Back to Titanic

Last year, Top Gun: Maverick became the first film that I’d ever watched three times in the cinema. As of this weekend, James Cameron’s Titanic is the second – though, obviously, with much bigger gaps between viewings. I first saw the film in the summer of 1998 when it was still fresh as a cultural phenomenon; the second time was for its 3-D re-release in 2012, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the disaster itself. The latter experience made such an impression on me – and helped me to accept that Titanic really is my favourite film, after several years when liking it was considered uncool – that when I heard the film was going to be re-released again this February for its 25th anniversary, I was very excited to re-live that again.

And even though I’ve watched the film countless times at home and am familiar with every scene, this third cinema experience didn’t disappoint. I was a bit worried when a large family group came in just as the film was starting, but they were all well-behaved; one child was bouncing excitedly in his seat at the third-class dance scene. While the 3-D loses its novelty after a while, it doesn’t detract from anything either. It’s the surround sound that makes the real difference, making you aware of every subtle musical cue and background dialogue that you might overlook watching at home; it serves to make the final stages of the sinking especially intense.

Most of all, I was simply happy to just sit down in a movie theatre for three hours and let my favourite film fully absorb my attention. We all have that film that’s made a particular impact on us. Titanic had a big influence on my interest in history – an interest which has led me on quite a few journeys I wouldn’t have taken otherwise; it was also the first real epic I can remember seeing, and it was a great demonstration of the power of cinema. The magnificent historical spectacle, and the engaging love story and emotional journey playing out within it, still draw me in after nearly twenty-five years. Seeing Titanic again the way it was meant to be seen, was wonderful. I even stayed through the end credits to listen to ‘My Heart Will Go On’ – and someone else sitting behind me did too.

Incidentally, my interview episode on the podcast Titanic Talkline was released a few weeks ago; I had an enjoyable discussion with host Aleksia Thirumalai about various Titanic media and a few other things. Aleksia has a wide range of guests on her podcast, all interested in Titanic in different ways, so it’s definitely worth checking out. I also recommend the podcast Unsinkable by L.A. Beadles, which explores both Titanic media and history, like telling the stories of notable passengers.


About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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