Why do people dislike the 1997 Titanic movie?

Nigel Bryant

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Aug 1, 2010
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Hi everyone,
As I have been reading through all your messages and a strange pattern seemed to arise. I personally liked the 1997 Titanic movie,because of its accuracy with the ship and the factual events that happened on April 15th 1912. But lets get to the point. I was wondering why so many people seem to dislike this movie so much? I love the film because it brings the Titanic back to life.I was so shocked with accuracy when the wreck turned into the ship on Sailing Day at Southampton. The special effects are so great and look real. So why do so many people dislike this movie?

Regards Nigel Bryant
 
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Haiko Blikian

Guest
Hey Nigel,

I agree with you one hundred percent. I too liked the movie for the exact reasons that you stated above!! Just wanted to let you know that I'm also not one of those people who dislike the movie!!

Haiko
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hallo, Nigel -

I can't speak for others, but I don't 'dislike' the movie in its entirely (have seen it far too many times for me to make any claims to dislike it) any more than I like every element of it. Like you, I thoroughly enjoyed the recreation of the ship and many visual effect - not so much the dramatic break up etc (which did not happen as depicted), but rather the simple beauty of seeing the Titanic go to sea again. There were some scenes where the sense of deja-vu was quite powerful, and the impression was of walking into a combined photograph and Ken Marschall painting with life breathed into it.

However, I don't see it as an either/or thing in that either you take the movie in its entirely without criticism *or* you dislike it. There are componants of the movie that I simply fast forward through these days - other than the scene at the lowering of the boats, and the bow flying scene when I'm feeling particularly self indulgant, I ff through all the Jack and Rose material. Which also conveniently leaves me with a much shorter movie.

I also find Cameron's interpretation of some historical figures and incidents problematical to say the least (particularly when he is on record as boasting that if none of his fictional characters are in a scene 'it's accurate').

I find the script rather poor with, at some points, almost insultingly trite dialogue. However, I find that Cameron's purely visual moments with little or no dialogue can be exquisite - the above mentioned lowering of the lifeboat, the pull-back to the God's eye view of the Titanic firing distress rockets, the departure from the coast of Ireland, the pull back and pan shot when we see the mass rush towards the stern.

All the best,

Inger
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Hello,

I love the way the film gives the ship a type of realism and warmth that I've never saw in a Titanic film before. However, I DO NOT like the Jack/Rose deal! I also FF through these scenes. The only fictional character I care about is Cal Hockley, due to the fact that he hates Jack (I share the feeling!). Sorry if I sound cruel, I'm really not, I'm just sick and tired of the fictional romance. I think if Cameron wanted a Jack in his movie he should've gave Jack Thayer a major role! Now that would be cool!

God bless!

-Brandon
 
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Karen Sweigart

Guest
I agree Brandon. The movie is what got me interested in Titanic to being with. Now that I've read about the real people, I can't figure out why James Cameron didn't make the movie about them. There were certainly some interesting people on board who had lives that would make a movie interesting.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Well, perhaps someday a director will create a truely historical rendering of the Titanic and the people on her. The funny thing is, not only were Cameron's main characters fictional, he also left out major historical events (ex: the Titanic nearly hitting the New York while leaving harbor). Plus, there isn't a gosh-darn second of film concerning the Californian, not even dialouge! I understand that the Californian wasn't that big of a factor in Cameron's story, but that's one of the things I don't like about Cameron's story: there is too much fiction! I would rather see some of my favorite REAL Titanic passengers like R. Norris Williams, Milton Long and Jack Thayer (who briefly appears in the film).

God bless!

-Brandon
 
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Catherine Ehlers

Guest
Got two questions re comments above:

To Inger: About what you said that the breakup of the ship did not happen as shown in Cameron's flick: How far off was it? I thought it was halfway accurate, except that I think the stern section didn't go vertical to 90 degrees like was shown (engineers I think have calculated that it may have not gone over 12 degrees--is that true?) Is there any reliable knowledge of exactly how the breakup occurred and when?

To Brandon: When exactly did Jack Thayer appear in the movie? I don't remember him at all. Must have been in a very small role.

I agree with what you guys have said--I fast forward through the Jack and Rose stuff to get to the sinking. I personally wish they had shown more of the officers and Thomas Andrews. And I would have liked to have seen people like the Allison family and the poor hapless staff of the
a la carte restaurant and perhaps more of the engineers, who died to a man doing their duty. Or would that be too morbid?

Cathy
 
Nov 30, 2000
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Hi Nigel!

