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The 1997 film 'Titanic' is based on the well-known true story of the
R.M.S Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage to New York from
England. The film is based around the sinking of the Titanic, with the
break up of Cal Hockley's (Billy Zane) and Rose DeWitt Bukater's (Kate
Winslet) engagement as Rose falls in love with Jack Dawson (Leonardo
de Caprio) to carry the film along to the accident where the titanic
sank in the Atlantic Ocean. This story is part of a larger story told
to the crew of a ship who are sent to retrieve the Coeur de la Mer,
(Heart of the oceans) given to Rose by Cal before the titanic sank
which is told by Rose aged 101, 84 years after the 'Unsinkable'
Director James Cameron (Aliens [sequel to Ridly Scott's Alien], The
Terminator, True Lies) has adapted the Titanic story for cinema which
puts it with films that everyone has seen like: The Lord of the Rings,
the Matrix, Jurassic Park and many others.
Without the romance of Rose and Jack the film would have nothing to
work with apart from the sinking of the Titanic but there would be
nothing to lead up to it. Rose is in the upper classes of society
while Jack is in the working class and this is showing that the
distance between each class is not to big for these two lovers to
cross. It also criticises the gap of the two classes. Even when they
are on the other ship the survivors are still split by class. The
captain and the officers would be higher up in the hierarchy. Those
that work at the bottom of the ship (Engine room) are treated as third
The true story of the film titanic is adapted for the cinema by the
addition of two main characters: Rose and Jack. The characters are
used to carry the film along until the titanic actually sank.
Otherwise it would have no backbone, nothing to go with.
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"James Cameron's Presentation and Adaptation of Titanic for the Cinema." 123HelpMe.com. 23 May 2019
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This film is adapted for cinema quite well, and if we compare it to
other disaster movies set at sea, such as The Poseidon Adventure or
the White Squall it does well to keep the high standard set buy other
movies at sea.
Interesting pieces of dialogue are used to help define the main
characters. For example On the deck of the ship after jack stops rose
jumping into the ocean. She thanks him and they argue and she looks at
his drawings becoming more interested in Jack.
The story of the titanic is re-lived through the memory of Rose Dewitt
Bukater 84 years after it sank. Set in the present day a team is sent
to the wreck of the titanic to recover the Coeur de le Mer. It begins
and ends in the present day while the rest is mostly from memory.
Music and Sound FX are used to create the mood needed for each scene.
For example, when rose is leaning over the rail to jump into the ocean
you hear the water being splashed about by the propellers.
Special effects are used to create things that a human could not do
very safely. For example: When rose slips and is hanging off the rails
at the back of the ship, over the water.
Visual design is used to recreate what the producers think the titanic
would look like from the research they did. The use of costume to
create and emphasis the setting with the crockery is effective in
persuading the audience that they are in 1912.
Acting is of a high standard in this film and it sets a standard for
films to come. Leonardo and Kate Winslet's performances are of a high
level and they help the audience relate to the characters more easily.
James Cameron's direction of this film is partly what has made this
film one of the best films in the 1990's he balances the personal
history of jack and Rose with the history of the ship by merging the
two together so it creates the feeling that their history is played
through the history of the titanic.
The cinematography of the film is quite good with the shots being
composed well to define where and what is taking place at any given
time. The people are presented to be like animals all trying to save
themselves as the titanic sinks, all of them are running into each
other, knocking each other over. For example: the Irish man who
befriends jack and his Italian friend is shot because he was pushed
towards the lifeboats, so the Italian man takes his life jacket. The
ship is presented as this big wonderful ship that is never going to
have anything bad happen to it. The sea is always presented to be calm
and smooth, while the sky is always full of stars, which is probably
to help keep audiences morale high. The use of colour to create the
mood, like when the survivors are in the water it is very dark, the
only light being from the stars. Visual qualities of the film are used
to make the audience believe they are there with the main characters
in their ordeal.
This film compares quite well with other ships on sea like the
Poseidon adventure, the perfect storm and Das Boot.
Personally I liked the film, it wasn't the best film in the world but
that is just my particular taste. The conclusion to the film is a bit
mediocre because it is not a really unexpected idea to have the old
Rose throw the diamond away but the film is good in other respects
like the overall interest that is needed to keep the audience watching
the whole thing. One quotation I came across on the internet is: 'The
film is weak and riddled with poor dialogue but its hard not to get
swept in the sheer majesty of the titanic' I agree with the last part
of the film but the film is not full of poor dialogue in my opinion.
The media of the film is presented in a good format and it is 'hard
not to get swept up in the majesty of Titanic.' In my opinion.