Why do people dislike the 1997 Titanic movie?

Feb 24, 2004
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I forgave any inaccuracies and excesses in the film the very first time I watched GOTA. I knew then the guy was on the right path. I also marvel at how much deep sea photography and video have improved over the last several years, due greatly to the "push" they've received from Jim and his brother. It seems cold-hearted or even snide not to be grateful.

Roy
 
Dec 29, 2006
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The question posed in this thread is why do people dislike the film, not "what do they like about it". To that extent, many of the comments are likely to be somewhat negative. However, supporters of Cameron's Titanic can perhaps take some comfort from the fact that most critics seem to have focussed on the (many) irritating features about this film - which is not the same as saying that they actually dislike it.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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quote:

most critics seem to have focussed on the (many) irritating features about this film - which is not the same as saying that they actually dislike it
Stanley, the title of the thread is "WHY do people dislike the 1997 Titanic movie?" By pointing out the many irritating features about the film, posters/critics are being consistent with the purpose of the thread.

By the way, pointing out certain unfavorable features need not be the same as disliking the film altogether. The two are not intended to be the same thing.

This film has, in my opinion, questionable aspects throughout, but that doesn't mean I dislike the film because of that. I just keep in mind that it is, in fact, only a film, not reality.

Or did I misunderstand your point?​
 
Dec 29, 2006
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Hello Mark. Yes, I think you have totally misunderstood the point(s) that I was attempting to make, which were 1) This thread asks why do people dislike the film, not why do they like it and 2) In reality, most critics do not, in fact, dislike Cameron's Titanic - it is more a case that they find certain parts of it mildly irritating, which is not the same as disliking it in its entirety.
 
Oct 17, 2006
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I think in most respects its due to some of the limitations of the script and the inclusion of elements that would appeal to a broader audience but allienate some of the purists. The first half of the movie is certainly more difficult to sit through as we witness Rose contemplating suicide from the stern, to injokes about old Rose talking about it with the crew (when one quips she only had to wait two days - she was aboard the Titanic), to Jack and friend making dog whistles while climbing up on the prow on the bow section, to the dreaded spitting scene and 'hawking it back in the throat' along the promenade. If anything Rose and Jack (Jack in particular) act like they were on board a liner in 1997 not in 1912. We even have them running all over the ship and down in the boilerroom. It really defies belief and makes you sort of cringe but they include these things because its a romantic take on the story of the Titanic while also including some of the real events and passengers. Its a pity we didnt have the realism of the script from A Night To Remember coupled with the breathtaking recreations in the 1997 movie. Now that would have been something!
 

Arun Vajpey

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Apr 21, 2009
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My dislike of the film, like many other Titanic enthusiasts, is to some extent personal. I would have conceded that it was an OK film (and no more) if it was totally fictional. But to me, converting a real-life saga into a mushy Hollywood romance complete with a nauseating boy-meets-girl story is nothing short of sacrilege. I spent many years hoping that someone would make a new and well researched Titanic film and when Cameron's film came out, I was very disappointed.

To me, it should have been made with the same semi-documentary approach as A Night To Remember but with greater historical accuracy, a snappier script and better special effects. Cameron did fine in the special effects department but there was little else about the film that I want to remember.

I have never believed that central characters are ALWAYS necessary for the audience to get involved in a film. True, central characterisation would be important in certain films - you cannot make Gone with the Wind without concentrating on Rhett Butler & Scarlett O'Hara - but this is not the case with all themes, certainly not the Titanic. I am not suggesting that the script should have been completely detached like a documentary; there were plenty of people on board whose characters could have been given a bit more onus than others - Smith, Murdoch, Andrews, Ismay, Joughin, Beesley, Molly Brown, the Goodwins and so on. Instead, Cameron's film is packed with nonsense about a necklace, romance, cliches and even a few unintentional laughs.
 
> I would have conceded that it was an OK film
> (and no more) if it was totally fictional.

EXACTLY. That statement is the problem with the film.

Other epic historical love stories are different because they take a massive event and place fictional characters in it. Gone with the Wind (Civil War), Dr. Zhivago (Russian Revolution), etc. etc.

The event of the sinking of the Titanic is a small event. It wasn't a multi-year war involving millions of people. It was a 4-day event that involved 2000 people. It was too specific of an event for historians NOT to nitpick.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Apr 21, 2009
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>>>>> The event of the sinking of the Titanic is a small event. It wasn't a multi-year war involving millions of people. It was a 4-day event that involved 2000 people. It was too specific of an event for historians NOT to nitpick. <<<<<<

Agreed. I think the phrase "too specific" explains why fictional characters can be acceptable with some historic events but not in others. We cannot dissect minute-by-minute chronology of the American Civil War or the Russian Revolution because of the vast scope of those events. But this forum is a good example why the same thing cannot apply to the Titanic, especially after the ship left harbour.
 
May 27, 2007
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You nailed it, Jeremy and you also Arun, although I think GWTW and Dr. Zhivago had their own nit pickers and nay sayers back in the day!

For the longest time I hated Titanic even though I saw it 3 times and dragged my family to see it! Now I look at it applaud the film for getting folks interested in Titanic!
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Even if certain folks did nothing but gush about Jack and Rose there were others who were interested in the ship and her passengers and crew who weren't before!
 

