Why do people dislike the 1997 Titanic movie?

Shel Cooper

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Nov 8, 2013
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I liked the movie, but the break-up scene was overdramatized, and the sinking scenes were not that great. The plunge of the bow filmed from the front rather than the back would have been better. The soundtrack was rather horrifying in itself. I just crank Snoop Dogg and it makes it all better.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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It's impossible to please everyone, that's what it comes down to. The biggest blockbusters of all time have all had their critics, and I don't think there's yet been a movie made or a book published which hasn't had its detractors.

I've got nothing against the 1997 movie - it's not particularly historically accurate and there's a lot of "Hollywood" to it but at the same time, it did plenty for getting people interested in the story of the Titanic again and spawned even more interesting films like the Ghosts Of The Abyss expeditions a few years later. So it somewhat balances itself out.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Martin Cooper

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Dec 13, 2007
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Historical events mixed together with fiction, ie; 'film makers or poetic licenece', just to get bums on seats and make a load of dosh, should never be allowed. Those that are well read and in the know can sort out the fiction from fact, but for others that are not in the know or are prone to believe that what they see on the silver screen is 'real', then this is fixed in their heads as being the truth. They tend to believe all this 'licence' and even quote these fictional events as being 'fact', which in time can lead to the historical fact being replaced by film makers fiction. Take for instance the 1964 film 'Zulu', the film was based on an actual event that took place during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. After the earlier same day battle at iSandlwana, in which a zulu impi of over 20,000 massacred and butchered a force of over 1000 men, the zulu reserve of around 3-4000 (who had not been involved at iSandlwana), went on to attack the mission station at Rorke's Drift, which was being used as a depot and hospital by the British. The film depicted these men of the British Army as being a Welsh regiment, however, the actual regiment that fought at Rorke's Drift was called the 24th (2nd Warwickshire) regiment of foot, and of the 123 men of the 24th (2nd Warwickshire) regiment, there were just 14 that were Welsh, the majority of the rest being English. The main reason why this happened is because Stanley Baker was Welsh, and he had a chip on his shoulder, so he fictionalised the regiment as being Welsh and included many fictional characters with Welsh sounding names, had them pretending to have a Welsh choir so that they could start singing 'men of harlech' just to add to all the false Welshness. Since this film was made in 1964 the number of people who believe this Welsh myth that it was a Welsh regiment is unbelieveable, the facts have been replaced by fiction and the myth has replaced the truth. Those who have studied the AZW of 1879 know that the film is mainly fiction, however, those who just watch it for the action think that it is the truth, and continue to quote the regiment as being a Welsh regiment rather that the actual regiment which was the 24th (2nd Warwickshire) regiment. Welshman Baker got away with it back in 1964, and since then the myth is replacing the truth, the ironical thing about it is that although Baker was Welsh, he played the part of Lt Chard, who was an Englishman. As you can see, I feel very strongly about fiction replacing fact, and feel that historical events like this should be portrayed as near to historical fact as possible. So my gripe against the film 'Titanic' is that it is almost all fiction, and when I mention to anyone that I am interested in Titanic, they automatically assume I mean the film, and when I mention the AZW and iSandlwana and RD, they nearly always say " Oh, yes the 'Welsh' regiment", this cannot be right when fiction takes over from fact. Jack and Rose, the 'Welsh' regiment, all fiction yes, but it starts taking over from fact, and eventually replaces the actual events with fictional rubbish. I have no time for film makers that do this sort of thing to historical events, just to get bums on seats and make a pile of dosh, keep to the facts and leave out the fiction.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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Hi Martin,

Take a look around you. Have a look at the mountains of debates that have taken place on a vast range of issues related to the Titanic on these very discussion boards, never mind outside of them. If historians and enthusiasts can't even agree on the exact story of what happened to the Titanic, then how is a film maker supposed to do so?

Name me one film in the history of cinema which has stuck stubbornly to every single ascertained fact. I can't think of any.

As I said before, you can't please everyone, no matter what you do. It is one of the few things that is completely impossible to do. So, that being the case, the next best thing you can do is create something interesting which is going to bring people into the cinema.

And you know what? It's thanks to movies like Cameron's that new generations of Titanic enthusiasts enter the fold, which is vital now that those who were there to tell the original story have now all gone. If a little embellishment here and there is what it takes to keep the story alive, then so be it, because as I mentioned before, nobody can agree on the full truth of the original story anyway!

