"Titanic" Sets Sail on Screen Remembering the 100th Anniversary of its Sinking

Edited from a Press Release
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCapario as Rose and  Jack in a scene from "Titanic."
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCapario as Rose and Jack in a scene from "Titanic."
Photo credit: Merie Weismiller ; (c) Paramount Pictures/20th Century Fox

Editor's Note: Although the story below comes from a release prepared by Paramount, "Titanic" director, James Cameron, has appeared on the small screen supporting a declaration that the ship's final resting place be designated a museum, so that poacher's can not continue to disturb the vessel and artifacts at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Interestingly, the deep sea explorer voyaged to the bottom of the deepest point on earth in the Pacific Ocean. He was seven miles down.

In 1997, James Cameron’s TITANIC set sail in theaters -- and one of the world’s most breathtaking and timeless love stories was born.  The film’s journey became an international phenomenon as vast as its name, garnering a record number of Academy Award® nominations, 11 Academy Awards® and grossing over $1.8 billion worldwide.  On April 6th, 2012, precisely a century after the historic ship’s sinking and 15 years after the film’s initial theatrical release, TITANIC resurfaces in theaters in state-of-the-art 3D. 

Upon its original release, TITANIC was celebrated for transporting audiences back in time, right into the belly of the R.M.S Titanic in all her glory and into the heart of a forbidden love affair entwined with the ship’s epic collision with human arrogance, nature and fate.  Now, the leading edge of 3D conversion technology has allowed Oscar® winning director James Cameron to bring moviegoers the most visceral and dynamic screen experience of TITANIC yet imagined. 

                  The artistic process of re-visualizing TITANIC in three dimensions was overseen entirely by Cameron himself, along with his long-time producing partner Jon Landau – who both pushed the conversion company Stereo D literally to unprecedented visual breadth.  Cameron guided them to use the latest visual tools not only to intensify the film’s sweeping race for survival, but to reveal the power of 3D to make the film’s most stirring emotions even more personal.

The unsinkable ship fills with water in a scene from 
The unsinkable ship fills with water in a scene from TITANIC.
Photo credit: Merie Weismiller Wallace (c) Paramount/20th Century Fox

                  “The 3D enriches all of TITANIC’s most thrilling moments -- and its most emotional moments,” summarizes Cameron.  “More than ever, you feel you’re right there going through all the jeopardy that Jack and Rose go through. The 3D kicks the experience up to another level.” 

                  While the universal appeal of TITANIC’s themes – themes of human grandeur, the roots of disaster and the way romance can transcend prejudice, society and time -- remains the same, the filmmakers believe the 3D conversion will speak with a fresh voice to a wide range of moviegoers, including a 21st Century generation who have never had the chance to see the film on screen. 

                   “The themes of TITANIC are as relevant today as they were 15 years ago,” notes Landau.  “I think those who have seen the film will find themselves transported in a new way; but there will also be many discovering the film for the first time, who weren’t even born when it was released in 1997.  Audiences young and old are each going to take something away from it.”

                  He continues: “If we made TITANTIC today, I’m sure we would use 3D.  Of course, we can't go back in time.  But technology has now allowed us to take the movie to its fullest incarnation, in a way that we could have never envisioned in 1997, and for both Jim and me that’s very rewarding. “   

                  Almost instantly upon its release, TITANIC became a cultural phenomenon, breaking box office records (which stood until Cameron’s AVATAR finally broke them again), as its most iconic moments were etched into the popular imagination.   Perhaps it was the way that the ship seemed to become a microcosm of human life –- a place where conflict and danger never ceased, yet neither did human resourcefulness, courage and hope.   Perhaps it was the sheer beauty of the connection between Jack and Rose, one that neither social conventions nor the ferocious power of nature itself could tear asunder.  Perhaps it was the stunningly intricate detail of the production that swept viewers into another world both never-before-seen and deeply real. 

                  Whatever the source of its power, TITANIC took on a life of its own.  The promising young actors playing the story’s star-crossed lovers – Leonard DiCaprio and Kate Winslet – both went on to stellar, award-filled careers as Hollywood leading lights. Meanwhile, Cameron kept pushing the cinematic envelope, resulting in the groundbreaking blockbuster AVATAR, which for the first time cracked the long talked-about full potential of 3D wide open, revealing its simultaneous ability to create new worlds and pull audiences into the very fabric of dramatic stories.

Kate displays her life memories everywhere she sleeps in this scene from "Titanic" (c) Paramount/20th Century Fox.
Kate displays her life memories everywhere she sleeps in this scene from "Titanic" (c) Paramount/20th Century Fox.

                  As the singular director most associated with 3D achievement, it seems only natural for Cameron to circle back to the most legendary of all his blockbusters now that 3D has come of age.  But what is striking is that the filmmakers’ original aim – to forge a dead true experience for the audience -- has not changed; only the tools have changed.  Indeed, the very same words Cameron wrote in his 1997 director’s statement remain just as apropos to the 3D conversion in 2012: 

“My goal in making this film was to show not only the dramatic death of this infamous ship, but her brief and glorious life as well.  To capture the beauty, exuberance, optimism and hope of Titanic, her passengers and crew and, in the process of baring the dark side of humanity underlying this tragedy, celebrate the limitless potential of the human spirit.  For Titanic is not just a cautionary tale – a myth, a parable, a metaphor for the ills of mankind.  It is also a story of faith, courage, sacrifice and, above all else, love.”

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