My first time... watching Titanic

click to enlarge "Jack, I'm flying!"
"Jack, I'm flying!"

Recently, I've become interested in the world of film and I'm working my way through a list of "must-see" movies. Last summer I traversed the Marvel universe, watching all 22 films and subsequently keeping up with new releases since. I finally got around to Edward Scissorhands, Whiplash and Interstellar, all of which I truly enjoyed and would give a near-five-star rating. But there's one film that I haven't exactly been excited to watch.

Titanic came out in 1997 exactly one month after I was born. As I saw it, I came into the world blissfully unaware of the film and I always thought I would leave the world in the same fashion. It became my go-to fun fact when I was presented with the opportunity for an ice breaker: "I've never seen Titanic! Haha, yeah I know, it's so weird!"

I've never understood the hype around the film — I guess it was a "you had to be there" kind of moment in cinema. I just didn't get who would willingly watch a 3-hour-and-15-minute film, the contents of which are basically spoiled by a distant 4th grade history lesson. I've seen clips of it throughout my life, I know the entire story, from the epic tale of Jack and Rose to the sinking of the ship. I've even yelled "I'll never let go, Jack!" on a variety of occasions when I saw fit.

Maybe I'm just not into romance or Leonardo DiCaprio, but I digress, settle into my couch and prepare to check Titanic off of my list.

Once I was about 20 minutes into the movie, I realized our main characters weren't even aboard the ship yet. I wasn't aware of the set-up and backstory I was being shown. More importantly, I had no idea that this film was where the "it's been 84 years" meme originated. I chuckled when it happened and I'm not ashamed.

And fine, I thought that this opposites-attract trope was going to be utterly cheesy and hard to watch. But I liked it. I liked that they taught one another lessons about their respective worlds. Their romance was tolerable, and at times actually endearing, to this fluff-averse, action-movie lover. Of course it was predictable. Predictable doesn't always mean bad, though.

I assumed the love story was going to be the main focus of the film, which for the first half it was; however, I wasn't prepared for the latter half of the movie to be focused solely on the disaster element of the ship's sinking. As soon as we got a dramatic zoom-in on an extra in the crow's nest, I knew what was coming. My hands began to sweat and my heart was pounding in anticipation of the inevitable. The tension and suspense were palpable — James Cameron does not let the viewer forget the gravitas of the Titanic's final hours.

And then the ship was half underwater, the band was playing their final gig and Jack and Rose were positioned on the bow of the ship where their love story first started. Yes, I shed a tear when Rose had to let go of Jack and when she threw the necklace overboard.

All in all, Titanic isn't as overhyped as I once believed. It's artful, impactful and, albeit a little drawn out, definitely a classic film worth watching at least once just to experience the phenomenon — no matter how late you jump on the bandwagon.

Celine, play us out one last time. ♦

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