What are your thoughts of seeing Titanic come back to life

  • Thread starter Kevin Zeniel Perez
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Kevin Zeniel Perez

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James Cameron did an astounding job bringing Titanic back to life. Seeing are 91 year old friend in all her glory was simply majestic. Especially the sinking scenes! However, I felt that she seemed, well, somewhat small then I imagined. Titanic was 880 foot long ocean liner, yet, we are given a 780 foot replica? Oh well, I suppose I can't complain to much.

Anyway, what are your thoughts about JC's model of the ship, and how does it compared to the original?.
 

Nigel Bryant

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Aug 1, 2010
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Hi,

James Cameron did a great job on the Titanic relpica set, sure his construction crew made a few mistakes, but as others have said, he got more things right than wrong! The whole layout was correct, they followed H & W'S design plans and gave use an acurate presentation of the exterior and interior sets. Some things were done for artistic license and new informatiom recently from the wrecksite has slightly dated the information back then, but overall for the info they had in 1996 they recreated the Titanic set beautifully. Parks Stephenson and others hace talked about this before in other threads, some of the principle people involved in the construction and decoration of the sets contribute to this forum, hopefully they might chime in. If you look through the previous threads you might find more info about this.

Cheers,

Nigel

p.s: Sorry for the spelling mistakes, have to rush to school.
 

Dan Cherry

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Mar 3, 2000
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Hello, Kevin!
I agree - James Cameron has done great work in both his 1997 movie and his GotA presentation. When it comes down to it, when someone puts $225 million into bringing the Titanic back to life on the 'silver screen' by building the most visually accurate set, that commands respect in my book! It would have been easy to stage the Titanic film on the Queen Mary or hastily-constructed sets, but Cameron went to great lengths to recreate the ship as accurate as time and budget allows. I believe he accomplished it, even if he consolidated the set by 2-3 here, and 1-2 feet there in length. This consolidation is not easily observed, except probably to the hardcore technical/visual Titanic person. 780 feet is still a considerably-sized set. The fact that he missed, say, the canvas gromets along the ceiling of the bridge, or the lighted gymnasium sign outside the first class starboard entrance are hardly worth mentioning. The guy came as close to building a visually accurate replica of the Titanic as I think we are going to see in this generation...
 
Mar 3, 1998
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A special tank was dug at Fox Studios Baja to accommodate Cameron's Titanic, but even so, the "ship" had to be truncated so that the finished set (and it was only a set, not a real ship) and the hydraulic lift machinery on which it was built could fit within the tank.

The set was constructed by hundreds of local workers, who took their direction from a variety of production assistants. A number of Titanic experts opened up their archives and made themselves personally available to help ensure that the set followed the original as closely as possible, but as will be found with any undertaking of that scope and limited time schedule, errors crept in. Some were deliberate...I know of a couple specific cases where a production assistant took a shortcut to make his job easier, but most were unintentional. Add to this the fact that most archival images are of Olympic from various stages in her career...it takes a real expert to discern what applied to Titanic and what didn't. The set was also built in a foreign country by a variety of contractors, some better than others. Despite the errors, though, it think that the PAs did an outstanding job -- the best that anyone could have reasonably expected from them -- with the mountain of unfamiliar reference material that was thrown into their laps. The fact that Titanic experts continue to devote so much time to dissecting the "Titanic" set --which was largely built by non-Titanic-experts -- attests to its verisimilitude.

It's difficult re-creating a historic object, especially when there are gaps in the knowledge of the object. I am discovering this for myself in my re-creation of Titanic's Marconi rooms. Yes, I have solid information on the overall layout of the apparatus, but the not-so-glamourous details are killing me. Where does this light switch go, where was that chart hung? Why wasn't a fan provided? How long should the book shelf be and what colour was it painted? It is very frustrating to have so much information, but not everything that you need to complete a life-like, photo-realistic re-creation. At some point, you just have to fill in the gaps as best you can and finish the project; otherwise, your hard-earned research would never see the light of day. And even then, be prepared for the inevitable criticism from others...there is simply no way to please everyone in the world of Titanic.

It's ironic that Jim Cameron, who is so personally involved with Titanic and has offered up the most realistic re-creation of the ship, has so much criticism directed at him by members of the Titanic community. Who remembers -- or criticises -- the sets offered up by William S. Gilmore or (even worse) Brian Trenchard-Smith?

And then there's the matter of material that remains contested by Titanic historians to this day. What's a stage designer to do when the "experts" can't agree on a detail? But that's a whole 'nother subject.

Those are those who have claimed that they could have done a better job than Cameron in re-creating the ship if only they had been in charge. After having experienced the movie-making process firsthand, my response to that claim would be that those people don't know what they are talking about.

MacQuitty introduced a whole new level of accuracy with his mockup of Titanic in 1957/8. Cameron built on that and raised the bar in 1996/7. What's next?

Parks
 
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Kevin Zeniel Perez

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About the replica for A Night To Remember, I always found to be one of the most strange ones for the ship, personally, it sucked if you ask me. Sure it almost looks it, however, if this is the best film on the ship, it could at least gotten some of the rooms and the actual thing itself.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Are you talking exteriors or interiors, or both? Most of my thoughts concerned the exteriors...interiors are constructed on sound stages, much like any other film.

Regardless, ANTR set the standard for accuracy in a Titanic film set in 1958, in my opinion. The standard was re-established at a higher level in 1997 with Cameron's Titanic. I don't count the movies in between that relied on models for exteriors.

Parks
 
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Jason White

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I agree with Nigel's assessment of Cameron's replica. I found the level of detail amazing considering that no one has seen Titanic in pristine condition for almost 100 years. Of course on the flip side of the coin, does anyone remember the monstrosity they used in Raise the Titanic? Sheeeesh.
 
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Brian R Peterson

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Wow, “Raise the Titanic”￾ — that takes me back! That was quite a work of fantasy I must say, and while no one knew the state of the Titanic at the time the film was made, I think the Titanic as it was presented in the end sequence is way too intact for my taste, I am especially horrified at the ghastly tall cowls on the Forecastle, where did they come from?

Clive Cussler himself was quite annoyed with the production, and because of Raise the Titanic none of his other novels were translated into movies.

Best Regards,

Brian
 
Mar 3, 1998
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In 1977, I worked on an engineering study that was commissioned by the "Raise the Titanic" production company on how the Titanic could plausably be raised. As has been pointed out, this was before the wreck was found and its condition known; therefore, our basic assumption was that the hull was intact and upright. Using the Cussler book as a general guide for a feel of the futuristic technology that would be involved, we came up with a scenario where the hull would be raised horizontally, in stages, with the superstructure breaking the surface only just prior to destination. Our entire work was thrown in the trash after submittal because the production company wanted the bow shooting dramatically up out of the depths from the outset. Would have been nice if we had known that before we started our work.

On the other side of the country, Ken Marschall was having his own problems with the production crew. He gave them all kinds of comments about their model, many of which were "lost." He told me once that he was mortified when he saw the screen version.

Parks
 

Jake Peterson

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Mar 11, 2012
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Here is a review I came across for the 1997 Titanic blockbuster. It's divided into 3 pars and an epilogue. The reviewer's name is Confused Matthew.

He does give credit where due, but he also explains he never likes the movie, and didn't understand what all the hype was.

Thought I'd add it to the site in case anyone hadn't come across it yet. I believe each movie is 10-20 minutes long.

Confused Matthew