel" - no spoiler alert is required, as it has been out long enough. The audience had identified with Superman right the way up to that moment, and then they were presented with an ultimate moral conundrum of the sort that, thankfully, you only ever have to hear or watch - with the destruction of Metropolis, and many thousands of implied deaths, if the only available option to make the destruction stop was to kill the killer, and you had the ability to do it, would you?

That's not for me to say, but it made for a powerful ending.

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