Why do people dislike the 1997 Titanic movie?


Dec 23, 2017
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Ironically as a huge fan for films from the 30's-60's, i never had like ANTR at all (love the book though). I always find it filled with enough historical blunders that i often put it in my mind with the 53 film. Not saying there is nothing historically great about the film, there are lots of great moments with it, but its quite clear it was made for Kenneth More, and since i have never been a huge fan of Lightoller i think that is the main reason iv never liked it.

As for the way JC showed Murdoch, i myself have always really enjoyed it.

As the Sea Of Glass extensively talks about, there is no doubt that a suicide or shooting of of some sort did occur in the final moments and it happened on the starboard side near the bridge.

Since we know there is only one confirmed person who had access with a firearm in the location at that time interval, one can start to connect the dots. Now no one can 100% prove it, but much like other aspects of the sinking if you are going to show the Titanic sinking, these are the kind of things if you want to be accurate that you have to show in some form or other
 
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SmileyGirl

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(I haven't read all of this thread)

If my memory is correct, it was first shown on UK television at Christmas 2000. (I didn't see it at the cinema).

So I watched it for the first time that Christmas on the TV. Just an ordinary TV - no large screen LED High Resolution TV.

There had to be a 'vehicle' for the film - a 'story' for the plebs, otherwise it would just be a remake of ANTR in colour. The important difference with ANTR was that the wreck had now been found and filmed and photographed, and this was cleverly woven into the film.

I still cannot watch certain bits of the latter part of the film - I find it far too horrific and frightening - as I am quite sure it was that night.

ANTR played around with a sub-plot concerning 'The Californian Incident', and not with any great effect because the first time I watched ANTR (knowing nothing of the background) it completely passed me by. It would have been a mistake to have included 'The Californian Incident' in the 1997 film.

A film just about The Californian, with the Titanic as sub plot in the distance would be something else!

Cheers,

Julian

Yes, and maybe a film about the Carpathia’s story would be great too.
 
Jan 23, 2019
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I know Cameron was going for high drama and it was a fictional movie but I agree he should have left that out. No need to trash a real person with no definative proof. I wish he would of have covered some more of the radio traffic between the ships. But thats just my opinion coming from a history geek. He obviously knew how to make a blockbuster.

ANTR played around with a sub-plot concerning 'The Californian Incident', and not with any great effect because the first time I watched ANTR (knowing nothing of the background) it completely passed me by. It would have been a mistake to have included 'The Californian Incident' in the 1997 film.

Cameron did film a few scenes with the Californian, but decided not to include it. If I recall correctly, it was an artistic choice. He wanted to keep the story on Titanic the whole night without any diversions.

Seeing his treatment of Murdoch (as spoken about in this thread), I believe him when he implies he wasn't avoiding controversy.


I'm not much for the dialogue, but I think it's going for that classic melodramatic movie feel.
 
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SmileyGirl

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Ironically as a huge fan for films from the 30's-60's, i never had like ANTR at all (love the book though). I always find it filled with enough historical blunders that i often put it in my mind with the 53 film. Not saying there is nothing historically great about the film, there are lots of great moments with it, but its quite clear it was made for Kenneth More, and since i have never been a huge fan of Lightoller i think that is the main reason iv never liked it.

As for the way JC showed Murdoch, i myself have always really enjoyed it.

As the Sea Of Glass extensively talks about, there is no doubt that a suicide or shooting of of some sort did occur in the final moments and it happened on the starboard side near the bridge.

Since we know there is only one confirmed person who had access with a firearm in the location at that time interval, one can start to connect the dots. Now no one can 100% prove it, but much like other aspects of the sinking if you are going to show the Titanic sinking, these are the kind of things if you want to be accurate that you have to show in some form or other

Why don’t you like Lightoller? I know he told lies etc, is it because of that?
 

Cam Houseman

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Many rivet counters didnt like the love story, because what they wanted was a documentary.....

I for one loved the film, although "A Night To Remember" is my favorite Titanic film.

James cameron was brillinat, because his Titanic film touched on so many genres, and thus appealed to so many different people.


regards


Tarn Stephanos
my mom watched it in '97. I like to tell her, "I bet you didn't think you would a son obsessed with Titanic back when you watched the movie in 1997." (she cried in the theater, she told me) The movie might not the most accurate by today, but I love it!
 

Arun Vajpey

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have always defended his movie.

And even though the first half of Cameron's movie was just Romeo and Juliette on the high sea's I always defended that too because he never would have gotten green lighted by the studio to make the movie without it. Besides even though it was unrealistic it was entertaining
Sorry for 'stealing' your quotes to this thread Steven, but it seemed more appropriate to discuss it in a film thread rather than one meant for Captain Smith.

I confess that I have always disliked the film and will continued to do so. Not because it is a "bad film" in the conventional sense but because it fictionalized an actual event by bringing in an interlinked romantic sub-plot. I have both general and personal reasons for disliking the film.

