I saw Titanic for the first time over Christmas break in sixth grade. I remember this, because that is the moment the Earth skidded to a grinding halt on its axis. The pinnacle of human creative potential had been reached. No film would ever need to be made again. Indeed, no art would ever need to be made again.
I am sure some of you have already commemorated the centennial anniversary of the Titanic disaster by reliving the cinematic disaster that portrays it. It has been out for a week, but I still haven’t managed to catch Titanic 3D. Although I too plan on wiping tears of anguish from my face as Celine croons EXACTLY HOW I FEEL, I do have some concerns as I recollect vignettes from my one-time favorite film. These are a few of them.
Life experience will douse the flames of Jack Dawson’s sexy sexiness
Whilst filming Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio and his character, Jack Dawson, were both 20 years old. Jigga what, now? 12-year-old Natalie didn’t know any 20-year-old boys, but presumed them to be sophisticated Adonii who bravely sweep women off their feet and carry them across the threshhold while reciting poetry (tween Natalie overestimated the role that uncrossable threshholds would play in her adult life.) I now know that Jack Dawson can’t be real, because he never once ignores Rose while playing Halo, or boasts about how functional he is while high. Real Jack would wear t-shirts with writing on them, and tape posters directly to his bedroom walls instead of framing them. He would have a patchy beard and nag you about reading something by Hunter S. Thompson. I DON’T CARE IF IT IS 1912. Rose, don’t. Even if he had survived, he still would have had no idea where your clitoris is until midway through World War I.
There perhaps should have been a more nuanced musical score
Even today, hearing the first few measures of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” elicits a Pavlovian response in me. I get a bit more bodice-rippy and choked up than I would like to admit. In retrospect, however, I recall something that furrows my brow. Didn’t that song play, like, 14 times during the movie? And each time, wasn’t it a relatively desperate attempt to squeegee emotion out of the millions of teen girls fidgeting in their movie seats? WELL, IT WORKED. But it does sort of reduce me to the status of a Russian dog, emotionally salivating at the mere ring of Celine Dion’s bell. Today, I like to think that I’d be a bit more advanced. As in, “Um, no, James Cameron, I will not be weeping right now. And if I am, I’m doing it IRONICALLY.”
The film’s allegedly romantic metaphor is actually sorta really problematic
THE NECKLACE. Rose’s so-called “heart of the ocean” necklace was a pivotal inanimate object throughout the film. Remember? Bill Paxton, who was a boat scientist, or whatever, was all, “we have to find that necklace, so I can be flush with Benjamins and make it rain.” And then everyone around him was all, “OMG, look at this drawing. THE NAKED GIRL IS WEARING IT.” And then Old Rose was all, “Oh hey guys, that’s ME.” Now, what we know now, but didn’t at the time, is that SHE STILL HAD THE NECKLACE THE WHOLE 86 YEARS. So, a few issues. When Rose survived the disaster, and still had the heart of the ocean necklace, Evil Fiance Billy Zane totes thought she was dead. So, I get that she had to lie low for a minute or five. (Except even if he did know she was alive, the necklace was a gift – so in my book, that is still a clear case of “keepsies, no take-backs.”) Anyway, after that, the necklace was most definitely FAIR GAME. Wasn’t she an unmarried woman with no professional credentials? In 1912? SELL THAT FREAKING THING. And if it felt too gauche to profit off of a gift from your Evil Fiancé upon whom you had hot, cheaty car sex with Leonardo DiCaprio, AT LEAST use the money to do something good. Like, help orphans of the Titanic disaster, or something. Set up a scholarship fund for those ragtag kids in steerage class who seemed poor, but really happy in that one scene. But don’t just throw bajillions of cash dollaz into the ocean and then just DIE. Rude.
And even if she were absolutely set on a dramatic, life-closing metaphor, was the necklace even the right pick? In my opinion, it was more metaphorically applicable to her relationship with Douchey Billy Zane than with Jack. Right? What was the idea behind that? “Jack, you were so foxy for those five days. 86 years ago. It sucks you are dead. Here, this might make you feel better. My heart is with you, etc. PLEASE ACCEPT THIS RAD-ASS GIFT FROM MY EX AS A TOKEN OF MY EMOTIONAL LOYALTY TO YOUR HOT, HOT MEMORY. No offense to my lifelong husband and kids. Celine Dion music just didn’t play when those duds entered the room.” WTF, Rose?
I mean, please don’t misunderstand. I am most definitely going to see Titanic 3D. I just hope my life wisdomz don’t totally over-salt the broth of the savory film-soup. I also hope that my tears don’t spoil the visual effects of the 3D. I mean, my friend hopes that.
- A Natalie who won’t ever let go