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By Alex Lynchehaun
‘Are you ready to go back to Titanic?’ It is a question asked not only of the fictitious survivor Rose Dawson Calvert, but of audiences worldwide. Fifteen years on from the film’s original release and one hundred years on from the sinking itself, does the world want to return to the night of April 14th 1912 – this time in 3D?
The answer is, of course, yes. I am not saying this because I am both a Titanic-the-film and Titanic-the-disaster fanatic, but because the figures speak for themselves. On its opening weekend, Titanic 3D earned the number one market share position in the UK, Germany, Austria and Sweden, while its estimated lifetime estimate for the United States is between 56 and 62 million dollars – amazing for a reissue. Why? Because, as the RMS Titanic’s definitive narrative historian, Walter Lord, wrote: ‘the story has something for everyone’. The Titanic disaster is both of our time and before our time; the pre-World War Edwardian society is so different from the one we live in today, yet the 2,200 souls aboard the ship were inherently the same as us. No matter what your level of understanding regarding the maritime disaster, you cannot help but get caught up in the decisions and ultimate fates of both the fictional and the historical characters on board James Cameron’s Titanic, because it is near impossible to watch the film without wondering, at least for a moment, what you would have done. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, the 3D effect encourages this self-reflection; allowing audiences to experience both the love story and the historical disaster like never before.
The decision to convert the film to 3D was always going to be slightly risky, as it would have to noticeably enhance the film without appearing gimmicky – no-one wants Rose’s sweaty hand almost smacking them in the face during the steamy car scene, after all. Luckily, the film gets it spot on, opting for a 3D experience that is immersive rather than intrusive. When the wreckage emerges from the darkness in the opening scene, it is one of the most hauntingly beautiful cinematic sequences I have ever seen, as the 3D effect allows you to feel as close to the ‘ghost ship’ as, let’s face it, you’re ever going to get. I would go and see the film again just for those few minutes of footage. Essentially, you are not watching Titanic in 3D; you are living the Titanic story – put the glasses on and you feel like you are dancing alongside Jack, Rose and the steerage passengers; standing beside Wallace Hartley and the band that played on as the water rushes towards them; treading icy water with 1,500 other unfortunate victims.
In short, if ever there was a time to see Titanic on the big screen, it is now – one hundred years (to the day, in fact, as I’m writing this) after the ‘unsinkable’ ship struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and 2,200 people lost their lives, literally and metaphorically. Titanic 3D really is an experience, and one that comes highly recommended from me.