Speaking in a general sense, once a historical event is fictionalized into a commercial film, it becomes a viewer's prerogative to decide whether he/she likes it or not. Unlike something like arguing about the launch time of lifeboat #10 or which side the first funnel fell, there are no 'rights' and 'wrongs' about a fictionalized story. That was exactly what Cameron's film is (like several others before it) - a fiction interspersed with actual events. Nothing wrong in that approach but some people did not like it and I happen to be one of them. Not everything in life is centered around this "boys meets girl" thing and since Cameron chose to bring that into a real tragic event that is of great interest to me, I despised his film. If, for example, Cameron's Titanic had been about a fictional ship with fictional passengers including Rose and Jack, I would have considered it a reasonable if mushy romance with good special effects.

I disagree that a semi-documentary film about the Titanic using an evidence-based approach with minimal and plausible artists' licence would have failed. IMO, using that approach, a perfectly good and thrilling screenplay could have been written by a good script writer, which then could have been turned into a very watchable film with breathtaking special effects without any exaggeration or embellishment. Think about something similar to the real-time OASOG video clip interspersed with an initial build-up with real characters and events, cleverly done cinematography of the interior and exterior events during the sinking etc and a superb film would have been possible.
 
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Cam Houseman

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I disagree that a semi-documentary film about the Titanic using an evidence-based approach with minimal and plausible artists' licence would have failed. IMO, using that approach, a perfectly good and thrilling screenplay could have been written by a good script writer, which then could have been turned into a very watchable film with breathtaking special effects without any exaggeration or embellishment. Think about something similar to the real-time OASOG video clip interspersed with an initial build-up with real characters and events, cleverly done cinematography of the interior and exterior events during the sinking etc and a superb film would have been possible.
It wouldn't have failed, it wouldn't have made anywhere near a billion dollars. The Romantic subplot brought in all types of people to the movie, not just Titanic enthusiasts, and that's a good thing! Think how many Titanic Enthusiasts there are in the world.

a Romantic plot in a historical movie is very common, and works with other movies, not just Titanic, says the numbers.

I'll also always defend this movie, lol.
 
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I will combine my response to both of you so I don't get too redundant. Arun I respect your opinion on it. I have no problem with people liking or disliking a movie. But I responded to the other thread because I know what he was talking about people trashing other people for liking something they don't. It's just a movie. My comments weren't directed toward anyone here on this site. I'm sure there's some but I don't recall anybody here saying so and so is an idiot for liking a movie. Cam to borrow your comment..."a Romantic plot in a historical movie is very common, and works with other movies, not just Titanic, says the numbers." I couldn't agree more. One of the reasons I started reading about WW1 and the Russian revolution was because when my dear mom took me to the movies as a lad younger than you are now was when I saw Dr. Zhivago in the 1960's. That movie sparked an interest in those subjects for me. Other movies in those days sparked other interests in me that I still study 50 years later. Cheers all.
P.S...I've stated this before but I believe one of the reasons that a lot of people (guys) trashed the movie had nothing to do with Titanic. It was because they couldn't handled the fact that their women folk had the hots for Leo and they couldn't deal with it. Just my opinion of course.
 
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Cam Houseman

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I will combine my response to both of you so I don't get too redundant. Arun I respect your opinion on it. I have no problem with people liking or disliking a movie. But I responded to the other thread because I know what he was talking about people trashing other people for liking something they don't. It's just a movie. My comments weren't directed toward anyone here on this site. I'm sure there's some but I don't recall anybody here saying so and so is an idiot for liking a movie. Cam to borrow your comment..."a Romantic plot in a historical movie is very common, and works with other movies, not just Titanic, says the numbers." I couldn't agree more. One of the reasons I started reading about WW1 and the Russian revolution was because when my dear mom took me to the movies as a lad younger than you are now was when I saw Dr. Zhivago in the 1960's. That movie sparked an interest in those subjects for me. Other movies in those days sparked other interests in me that I still study 50 years later. Cheers all.
P.S...I've stated this before but I believe one of the reasons that a lot of people (guys) trashed the movie had nothing to do with Titanic. It was because they couldn't handled the fact that their women folk had the hots for Leo and they couldn't deal with it. Just my opinion of course.
Hey Steven, how’re you?

I agree 100% with all of your points above :)
The movie helped move my fascination of Titanic along. It’s also responsible for bringing in THOUSANDS of Titanic enthusiasts!

I personally also think some don’t like the movie because they’re mad it wasn’t a documentary, like what ANTR sort of was.

Not directed to anyone on this site or Arun, just saying in general. But it’s not right for someone to trash someone else because they have a differing opinion, something that happens often in the outside world, and sadly most common in Politics, which I stay away from.

best of luck y’all! And have a good evening
 
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Hey Steven, how’re you?

I agree 100% with all of your points above :)
The movie helped move my fascination of Titanic along. It’s also responsible for bringing in THOUSANDS of Titanic enthusiasts!

I personally also think some don’t like the movie because they’re mad it wasn’t a documentary, like what ANTR sort of was.

