Spoiler Alert: They Still Hit The Iceberg

Titanic (in 3D)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ (4.5/5)
Boyfriend friendly: If you have trouble convincing him to take you, these 4 words should do the trick: Kate Winslet’s 3D boobs.

When Titanic came out in theaters for the first time in 1997, I was in the third grade and it was a magical experience that evoked a lot of “firsts” for me: first time I got to see a PG-13 movie in theaters, first time I saw a pair of boobs that didn’t belong to my Mom, first time I decided I wanted to go to “movie school” (which I did) so I could become a big-time director (which I didn’t), first time my Dad let me get popcorn AND Sno-Caps (hey, it’s a 3 hour movie!), first time I fell in love and could use the fancy cursive I just learned to write “Christie DiCaprio” all over my schoolbooks… Cut to 15 years later: I have seen more than my fair share of boobs (even though I never seemed to grow any), the AMC near me has abhorrently retired Sno-Caps, I don’t remember how to write in cursive, and my heart has gone on from Leonardo to a string of other Hollywood infatuations (most currently – Andrew Garfield). One thing that hasn’t changed? The wondrous movie magic that mesmerizes my entire being throughout the 194 minutes of James Cameron’s Titanic.

Now, I have faced a lot of criticism over the years for my unabashed love for this movie. During my time at Tisch, my high opinion of the film was undoubtedly in the vast minority and I found myself in one too many heated debates over the 1997 Academy Awards. Yes, L.A. Confidential was an amazing film that would have deserved the award any other year… but against Titanic? Bitch, please. Forget for a second that this bad boy set box office records (which is not something the Academy generally cares about anyway), grossing close to $2 billion worldwide. Forget about its script, which is amazing and easily the most quoted script in movie history despite it being criticized for its sappiness and repetitive use of the main characters’ names (Rose: 76, Jack: 85). Forget about how completely ahead of its time the stunning special effects were. Instead, just think about it’s impact. I was in the third grade and I still remember what I was eating in the theater that night, and who I talked about it with at the lunch table the next day (Heather Frederick, thank you very much). Did it impact every person to the same extent as it impacted me – who decided then and there at the age of 8 that I would go to film school? Of course not. But people of all ages and genders worldwide came out in droves to see Titanic multiple times. Why? Because there is literally something in it for everyone: a hard-hitting historical account of one of the world’s saddest tragedies, an epic tale of romance and loss, fearless action sequences, beautiful cinematography, mind-blowing visual effects… even some nudity! And although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I firmly believe whoever claims that the film sucks is just saying it to be ironic. [No offense.]

Now that that’s off my chest…

It was hard for me to imagine what a third-dimension could add to a film that was already so aesthetically spectacular and pretty-effing-perfect in 2D. To be honest, I don’t think it added all that much. I’m not saying it didn’t look completely awesome – it’s James Cameron, of course it did. The dude spent over 60 weeks and $18 mil converting the movie frame by frame (all 260,000 of them). But I always felt like Titanic in 2D had a bit of a 3D feel to it already. Granted, there were a few scenes that particularly stood out due to this conversion. The 3D permits us to teeter with Rose over the ship’s railing as she contemplates suicide, and the depth and darkness of the ocean at this angle truly spooked me. Later on, post-iceberg, Jack and Rose are at that same location on the stern, when it is split in half from the rest of the ship. Clinging onto the outside of the railing, they are pulled into the air at a 90 degree angle before facing a steep plunge into the icy water. That moment was alway the scariest part of the film for me, and in 3D, my stomach dropped like I was on a roller coaster. A really, really high one.

But, I didn’t pay the expensive 3D ticket price because I was so excited to see Titanic in 3D… I paid the expensive 3D ticket price because I was so excited to see Titanic. Again. On the big screen. Because every time I watch this movie, I discover something new about it that I love. This time around? I found out that a part of me actually feels kinda sorry for Cal Hockley. In my previous 15 or so viewings of Titanic, I had always written Cal off as Rose’s arrogant and possessive fiancĂ© – a storybook villain. But this was the first time I ever watched the film as a grown-up who has experienced heartbreak firsthand. And, for whatever reason, all my previous perceptions about Cal were now erased. It had never occurred to me that he might actually love Rose (or at least the idea of her), and it is the heartbreak that comes from not being loved in return that causes him to lash out. When Cal puts the Heart of the Ocean around Rose’s neck for the first time, a glimmer forms in his eyes. I had always assumed it was the wealth surrounding the diamond that caused the glimmer, but for once, I felt like it was because he thought he was giving the world to the woman he loved. Later on, that glimmer is replaced by sadness caused by the realization that Rose is in love with another man. Yet, he can’t shake the hope that she may come back around, which propels him to skip out on his initial chance for a lifeboat in an effort to save her. Later on, after Rose has blatantly made her choice, Cal still doesn’t give up hope and searches for her on The Carpathia. Truthfully, it all kind of broke my heart. Of course, I am completely 150% for Rose being with Jack, but I couldn’t help feel a bit more sympathetic towards Cal’s character. After all, wouldn’t you want to frame a robbery on the jerk your still-fiancĂ© posed nude for behind your back? I would also like to take this time to apologize to Billy Zane, whose strong performance as the man scorned I have long overlooked.

