Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Reel Review: TITANIC 3D

There are two types of 3D films in this age. The first type are the ones which are shot for the format in the first place (AVATAR, TRANSFORMERS 3), and generally are the most successful in not looking like shit. The second type, and less successful, are the films that are converted into 3D only after they are shot and edited (STAR WARS EPISODE I, CLASH OF THE TITANS). The 3D conversion of the now 15-year old TITANIC was a curious one, especially with the technology-wizard, director James Cameron on board.

Good 3D depends on a lot of factors, with the most important one being depth of field; which is something that all directors should be shooting for in the first place. With that said, TITANIC is by far the best post-converted 3D movie to date. The depth of field is outstanding; long hallways, deep dining rooms, and sweeping exteriors of the ship are jawdropping. And what is really impressive is that the 3D even works in intimate scenes where the actor’s faces and/or torsos take up most of the frame. There is always a sense of depth present and it looks very real. The film hits you right away in the early underwater scenes around the wreckage; the overhead look down the black chasm into the bowels of the ship is as eye-popping as it is frightening. The effectiveness of this release is a testament to the way the film was put together 15 years go. To be fair, the dimness is still a bit of a factor, and things get a little blurry when fast things are happening.

The re-mix of the soundtrack adds some mighty weight. The clarity is awesome; from the soft clicks of doorknobs to the deep groaning of the ship as she takes on water. The remastered sound, along with the new deep visuals adds a lot to the experience; the final moments of the sinking of the upended stern are enough for anyone to crap their pants.

And TITANIC on the big screen is still a worthwhile experience. The laughs and tears still work, and it’s neat to see Leo and Kate as young pups. This Blogger’s theatre seemed to be full of folk experiencing the film for the first time, and they seemed to be engulfed in every moment. TITANIC is a timeless film which doesn’t need 3D to be enjoyed, but it is well-suited for the format since it was shot correctly in the first place.

P.S. The new shot of the starfield towards the end is actually quite beautiful. But what it is curious is that the film has probably a hundred other shots containing stars which remain unaltered. Either Cameron got those stars right the first time, or Professor Honeydew is full of shit (see Reel Speak 4/3).

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