What better way to spend a Tuesday afternoon than detailing why Titanic sucks (so help me, if you say the HW word…) ? What better way to spend the time you are spending right now than reading about why Titanic sucks. I wanted to just try to forget that it was in theaters, but some twisted advertising dude at NBC decided to force online viewers of Community to think about tragedy and stupid teenagers while they/me were trying to watch the show that reminds us/me of our community college days (yeah, that’s actually how community college is). So without further ado, here’s why you couldn’t drag my dead body to see Titanic in 3D. (Oh, and these reasons as well)
Maybe I’m missing a certain type of hormone, but all I can think during that movie is the other thousand people that are dying miserable deaths, not the two teenagers who think they love each other because they had sex in a car after running around a boat. Obviously they just have a thing for getting it on in various forms of transportation. Thank goodness they lived before airplanes.
Now, I’m not opposed to the “brief but poignant, fiery romance that ends tragically” genre. We, as humans, long to feel deeply. While we prefer to fall madly in love or be overcome with joy, despair and deep emotional pain is the next best alternative to feeling nothing. Tragic movies with intense love plots allow us to feel deeply with the characters, then turn off the TV and go on with our boring little lives. All the depth of passion and tragedy without of the inconveniences (like living sans your loved ones or in an apocalyptic wasteland for the rest of your lives). But Titanic, in my humble but nonetheless indubitably insightful opinion, doesn’t pull off the “epic romantic disaster” genre.
It’s not that the tragedy is too big to handle; effective heart-wrenching films have been set against worse backdrops. There are innumerable WWI and WWII movies that allow us to focus on the romance without being overwhelmed by the death and misery happening around them. Take Atonement, for example, (which, interestingly, has a very flashback structure and death by drowning ending similar to Titanic). Or Cold Mountain, which is set against the senseless deaths of thousands of Americans during the Civil War.
The reason these two movies work, and Titanic doesn’t, is because the effective ones don’t minimize the tragic backdrop in order to justify the focus on a particular set of individuals caught up in the nightmare.In Atonement and Cold Mountain, the romance is a tool for zooming in on the disaster. It’s a way to look at the effects of these wars by looking at how it alters the lives of a small group of people (i.e. a couple). Titanic pretends to be in the same genre, but at the end of the day, it’s just a chick flick. It’s just a chick flick because, while it bring to your attention the class inequalities, the unpreparedness, and other horrible factors of the most infamous shipwreck in modern history, it only brings them up as props in the story of Jack and Rose’s romance-that-makes-Romeo-and-Juliet-look-like-they’re-taking-it-slow.
Now, at this point many of you are saying, “Screw you, Ezra! We don’t care. We like chick flicks. Feed us that nonsense daily.” In that case, I turn my cinema snob nose up at you and recommend reading this. In addition to hipster-pouting, I’ll also say that this whole thing was just an excuse for me to rationalize my extreme dislike (Nay, hate!) of Titanic. I don’t hate all chick flicks, but when you combine a chick flick with horrible deaths (the men in the bowels of the ship? The chick floating in the dining room? All the people dropping from the railing and crashing down the vertical deck?), it’s just an “eh” romance and a tragedy that makes me sick to my stomach. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I need a real reason to watch something that sad (and ‘it distracts you from how superficial their romance is’ doesn’t cut it). Sorry, Titanic lovers. Hope you’ll still read my blog.
What do you think? Have you seen it in 3D yet? Do you want to tell how stupid and un-romantic I am? Then get cozy with that comment box.