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Steve Dunham

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May 28, 2015
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I agree with a lot of the criticism of the movie, especially 1990s characters (Jack and Rose) in a 1912 environment. One thing I didn't see mentioned is the scene of an afterlife on the Titanic, in which all the disaster's victims seem to be some kind of saint by virtue of having died. Two disaster books I read (not about Titanic) touched on this. In Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound, John Keeble quoted Susan Sontag: "Death is regarded not as natural and inevitable but as a cruel, unmerited disaster." In The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway and America’s Deadliest Avalanche, Gary Krist referred to the "indiscriminate praise that victims of major disasters often receive." The passengers on the Titanic were handed an unmerited disaster, yes, but that doesn't make them better people than those who died in other ways. That scene in Cameron's movie reminds me of what Krist wrote. (I know I'm adding to a dormant thread, but I only discovered ET this year and am still exploring it.)
 

Isis

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Jul 17, 2017
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I like this film except for the parts with jack and rose! Lol. There's an edited version on youtube that cuts all those scenes out, worth a watch:

 
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knotgashford

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Nov 17, 2017
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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
I personally liked the movie, I probably have seen it more than a dozen times. you are right, it brings the Titanic back to life and the effects are so real. I guess some people don't like it because of the romance angle.
 
May 3, 2005
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I like it for the detail and special effects.
I think most people just don't like the "Jack ! Jack ! Rose ! Rose !" thing.
As bad as most people think the 1953 "Titanic" is, I think the "Gifford-Annette" romance angle was handled much better and more realistic than the 1997 version.
I have a suspicion that maybe James Cameron got the idea for the 1997 movie from the 1953 movie and embellished it a bit.

I can relate more to "Gifford" than I can to "Jack".....LOL
 

Kas01

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May 24, 2018
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I'm just surprised that in the nearly 20 years that this thread has been up, no one has mentioned that Rose is a Mary Sue-type character. Let's take a look at this Common Mary Sue Traits - TV Tropes page and go down the list.

1. Personality: Other than "Strong Late 90's Feminist Icon/Sex Symbol Who Don't Need No Stinking Man, Yet Falls For Leonardo DiCaprio Anyway", there really isn't that much to differentiate Rose from the other first class characters other than the fact that she really, really hates Cal, and really, really is in lust with Jack. This is a character with very few defining traits outside of her relationships with other characters.

Character flaws? What the hell are those? (Ignore the gossipy hen BS about Madeleine Astor, everybody does it, so it isn't bad). She's this all-loving heroine who can simply do no wrong even if she tried, even to a fault, and that includes cheating on her fiancee. Rescuing her newfound squeeze and the odd kid stuck on board? Sure, why the hell not?

2. Skills: Where the hell does Rose DeWitt Never Swung Anything Heavier Than A Tennis Racket Bukater learn to handle a fire ax, of all things? Granted, Kate Winslet hits Leo on the hand anyway, but we're supposed to believe that this cherubic 17-year-old girl is an instant expert with regards to rescuing people? And for that matter, what of her obviously intellectual pursuits? Are we supposed to believe that a girl who knows about Freudian psychology five or so years before Freud himself and collects Picasso paintings doesn't know that Monet doesn't do portraits, but landscapes?

3. Physical Appearance: We don't need to be reminded that Kate Winslet is a beautiful woman, but beautiful first-class newlyweds or recently engaged women were a dime a dozen on board Titanic (admittedly, the aforementioned Mrs. Astor, Mary Eloise Smith, Helen Bishop, and Mary Marvin were pregnant, thus somewhat reducing their sex appeal or glamor, depending on if you're a guy or girl). Hell, go down into steerage and tell me with a straight face that Kate Gilnagh or the fictional Helga was anything but a looker. But no, we need to constantly be reminded that "Congratulations, Hockley, she's splendid" or "Forget it, boyo. You're as like to have angels fly out your arse as get next to the likes of her". And even at her worst, Rose simply looks like a typical bored teenage girl rather than sick to her stomach or in dread, as she's supposed to be.

4. Accessories: The MacGuffin itself, The Heart of the Ocean. Thank God it doesn't allow for time travel.

5. Character Relationships: Every waking moment we see of Jack and his buddies, who I can barely be arsed to remember their names, they're talking about Rose. Even the Italian dude, who has his own girlfriend, mind you (and is a foil to Rose) spends more time talking about Rose than he does about Helga, the girlfriend, or quite literally anything else, for that matter.

And it's certainly believable for Thomas Andrews to single out the minor wife-to-be over a late 20s-early 30s steel magnate for special attention. Totally. Believable.