"I was wondering why so many people seem to dislike this movie so much?"

As Harry S Truman said to reporters during his first vacation after he was done being prez: no comment, no comment, no comment. I'm done discussing the issue of the '97 chick-flick/teenybopper fest in the T. buff community. (I mean, there's so much ELSE out there to discuss!)
Now, anybody know where those notes Kenneth More made when talking with Sylvia Lightoller went?

Richard K.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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Hallo, Cathy -

Won't go into too much technical detail (because I'm not particularly capable of it), but invite one of the more skillfull rivetcounters in right about here...!

Some issues are fairly hotly contested - for example, the angle of incline on the stern as she slid under, also whether the break occured from the top down as shown or not. I believe, from what those more versed in this subject have demonstrated to me, that the angle of the stern's descent as shown in the film was extreme and that the break was keel - up. I've heard about the studies saying that 90 degrees was impossible and that a much slighter angle was more probable - I lack the expertise to comment on this. It's curious that this is one point on which so many witnesses agree, but which we're told is improbable if not impossible. Comments, Parks?

The stern, however, did *not* slam back down and create a tsunami-like effect as so dramatically shown - while there are some accounts of her 'righting' herself before the final descent, there are none of such an extreme event, creating a massive wave of water. And there were witnesses from the stern - Joughlin, for example - as well as those from comparatively close boats like #4 who would have been expected to notice if it happened.

Ing
 
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Rolf Vonk

Guest
Hi there,

I've read your points and I have to say that I also don't like the Jack and Rose story. It's true that the story is beautifull just because of Titanic. Some scenes really give a good idea about the ship. Though not all the scenes are reliable. In my opinion we must be carefull in the way we look at the scenes. We know that the scenes were too overcrowded and that gives a fake view about the disaster. For example when Rose jumps out of boat D and runs over the A deck. At that time the first class promenade was totally abandoned according to the accounts of Hugh Woolner and Mauritz Bjornstrom-Steffansson, but in the movie there are dozens of people running around. Also the interior isn't always accurate.

Inger, I've also heard about the studies saying that 90 degrees was impossible. I guess the breaking stern scenes are a bit too dramaticall. It's a wonder that not all the people on the stern dissapeared in the water, cause of the enorous slam back of it.

BTW, I wonder if Cameron really meant the Jack Thayer personage. Cause all the personages he used, and also who were based on non-fictive persons, are mentioned in the credits.
Most Titanic films do not directly use non-fictive personages, cause of the still big importance of the wealthy first class families.

Regards,
Rolf
 
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Cátia Lamy

Guest
Hi everyone!

As far as I'm concerned Cameron's movie is a great movie but... it's truth that somehow it brought the Titanic back to our forgotton memories but, unfortunelly, the movie it's not about Titanic but about Jack and Rose and their fatefull love... like the ship....!
Anyway, there are two things that I believe that make some people not like this movie:
1 - probably expecting a movie on the Titanic, the most prominent people on this subject felt somehow betrayed... I don't know... it doesn't really tell all the truth!
2 - nothing to do with the ship herself; people only didn't like so much romance and fatalism!

For me... is a great romantic movie but for suding the titanic... better the one with Catherine Zeeta-Jones!

Hope I've helped,
Cátia Lamy
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Hello Catherine,

Jack Thayer is the young man who rushes out on B-Deck directly after the collision, as Thomas Andrews and the officers are walking through the gate talking about how the mail hold is flooding. Jack asks, "Did you see all the fun?" Harry Widener responds by tossing him a chunk of ice and saying, "No, I missed it; apparently it hit over there (points below)."

-Brandon
 
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Rolf Vonk

Guest
Hi there,

Brandon: Do you really think that should have been Jack Thayer? Why do you think so?

Nigel: For example the whole steerage set isn't accurate. With except of the forward and aft poop deck and maybe the third class glory hole.

Also not all the first class interiors are reliable. For example Molly Browns stateroom. In Camerons movie it is panneled in Regency (like B60), but on the real Titanic her stateroom was just a normal first class room with a white panneling and the general furniture for staterooms.

What do you think about the millionaire's suite? The styles Cameron used are just a guess. They are based on excisting styles, but it wasn't sure that the rooms were in those styles.

The first class entrances and staircase, I believe,isn't correct too. The A- and Boat deck are fine, but if I remember the two midship corridors on C or B deck leading to the entrance are a bit changed. In my opinion the entrance on E deck isn't correct too.

Any ideas? I'd like to hear!

