The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Titanic 3D’: Why You Shouldn’t See It

Kevin Noonan | Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Today, James Cameron exposes his latest get-rich-quick scheme to the world – “Titanic 3D.” This new re-release of his 1997 cash cow starring Billy Zane is just another in a line of crafty moves by the Hollywood moneymaking machine to squeeze a few more dollars out of the pockets of its adoring audiences.

The original was the highest grossing film of all time until Cameron dropped “Avatar” on our plates, and the world ate it up like three-day-old, partially-reheated Chinese food.

So it is reasonable to expect that this re-release will vacuum the metaphorical couch seats of the movie-going population for whatever nasty, shame-filled change it can find.

The problem with this may not be obvious on the surface. It’s Cameron’s movie, and studios need money to make more films. So what’s wrong with them whipping up a few camera angles that make the movie look a little different, charging an extra five dollars for it at theaters and then raking in the profits?

The problem is Cameron, long considered an innovator and rightfully so, and others in Hollywood are quickly turning into used-car salesmen.

“Avatar” wasn’t a very good movie. Say all you want about the revolutionary 3-D technology used to create the amazing visuals. The movie itself was painfully average. If the movie isn’t seen in 3-D, it is completely unmemorable.

As much as it kills me to say this, “Titanic” is a great movie. It’s a moving story that uses its tragic historical value to its advantage, and is made all the more magnificent by Cameron’s incredible visual ability.

The same can be said for many of Cameron’s early movies. “Terminator,” “Aliens,” “The Abyss” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” are all fantastic movies founded in an intriguing story and well-developed characters. The visual aspects of these films added to their value, but they did not define the movies.

The original “Titanic” was an example of audiences paying for a great movie, sending a message to moviemakers people are willing to spend a great deal of money on a movie worth going to see.

What has happened since the 3-D boom, however, is the opposite. Since “Avatar” topped the billion-dollar mark, Hollywood received the message it does not need original storytelling, or even a good movie to get people to spend money. All they need is for people to perceive the movie as technologically-advanced or futuristic in its visuals.

We see this with the re-release of “Titanic” in 3D. It’s the exact same movie as before. Nothing in the movie is changed. The ship still sinks at the end.

The only difference is it will look a little different. And people will pay more for it. It’s already happened with “Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and will happen again starting today. And it will continue to happen.

Disney plans to release three more of its classics in 3-D following the success of the first two, which combined for over $200 million worldwide.

The next two films in Cameron’s queue are “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3.”

I’d take my belated 1996 Ford Taurus (God rest its soul) rather than pay $30,000 for more or less the exact same thing in a new Ford Fusion, and I’d take the storytelling of “Titanic” or the action-packed thrills of “Terminator” over the dull mediocrity of “Avatar.”

Don’t go see “Titanic 3D” in theaters. Send a message, and go buy the original on DVD, or rent it if there are still Blockbusters anywhere in the world – Redbox is also a good option if they have the film. Show Cameron and the rest of Hollywood if they want to take more leisurely dives to the bottom of the ocean (for science!), they’ll have to actually make a movie worth seeing first.

Contact Kevin Noonan at knoonan2@nd.edu