It was a year ago that we first learned that Titanic was being converted into 3D, and since then, reaction has been joyous nostalgia juxtaposed to continued disdain for a filmmaking format that some just refuse to embrace.
Well, anti-3D people, James Cameron feels your pain and he wants to explain to you (and anybody else who may be wondering) just why Titanic 3D is going to be worth your while. Better yet: he's not going to just tell you, he's going to (sort of) show you why Titanic is worth a 3D conversion.
For those who may be too young to remember: James Cameron (Avatar) directed this little film called Titanic back in the late '90s. It was a fictional chronicle of love set on the real-life "indestructible" cruise liner that [SPOILER ALERT!] tragically crashed into an iceberg and sank off the southern coast of Newfoundland on April 15, 1912 during its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. The doomed lovers in the film are Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), a working-class lad with a talent for sketching, and Rose (Kate Winslet), a high-class gal trapped in the grip of a cruel aristocrat boyfriend (Billy Zane). As it goes, boy meets girl, ship hits iceberg, and Celine Dion sings "My Heart Will Go On" over the end credits.
In all seriousness, though: Titanic was a phenomenon of unheralded proportions when it was released back in 1997. I was a sophomore in high school at the time, and never have I ever seen another movie where people went back to the theater three, four, five, six, seven times to see a three-and-a-half-hour movie. Nowadays, getting people to sit through a two-hour movie once is a challenge. So you can imagine what kind of feat Cameron and co. achieved.
Of course, the 1.8 billion dollars that Titanic snatched from the worldwide box office didn't hurt either. Neither did the 11 Oscars, including Best Picture.
At this point it's safe to say that no one can rightfully doubt the success, or even the durability of a film like Titanic. Rather, the question that a lot of people have, is: Does this film need a 3D makeover? As stated, Cameron himself has heard these concerns, and is addressing them directly in the Titanic 3D featurette below:
Granted, that featurette isn't actually in 3D, so there's a fair amount of skepticism that can be withheld regarding Cameron's claim that Titanic is ripe for 3D. On the other hand, the footage in the featurette does seem to indicate that the film has indeed been "cleaned up," as Cameron said - and the scenes they (smartly) selected for that the clips were ones that are not that hard to imagine looking good in 3D...even it if we aren't seeing the final proof on our computer monitors at the moment.
Having recently seen Martin Scorsese's Hugo, I can say this: the results of live-action 3D being used by truly masterful filmmakers are something to behold. So although I've never been the biggest fan of Titanic as a movie, I'm not going to count it out as a quality 3D movie experience. If nothing else, it's hard to believe that James Cameron would mar his own opus for the supposed sake of "wringing out a few more bucks." 1.8 billion dollars and 11 Oscars probably have a way of satisfying even the greediest hearts working in cinema.
Or do they?
If Cameron can truly work technical magic with this 3D conversion there is a good chance that Titanic will (once again) take a big fat bite out of the box office. At this point, is there any point doubting Cameron?
Titanic 3D will splash into theaters on April 6th, 2012