Titanic 3D (12A)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet
A hundred years since it sank, 15 years since its Oscar-swallowing triumph, Titanic is raised again, refitted with James Cameron's beloved 3D.
I'm not entirely sure this enhances it as a spectacle: the depth of field looks no different from the original, while the grey of the 3D specs tends to dull the colour. Otherwise it's the same magnificent folly, impressing and irritating in about equal measure. The prologue, in which Bill Paxton's treasure-hunting team explore the hulk of the entombed liner, offers a haunting reflection on time and hubris: the grand staterooms designed for the upper crust are now the home of lower crustaceans. Technically, it's a marvel. Dramatically, it's a silly cartoon on class. DiCaprio is the artist-philosopher scamp who would rescue Winslet's Philadelphian blue-blood from being married alive to Billy Zane's ghastly plutocrat, who's a boor as well as a brute ("Picasso? He won't amount to a thing"). The divide between the stiff-necked toffs in first class and the jolly Irish jiggery-pokery in steerage still astounds for its corniness, until you remember that Julian Fellowes has mined a TV fortune from the same high-low fatuities. The stilted dialogue and James Horner's soupy score would give you the pip, yet Titanic saves itself, ironically, the moment it hits the iceberg: Cameron's technical accomplishment puts his audience right in the middle of the panic-stricken two hours it took the ship to sink. "Half the people on this boat are going to die," says an officer. "Not the better half," replies Zane. The scramble for lifeboats and the slow listing of the deck are thrilling, and agonising, and nothing looks scarier than the underside of the stern as it rises monstrously high before crashing like an escaped elevator into the icy deep. Two-thirds of them died in the end, and you feel the loss. The experience is that immersive you'll be checking your pockets for seaweed on the way out.
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
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