STOP ATTACKING US FOR HATING!
BY MICHELLE CRITES AND TIM STERNBERG
Don’t bother; it sinks. Oops! Did we just spoil the ending to the most glorious movie ever made? Nope, because we just spoiled the ending to the movie Titanic. Filled with the shallowest of characters, inane dialogue, ridiculous acting, a soundtrack ripped from the bowels of the Enya archives—and buoyed (pun intended) only by special effects that beg for a T. Rex to rip through the hull of the ship—the film imposes the cheesiest and most predictable of love stories on a most serious and tragic historical event.
The characters float around on the screen like cardboard cutouts. The story is familiar: stereotypical rich girl meets and falls in love with stereotypical poor boy, but stereotypical angry mother, stereotypical jerk fiancé, and stereotypical jerk fiancé’s servant conspire to keep the lovers apart. (Yawn.) Oops, did we fall asleep? The fiancé Cal, the mother Ruth, and the servant Lovejoy (oh, please!) lack any likable qualities—even the vilest of people display some redeeming qualities. Additionally, the lovers, Rose and Jack, exist solely to make goo-goo eyes at each other and bemoan their fate with embarrassingly trite dialogue.
"I want you to draw me like your French girl. Wearing this. Wearing only this." "Put your hands on me, Jack." These mind-numbingly dumb lines, plus a clumsily erotic hand slap on a car window, are vaguely reminiscent of a late night Cinemax movie. We literally cringed in vicarious embarrassment in our theatre seats as these lines poured from the characters’ mouths. Perhaps the most unforgivable aspect of the dialogue is its lack of respect for the audiences’ intelligence.
Despite her Oscar nomination, Kate Winslet gives the weakest performance of the ensemble. We had to stifle chuckles as Rose comically clung to the edge of the bow and warned Jack, "Stay back! Don’t come any closer! No! Stay where you are! I mean it. I’ll let go." We’ve seen better high school theatre productions featuring more believable acting. Likewise, Kathy Bates gives a disappointingly inconsistent performance: Is she Irish? Is she Southern? Is she Midwestern? Pick a dialect already!
The film does contain a few moving performances. Jonathan Hyde as Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, conveys true internal conflict as he slithers into a lifeboat—away from the ship he designed as unsinkable. Although given a one-dimensional character, Billy Zane, as Cal, relishes his evil on the screen. Zane breathes as much life as possible into a cartoonish villain.
Despite our solidly grounded objections to the film, people intent on grasping at straws may say, "But, Tim and Shell, despite your insightful wisdom, you must admit that the soundtrack was brilliant!" To that, we say, "Feh! It doesn’t take brilliance to rip off Enya."
Overall, perhaps little Leo summed up our feelings for the movie in one of the film’s most annoying scenes: "This is bad."
OUR RATING: One half of a life preserver out of four.