Millions of people were reminded to “never let go” last Wednesday when 1997’s “Titanic” returned to theaters nationwide in all its 3D glory.
As James Cameron swims in a sea of cash following the re-release of a movie that won 11 Academy Awards and made a young Leonardo DiCaprio a staple on tween girls’ bedroom walls, “Titanic” continues to wow audiences today.
In the five days since its 2012 premiere, moviegoers have forked over $25 million to see the unsinkable ship meet its fate once more.
For those who somehow missed this cultural phenomenon, “Titanic” is based on the true tale of the first and final voyage of the RMS Titanic, an infamous British passenger liner that sank on April 14, 1912, after hitting an iceberg near Newfoundland.
Of course, there’s more to the Hollywood version of this story than a tragic sinking. Meet Rose DeWitt Bukater, played by Kate Winslet, a wide-eyed 17-year-old who boards the Titanic with her mother and miserable fiance, Caledon Hockley, played by an expertly debonair and despicable Billy Zane.
Rose feels trapped by her imminent marriage to Cal, which will mean financial stability for she and her mother but also a life without love or passion, two elements that would be severely lacking in her future. In her desperation, she runs to the stern of the ship and considers ending her life in the icy waters but is stopped by a handsome young stranger in the form of Jack Dawson, played by DiCaprio.
Despite her mother’s wishes and her controlling fiance’s clutches, Rose falls madly in love with Jack, an earnest wayfarer who won his third-class ticket on the Titanic during a lucky hand of poker. The two plan to run away together once the ship docks but are waylaid when Titanic crashes into an iceberg in the middle of the night, four days into the ship’s voyage.
The story is retold from romance to tragedy by Rose at age 101, to her granddaughter and a group of modern-day researchers trying to find the famed “Heart of the Ocean” diamond necklace that reportedly went down with the ship.
The faint of heart need not worry about “Titanic” in 3D. While retaining the impact of that horrid evening, “Titanic” in 3D doesn’t resort to in-your-face effects or any of the cheesy tricks 3D films often use today.
Those who loved the film in VHS form or in theaters in ’97 will still enjoy it today in its 2012 iteration. If anything, the 3D adds a softened effect to scenes that makes them even more touching than before and gives the moments of underwater exploration a highly realistic, almost IMAX-like feel. The surround sound doesn’t hurt, either.
“Titanic” is as culturally significant today as it was 15 years ago — if not more so, given that the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking was on Sunday.
See Jack and Rose fall in love all over again, laugh at the lines and cry as the “unsinkable” ship splits. Just be sure to leave before that Celine Dion song comes on during the credits.