6. Story Elements: The entire story reeks of Old Rose self-mythologizing. She never expounds on her background-what did the Bukaters do, anyway? All we know is that they're from Philly. What caused her family to lose its fortune and what caused her to be engaged to a douchenugget living 300 miles away? We're never supposed to feel ashamed of her, as everything that's morally wrong is romanticized or sexualized, or both at once. At the very least Cal had some characterization in a deleted scene that made us sympathize for the guy, no matter how much of an asshole he was.

7. Name: At the very least, this is the one thing that's justified, as it's not too ridiculously out of the realm of being possible, but Rose is the only character using her full name (the aforementioned Mary Eloise Smith never appeared in the film, and in any case, "Mary Smith" would be too generic to actually know who we were talking about).

8. Presentation: Yes, the story is entirely in first-person, and we never hear anything about other characters except for how they relate to Rose. There's no room for introspection, be that whether or not Rose's mother is domineering because she doesn't know anything else or whether or not it's a good idea to cheat on your fiancee with a broke transient who cavorts with Parisian hookers. None at all.

The real problem with the Cameron film isn't that its tropes are hackneyed or unimaginative, although these are still problems. It's that its main character is a poorly written, self-mythologizing Mary Sue.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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I didn't dislike the movie. I thought the recreation of the ship was very good. The closest of any movie made. For that I liked the movie. As for the Jack & Rose & Cal & Brock story line...it was entertaining if not very realistic. But looking at it thru my capitalistic eyes I thought it was marketing genius by J.C. I never saw in the theater but I know women who went and saw it like ten times...in other words..cha-ching for the studio and J.C. His follow up block buster which made even more I didn't care for at all.
 

Kas01

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May 24, 2018
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I'll be honest I'd have preferred Kate Winslet opposite Cillian Murphy, but needs must, even if Kate's American accent slowly goes to pot over the course of the film. Wouldn't have even needed the class warfare trope.
 
May 3, 2005
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I like it for the detail and special effects.
I think most people just don't like the "Jack ! Jack ! Rose ! Rose !" thing.
As bad as most people think the 1953 "Titanic" is, I think the "Gifford-Annette" romance angle was handled much better and more realistic than the 1997 version.
I have a suspicion that maybe James Cameron got the idea for the 1997 movie from the 1953 movie and embellished it a bit.

I can relate more to "Gifford" than I can to "Jack".....LOL
P.S. I first saw the 1953 "Titanic" movie on the big screen during its 1953 debut at a down town first run theater in San Diego.
I was in the Navy, on Liberty from the ship on which I was stationed at the North Island Naval Station at that time.

Since then I have collected DVD's of the 1953, 1958 and 1997 versions and enjoyed all.
1953 "Titanic" mainly for the Stanwyck-Webb connection. I was a great fan of Clifton Webb.
1958 "A Night To Remember "for the mostly historic accuracy....Except for the opening scene.
1997 "Titanic" for its color and special effects.

I really knew very little, if any, about the Titanic story in 1953, but have gotten into it since then.

And Robert Wagner and I were about the same age in 1953. Wife says we still are in 2018.
And I would prefer Audrey Dalton over Kate Winslet ! LOL
 
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Rancor

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Jun 23, 2017
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Rumor has it that when pitching the movie to the studio execs, James Cameron had a picture of the Titanic on a large board at the front of the conference room. Once everyone had taken their seats he said "ladies and gentlemen. Romeo and Juliet on this ship" and walked out of the room.
 

Rich Hayden

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Jul 17, 2014
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Yeah, I think it was one of Ken's paintings of the ship sinking.

As others have said, the recreation of the ship was very enjoyable, even it's all horribly over-lit, but...that script, the whole Jack\Rose thing, the risibly simplistic characterisation...just no.

I really appreciate what Cameron has done in exploring the wreck but I think the movie is almost unwatchable. Even worse, every Google Image search relating to the ship and people on board now returns results dominated by the film.

There's just no getting away from it.
 
May 3, 2005
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I think the reason most people don't like the "1997 " is simply because of the fictional characters......Jack, Rose, etc .
I really like it for all the details of the ship, even though they may not be exactly right .

I think the reason that most of the Titanic enthusiasts like the "1958" is that most of the characters are based on real life persons or at least composites of real life persons .

And despite its reputation as "the worst Titanic movie ever made" , the "1953" has at least 2 redeeming features IMHO. :
(1) Annette and Gifford angle is more believable than Rose and Jack
(2) Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb

And IMHO , the "1943" ,(Nazi) is at the very bottom of the list.
 
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