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movie review by Christopher Null

4 stars


So here I am, newly engaged, and the subject of honeymoons comes up. I hate the sun, and I don't like flying, so naturally, I say: Cruise! How about Alaska? This is the best idea we've come up with so far... and then we go to see Titanic.

Well, I can't think of anything that would change my mind faster than the sight of 1500 ice-covered dead bodies, bobbing up and down in the ocean, after the sinking of a luxury liner. Let's jump right on the boat, huh?

And maybe that speaks to the power of the film. When the ship is launched on its maiden voyage, you can feel the splendor in the theater. When it bangs against the iceberg and starts to sink, you can feel the death in the air. When all that's left is ocean and darkness, you shiver in your seat with the dying.

The point I'm getting at is that this is a movie about *atmosphere*. The Titanic itself is the star--the only star--and the only reason to leave your house. Leonardo DiCaprio as a third-class drifter? Forget it. Kate Winslet, one of my favorite actresses around, as a first-class dreamer who falls for the lug? She's fine, but sounds like she belongs in the Valley. Billy Zane as her betrothed? Puh-leeze. These parts could have been played by anybody and then forgotten. The movie would remain the same.

Don't even think about waiting for video or cable with this film. You'll hate it. I also think it's safe to say you can arrive 90 minutes late and still see the good stuff (the rest is Cameron's sappy love story that is both exceedingly phony and wholly unoriginal, not to mention the scenes from "the present.") Then again, lots of sobs in the audience attest that the film is both an effects extravaganza *and* a chick flick (and a dessert topping, I guess).

Whatever it's pigeon-holed as, you're going to love the movie, even if it is 3 1/2 hours long. But I've rambled too much. I've got a honeymoon to plan.

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