The only issue with seeing a movie you love dearly in theaters fifteen years after it’s initial release is that there is a whole generation of teenagers who weren’t alive when it originally came out and may have never gotten around to seeing it. (Gasp!) To be quite honest, I am not even sure the teenage girls in my theater knew that it was a re-release. When Jack dies, there was a collective “Huh? He dies? What kind of movie is this?” and when My Heart Will Go On plays during the end credits one of them literally went, “Ohhh. So that’s where this song comes from.” Thankfully, I think they had learned in some history class that the Titanic sinks so at least that wasn’t a big shocker. That aside, seeing it on the big screen again was still a magical experience, particularly on the 100th anniversary of its sinking. If you like the movie half as much as I do, you cannot miss this opportunity to give James Cameron even more money than he already has.

Things I’ve Learned Since I First Saw Titanic In 1997:
1) When Jack says, “I saw that on the Nickelodeon,” he isn’t referring to the TV channel.
2) Jack and Rose are doing more than just “kissing naked” in that horse-drawn carriage.
3) Billy Zane made male eyeliner sexy long before Johnny Depp.
4) There’s no way that necklace would’ve stayed in Rose’s pocket that whole time.
5) I’ll never be blonde, foreign, or a supermodel, so Leonardo DiCaprio will never date me.
6) Trying to master Rose’s party trick will result in a sprained ankle.
7) And mastering Jack’s “man spitting” is not something you should show to anyone. Ever.
8) The woman who plays Old Rose wasn’t a Titanic survivor. (Where did I hear that?)
9) Rose is 17 in the movie, proving that slutty high school girls have been sending naked pictures of themselves to boys long before ‘sexting’ was a word. It also proves that you never know how old you might be when those pictures resurface. (Crap.)
10) That very last scene doesn’t actually mean everyone came back to life again…

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Tale As Old As Time

Beauty & the Beast 3D
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4/5)
Boyfriend friendly: Only if you’ll see Star Wars 3D with him in February

Beauty & the Beast 3D may be a weird first review piece considering the story has literally been around for hundreds of years. But Disney, in true Disney fashion, continues to find ways to “re-vamp” all their treasured classics so they can get the most bang out of their buck. After the 1991 film release, came the animated television series, the two direct-to-video midquels, the Broadway musical, the Imax remastered extended version, and, of course, we can’t forget the sing-along edition hosted by Jordin Sparks. Now, Beauty & the Beast is back in theaters, but this time in 3-D… despite the fact that a 5-disc combo pack including a DVD, digital copy, Blu-ray 2D, AND Blu-ray 3D version was released last year.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit how excited I was to pay 20 bucks for a 3D movie ticket in NYC to go see something that I own on VHS. (I used to own it on Blu-ray/DVD too until I loaned it to a foreign exchange student and she took it back to Italy with her… that bitch.) It could be because Beauty & the Beast was the first movie I ever saw in theaters. Or because I named my dog after Belle. But really, I think it’s because Beauty & the Beast is the perfect example of a great romcom. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and you leave the theater singing and believing that you’re a princess also destined for a great love story.

For anyone who has lived under a rock for the past 20 years, Beauty & the Beast is about Belle: a French, Daddy’s girl who is being forced to marry this awful The-Situation-but-better-looking dude Gaston, and (you guessed it) the Beast: who is actually a young prince put under a spell by some mean Enchantress all because he wouldn’t give her a place to crash when she was disguised as an ugly, old homeless person. (FYI: I wouldn’t let an ugly, old homeless person stay in my castle either.) The only way Mr. Beasty can reverse the spell, is by loving and being loved in return. So, to make a long story short, Belle gets trapped in his castle, they fall in love, they kick Gaston’s ass, and the Beast turns back into a Prince all while being interrupted for some lovely musical dance breaks by the Beast’s talking household appliances, Lumiere (a candlestick), Cogsworth (a clock), and Mrs. Potts (a teapot).

Beauty & the Beast was actually converted to 3D before The Lion King and, whereas I was very impressed with TLK’s 3D conversion, I was pretty indifferent to this. The 3D did little to add to the movie’s greatness, but it also didn’t take away from it. Sure, there are certain parts where the characters look flat and two-dimensional against a three-dimensional backdrop (a problem that was almost entirely fixed for TLK). But there were also scenes like “Be Our Guest” where everything popped perfectly. You noticed all the little intricacies put in by the animators that were harder to catch before, like filled wine glasses dancing on top of wine bottles and swooping chandeliers holding spoon swan-divers. That scene alone makes the 3D ticket price worth it.

Belle is by far the best out of the Princess Core 4 (i.e. the princesses that are on EVERY Disney backpack, lunchbox, and nightgown). Sure, your 5 year-old daughter might dream of being a mermaid – but Ariel is only 16 years old and wants to get MARRIED. Plus, she’s a ginger. Jasmine might not be rushing off to get married, but that’s only cause she wants to run around with her boobies hanging out. And Cinderella is just fucking boring. Belle’s smart! She reads! She dresses conservatively (but elegantly)! She’s fiercely strong and independent! And she loves people for who they are on the inside… (sigh)

Deciding whether or not paying an inflated ticket price to see a movie you already know all the words to is your call. I enjoyed it, but I would have also enjoyed digging out my toddler-sized yellow ballgown, popping the movie into the one VCR I have left, and singing/dancing along in the privacy of my bedroom. Regardless of how you do it, the happiness you’ll feel for that hour and a half is worth a re-visit. This tale as old as time is truly timeless, and me thinking that the Beast is hotter before he turns back into a Prince/a Hanson brother is besides the point.