Arun Vajpey

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>>>> Now I look at it applaud the film for getting folks interested in Titanic! Even if certain folks did nothing but gush about Jack and Rose there were others who were interested in the ship and her passengers and crew who weren't before!<<<<

Yes, but it got the wrong sort of folk interested in the Titanic. I believe that true Titanic buffs were already interested a long time before. Many people, my father-in-law among them, believe that the Titanic lookouts missed seeing the iceberg early enough because they were too busy oggling a kissing couple - as depicted in the film.
 
May 27, 2007
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Good point Arun! But I think there are a few young Titanic buffs out there who got interested in Titanic because of the film and want to know about the real ship! At least I hope so!
 
Mar 18, 2009
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I think you've gotta remember it's a film and by definition is never going to be 100% accurate. Just about any "historical" movie ever made you could say that about especially ones with a contrived romantic plot line (e.g. "Pearl Harbour"). Cameron got a lot of things right and if I too find some bits irritating (the bit where Jim teaches Rose how to spit seems especially strange) I'd forgive Cameron for attempting to do justice to a great if tragic story. If anything it's helped generate interest - it might have cemented and created a few myths but myth not only distorts history it also sustains it in the memory.
 
May 3, 2005
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In defense (or maybe apology) for "us nitpickers", of which I fall into the category of being strictly in the amateur ranks.:

In my experience, I have been in technical fields where everything had to be more or less exactly correct and perhaps I expect everything to be exactly correct in movies such as those regarding Titanic, when it's really best to treat a movie as fiction for entertainment's sake, necessitated by the end results of successes at at the box office.

This is true in all the versions of "Titanic"...even ANTR has a few glaring errors.

I once took to task another movie, filmed in the local area with locations of which I was familiar.
An old lady lived in a near-slum area and was show attending a church in one of the most affluent areas in the United States. This didn't exactly "follow the dots"...but again, the movie was pure fiction and in the end "just a movie."

I don't believe Captain Smith was actually diverted from his duties by listening to Giff and Annette singing College Songs in "Titanic" (1953) any more than Fleet and Lee were distracted by the goings on of Jack and Rose in "Titanic" (1997). LOL.

And as for "Pearl Harbor"...that scene showing listening to the radio transmissions of planes over Tokyo....as an old "ham radio operator"...(snashing of teeth)..... ;-)

However, I think maybe this website is evidence of the interest generated by the "Titanic" movies...It has been, at least in my case. At least this website seems to be the place to " just get the facts, ma'am."
 

Arun Vajpey

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Apr 21, 2009
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>>>>>> Just about any "historical" movie ever made you could say that about especially ones with a contrived romantic plot line (e.g. "Pearl Harbour") <<<<<<<

Thank for mentioning "Pearl Harbor" because that film, along with its predecessor, perfectly illustrates the point that I was making earlier.

"TORA! TORA!! TORA!!!" is an excellent film about the Pearl Harbour attack, depicting events close to, if not with 100% historical accuracy. But what appealed most to me about the film is its semi-documentary approach where there are no 'central characters' and side stories as such. Yet, the film worked very well and is now considered as a classic. "Pearl Harbor" on the other hand is more about a romantic triangle that takes place with the attack in the background. Despite some great special effects - the Arizona bomb sequence was one of the best shot scenes that I have ever seen - the move is easily forgotten.

Likewise, I believe that a modern film about the Titanic should have been in the 'Tora Tora Tora' mould; instead, it is more like 'Pearl Harbor'.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>Thank for mentioning "Pearl Harbor" because that film, along with its predecessor, perfectly illustrates the point that I was making earlier.<<

Just another "historical nitpick"...This time on the George C. Scott "Titanic" version :
The radio (code) signals are the sound of a modern day CW (Continuous Wave) transmission....You can listen to the soundtrack on ANTR for the correct (Spark) sound.

On "Pearl Harbor" they wouldn't be breaking "radio silence" during the Tokyo raid in the first place. Secondly, they couldn't have been heard in Honolulu. Thirdly, they didn't show the time difference between Tokyo and Honolulu.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>Very likely they were. Warships are a lousy place to use fine china, but you see the plain robust, to say nothing of cheap and expendable, stoneware on messdecks everywhere.<<

I don't remember seeing any "stoneware" on the enlisted men's messdecks during my brief Naval Service.... ;-)
 
Nov 26, 2005
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>>I always thought of Pearl Harbor as Titanic's Jack and Rose plot on Steroids!<<

LOL

George, that was good. Never thought about it like that but, yeah, I can see that. At least we didn't hear the name "Evelyn!" (that's her name in Pearl Harbor, right?) a thousand times over like we heard "Rose!" in 'Titanic'!
 
May 27, 2007
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At least we didn't hear the name "Evelyn!" (that's her name in Pearl Harbor, right?) a thousand times over like we heard "Rose!" in 'Titanic'!
I think it had an effect on baby naming because Rose was said so much! I agree with you a hundred percent! Rose and Jack too, became very popular in the late 90's. I wonder why?
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