We knew the outcome and yet still we flocked to the cinema to see James Cameron’s Titanic when it hit the big screens almost 25 years ago. December will mark the 25th Anniversary of the release of this epic title which won eleven of the fourteen Academy Awards it was nominated for. It was a timeless story when it happened, and the film encapsulated this. The film, 25 years on, still feels as alive and vibrant as it did when it was made. The irony that we know it is a fated story before we even start to watch adds to the poignancy. Somehow, despite all of this the film conveys a sense of hope and lasting love. If you haven’t seen the film, you can find it on Amazon, Google Play, and Netflix.
James Cameron’s Titanic wasn’t the first film to cover this epic story and nor will it be the last. It was, however, one of the highest-grossing films ever – an accolade it kept up for eleven years. It was only knocked off the top slot by Cameron’s Avatar film in 2010. James Cameron’s Titanic cost an epic US$200 million which was substantially more than the original ship cost to build. The film starred a twenty-three-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio and twenty-two-year-old Kate Winslet. At the time, DiCaprio had made a name for himself in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, but Winslet was relatively unknown to movie audiences. The film catapulted them to the front of the A-lister queue, and they have retained incredibly high-profile status over the last quarter of a century.
There have been countless Titanic-themed movies including French and German silent film versions and a British Docudrama called a Night to Remember starring Kenneth More and Honor Blackman. Debbie Reynolds starred in the 1964 musical version – The Unsinkable Molly Brown. In 1943 a Nazi propaganda version was released which was personally overseen by Joseph Goebbels. In that version the fictitious German captain is the hero while the Brits are the villains. There have been two animated versions of the story, one being a sequel to the others produced by an unconventional collaboration between North Korea, USA, Italy, and Spain. The Titanic also featured in the comedy film Holmes and Watson starring Will Ferrell and John C Reilly when there was a plot to assassinate Queen Victoria on board the ship.
There is something so enduring about the story, but the James Cameron version is the one that has stood the test of time. For its 20th anniversary, the film was re-released in Dolby Vision and footage of the actual Titanic wreck was included in the opening scenes. With the 25th Anniversary approaching, there are rumors that a new documentary is being made but, at the moment, these are still rumors.
For those who love everything Titanic, there are some excellent licensed products out there to keep fans entertained. There is a Movie Strategy Game where you can play as Jack, Rose, Cal, Ruth, or the captain on a mission to save as many lives as possible. There’s the inevitable jigsaw and a Titanic-shaped musical box that plays the theme tune – My Heart Will Go On. For those who like a bit more excitement, there is an online slots version featuring clips from the film, progressive jackpots, and wild reels. Alternatively, you could try and puzzle out how to build a 3D version out of 266 interlocking pieces.
The original ship was touted as being unsinkable. While that has proved to be untrue the stories from the disaster have gone on and continue to inspire and capture the imagination. The story is part of the cultural landscape and the image of Kate Winslet as Rose with her outstretched arms is etched on our collective memories. Debate still rages as to whether Jack made it to the piece of debris that Rose was floating on as the boat went down. Your view probably depends on whether you prefer a happy or a sad ending.