Retro trip worth tak­ing

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RE­VIEW

TI­TANIC 3D ( M)

★★★★★■

Di­rec­tor: James Cameron ( Avatar ) Stars: Leonardo Dicaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Bill Pax­ton, Glo­ria Stu­art

Even the best ideas de­serve a re- sink TO­DAY’S class starts with a small movie math­e­mat­ics test. Pen­cils at the ready, OK? Your time starts . . . now.

Poor boy plus posh girl. Mul­ti­plied by an over­whelm­ing mu­tual at­trac­tion. Di­vided by a ship un­sink­able, do­ing the un­think­able.

Pen­cils down. There can only be one pos­si­ble an­swer: Ti­tanic.

Re­leased in late 1997 with the whole world ready to give it the thumbs down, film­maker James Cameron’s oceanic opus went on to break ev­ery box- of­fice record go­ing.

Now here we are in 2012, a year mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of Ti­tanic’s first and last voy­age. To com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion – and yes, cyn­ics, scoop- up some ex­tra bucks as well – Cameron has re­nav­i­gated the in­dis­putably unique Ti­tanic ex­pe­ri­ence into the 3D zone.

Did he ab­so­lutely have to? No, not re­ally. The orig­i­nal 2D ver­sion drew more re­peat busi­ness from in­di­vid­ual view­ers than any other first- re­lease film in his­tory.

Sub­se­quent roll­outs on VHS ( still go­ing strong in the late ’ 90s!), DVD and TV have meant most Ti­tanic fa­nat­ics have seen their favourite dis­as­ter epic many, many times. ( But if you have ever watched

Ti­tanic on a com­puter, tablet or phone, I hold grave fears for your moviego­ing men­tal health. And your eye­sight as well, come to think of it.)

So, what is in it for you with a 3D ver­sion of Ti­tanic ?

I mean, there are no new scenes. And the bits that did not work be­fore – the clunky di­a­logue, the syrupy sto­ry­telling in the first half, and that wrong- wrong­wrong song by Ce­line Dion – are not about to start work­ing now.

Well, to Cameron’s credit, he has achieved an­other mi­nor mir­a­cle with the 3D re­boot. Ev­ery sin­gle frame of the film has been per­fectly re­mas­tered, achiev­ing a daz­zling im­age qual­ity that makes the orig­i­nal ver­sion look as if it was shot through a used hand­ker­chief.

I’m not kid­ding. In an era when so many murky 2D- to- 3D up­grades can re­duce one’s will to live, Cameron’s painstak­ing work here is cause for cel­e­bra­tion – par­tic­u­larly once the Ti­tanic scrapes the side of that fa­mously un­fore­seen ice­berg, and all aboard are handed a one- way ticket to the drink.

The clos­ing hour of Ti­tanic re­mains one of the finest in main­stream movies, cap­tur­ing the full scale of a mon­u­men­tal hu­man tragedy in minute de­tail.

The 3D en­hance­ment of the ac­tion does not di­min­ish any of the in­tense emo­tional power har­nessed by Cameron and his cast and crew. Re­mark­ably, though it con­cludes on such an ut­terly chill­ing note,

Ti­tanic 3D is a warmly fa­mil­iar trip well worth the re- tak­ing.

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