Regards,
Rolf
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Let's not forget another little gaff which placed the Master at Arms shack on the outside by a porthole.. The real MAA shack on the Titanic was located on E Deck forward just to the right of the ship's centerline and just aft from the smaller cargo hatch.

I suspect this was done for the sake of dramatic licence.(Remember the water creeping ominously up the porthole?)

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Hello Rolf,

The reason I think that should be Jack Thayer is because,in the actaul sinking, he referred to the collision as "All the fun." This is what I have read that he told his parents just before he rushed out on deck to see what was going on. He told his father he was "Going up to see all the fun." The character on B-Deck in the film does the exact same thing; I mean he refers to the collision as "All the fun."

Second of all, the real Jack Thayer was just getting ready to climb into bed when the collision occured. He had just put on his night clothes, and slipped a robe over himself when he went out on deck. The character in the film is also wearing a robe, and appears to have pajamas on underneath.

Third of all, the age. Jack Thayer was either 16 or 18 (I forget exactly, I believe 18) when he went on the Titanic. The character in the film looks to be between 16 and 18, even though it's dark at the time.

Feel free to pound me into the ground with controversy over this, but I do believe that is supposed to be Jack Thayer.

God bless!

-Brandon
 
Apr 22, 2012
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P.S.: It is not my idea to call the man who tosses "Jack Thayer" the chunk of ice Harry Widener; I was told by another person on this message board that that's who that is. I'm sure I'm going to get pounded with controversy about my Jack Thayer Theory. But, just perhaps, there might be someone out there who agrees with my JTT.

Now, if I come on this message board later claiming that I've spotted R. Norris Williams in the film, I will deserve a good pounding!

But, in all sincerity, I do believe that is supposed to be Jack Thayer.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Inger, I'll sound off a bit on the break-up, and hope that some more knowladgable then I come in and correct any mistakes or oversights on my part.

As you said, it didn't happen the way it was portrayed in the movie (Although the violence of such an event was pretty close). According to what was mentioned on the Discovery documentaries (Admittedly, not the best of all possible sources) the keel was designed to survive bending loads around 22,400 pounds per squar inch. This is far more then any ship would normally face in service even in extremely bad weather. Typically, the highest bending loads imposed on a ships keel occur at launch when a ship's stern enters the water and is bouyed up by same while the rest of the hull is still on the slip

Once the Titanic's stern began to rise into the air, the stress imposed went much higher then that, since there was nothing to support the weight of the structure(The numbers I've heard tossed around are 35,000 psi to 66,000 psi) Far more then the ship could survive. The models I've seen show the points of highest stress at the keel and also in the region of the second expansion joint. My understanding is that it was the keel that broke first...kind of like the tube of a paper towel roll when bent, it gives way from the bottom up...and the rest followed shortly thereafter.

As to the angle of the stern's final plunge, that's pretty debatable. Some of the witnesses (Lightoller comes to mind. Beesley too if my demented memory serves) claimed it went all the way to the vertical. The latest computer model I've seen (Again on Discovery...be cautious!) suggest that it couldn't have been more then twelve degrees.

Who does one beleive? The witnesses were there, but they didn't always get it right. I'm inclined to follow the science, but the computer models are only as good as the best data can make them.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Rolf Vonk

Guest
Hi there,

Brandon: I believe Jack Thayer was 17 (my age!!) and the guy in the movie looks much older in my opinion. I believe that Jack thayer had dark hair, while the guy in the movie has light hair. I don't think he's Thayer. He is also not mentioned in the credits. Did you allready find Mr Williams?! hahaha. I believe I identified Gamon de Pycombe walking on the aft poopdeck, but who's the dog walking with him? Any ideas? I like to hear!

Michael: Yes, you're right about the master-at-arms office. Cameron must have used an earlier version of the deckplans. I've some deckplans showing the office at the portside and not in the middle of E deck.

Do you think we can trust the computer? I've seen the discovery documentaries and I'm sorry to say, but I don't trust RMS Titanic inc at all! Not only their investigations are bad, but also the criminal salvage of the wreck. I know it sounds a bit conservative (I'm conservative I think), but I'm still heavy against salvage of the wrecksite.

Though the RMS's theory about the breaking of the stern could be a bit true. They said the keel was keeping stern and bow together during the breaking and causes the quick sinking of the stern. The bow and stern were still together under water and broke beneath the surface if I remember. Maybe you can add something to this.

Regards,
Rolf
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Oh, well, apparently I'm alone in my Jack Thayer Theory. Perhaps it's not him, after all. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking due to the fact that Jack Thayer is one of my favorite Titanic passengers.