matt qt’s review published on Letterboxd:
There are many parts of Titanic that I don’t enjoy, such as the extended runtime, and the overdramatized scenes, but I don’t see how I could hate such a beautiful film. Even with a $200 million budget, the true beauty of this film is remarkable, and the acting tandem of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio only add to the inherent beauty of the film. Titanic is much better appreciated from an aesthetic standpoint rather than an analytical one. With a budget of $200m, you have almost endless possibilities as a filmmaker, and James Cameron can’t be given credit for this film’s technical achievements.
As for narrative, this film is about as shallow as they come. The paper thin romance feels like it is there to simply add characterization to the victims of the Titanic, although the chemistry between the actors adds life into the on screen relationship. But the story at its core just has no substance to it at all. No characters are fleshed out at all besides the characters in the main romance, which causes the story as a whole to fall flat. There is a somewhat important message on the tension between the social classes of Jack and Rose’s family, that also isn’t fleshed out nearly enough to be a compelling part of the story. So much potential was wasted in the story of this film.
While the film does seem to bask in its own decadence and privilege at points, this does generate some wonderfully choreographed and decorated scenes. The film succeeds in building an allure for the for the prestige of being aboard the Titanic. It just might be James Cameron’s finest film, and that’s not saying a lot. I simply don’t find any substance in the massive budget Hollywood movies. These productions always feel like more of a business transaction than a heartfelt emotional roller coaster, which is what this film is intended to be. Blockbuster movies seem to lack authenticity to me, but I completely understand those who love the films because of their high quality. Titanic didn’t completely do it for me, but I acknowledge it’s grandiose scale and how much work it took to make.