Not directed to anyone on this site or Arun, just saying in general. But it’s not right for someone to trash someone else because they have a differing opinion, something that happens often in the outside world, and sadly most common in Politics, which I stay away from.

best of luck y’all! And have a good evening
Yes. There's nothing wrong with not liking a movie. There's hundreds of movies I've seen where I wanted my 2 hours of life back after watching them. As for politics...that's a good choice. I forget who said it but I remember hearing that politics is the theater you go into when your too ugly for Hollywood...:p
 
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Sentreal

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I genuinely think it's a terrible movie. Slavoj Žižek's point — that it's about a "rich b***h exploiting a poor, working-class guy" — is pretty hard to refute, and therefore, insofar as Cameron was trying to offer it up as a critique of the class system as well as being a heartfelt love story, well, it kind of fails on both of those counts.

Its representation of Titanic is obviously a great cinematic achievement, even in spite of the errors, but as a movie, I find it borderline unwatchable.

I'd love to make a 'fan' edit of it reducing it to a barebones representation of what happened to the ship and its passengers & crew. I think it represents them somewhat better and more accurately than did A Night to Remember, which, while a better piece of cinema, romanticises the frankly unjustified actions of Lightoller at the expense of the accuracy it purports to represent.

The two things ANTR has going for it are the representations of Ismay and the Californian.

But beyond that, I don't think we've had a good Titanic movie.
 
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I genuinely think it's a terrible movie. Slavoj Žižek's point — that it's about a "rich b***h exploiting a poor, working-class guy" — is pretty hard to refute, and therefore, insofar as Cameron was trying to offer it up as a critique of the class system as well as being a heartfelt love story, well, it kind of fails on both of those counts.

Its representation of Titanic is obviously a great cinematic achievement, even in spite of the errors, but as a movie, I find it borderline unwatchable.

I'd love to make a 'fan' edit of it reducing it to a barebones representation of what happened to the ship and its passengers & crew. I think it represents them somewhat better and more accurately than did A Night to Remember, which, while a better piece of cinema, romanticises the frankly unjustified actions of Lightoller at the expense of the accuracy it purports to represent.

The two things ANTR has going for it are the representations of Ismay and the Californian.

But beyond that, I don't think we've had a good Titanic movie.
 
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Cam Houseman

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personally, one couple doesn't ruin the movie, when good sections of the movie don't focus on them, i.e the Iceberg collision, the final plunge, take her to sea, etc. Although I won't override his opinion haha
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Its representation of Titanic is obviously a great cinematic achievement, even in spite of the errors, but as a movie, I find it borderline unwatchable.
Just about my own opinion. I am not so sure about a "great cinematic achievement" either. The Special Effects were poor for a few key scenes, most notably the sighting of the iceberg and the ship closing on it. The "blossom effect" is all wrong, something that is far better depicted in Sam Halpern's serial sketches in his article "Encounter in the Night"

Also, true events like Hemming and Foley investigating the "hissing", steady flooding of the mail rooms, water appearing in Boiler Room 4, the drama with lowering of Lifeboats #13 and #15, the near faller at Lifeboat #10 etc could have been depicted much better. Instead, too much footage was wasted on Jack and Rose, even later during the sinking. "Take a few practice swings"? Please!
 

Kyle Naber

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The Special Effects were poor for a few key scenes, most notably the sighting of the iceberg and the ship closing on it.

I agree. Lots of the lighting elements were off in this sequence. The 2012 Blu-ray release did a great job correcting this.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I agree. Lots of the lighting elements were off in this sequence
Not just the lighting. The size/distance ratio was all wrong throughout the iceberg sequence. As I said, take a look at Sam's article sketches to get an idea how that really would have looked like to the human eye as the distance between the two closed.

In the film, judging by the time that it took from the first sighting to the actual impact (which is likely very close to being accurate), the iceberg seems too close already when first seen. Assuming that Fleet saw the berg at approximately 2500 feet from the bow, it would have appeared much smaller at first but then steadily increased in size as the ship closed on it with sudden 'looming large' in the last few seconds. That's the so-called blossom effect (that term is used for describing other things as well) and that's how human vision works. Our depth perception can be described as "moderate" during daylight but tends to be on the poorer side at night. Night acclimatization of vision only slightly improves depth perception.
 

Cam Houseman

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Not just the lighting. The size/distance ratio was all wrong throughout the iceberg sequence. As I said, take a look at Sam's article sketches to get an idea how that really would have looked like to the human eye as the distance between the two closed.
I think it was to be dramatic, IMO. Really, it would've been shorter as multiple things are happening at the same time, i.e Hichens turning the helm Hard over, the dampers being shut, etc.

But you bring up Valid points Arun :)
 
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Peter Kyhl

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I have never disliked the movie. I was blown away when I first saw it in 1998 at the premiere here in Denmark in our cinema with the biggest screen. I have seen the movie so many time now that the mistakes bother me and I really don't care much for the whole Rose/Jack/Cal story but all in all I think the movie is the best movie about Titanic.
 
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Cam Houseman

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I have never disliked the movie. I was blown away when I first saw it in 1998 at the premiere here in Denmark in our cinema with the biggest screen. I have seen the movie so many time now that the mistakes bother me and I really don't care much for the whole Rose/Jack/Cal story but all in all I think the movie is the best movie about Titanic.
100% agreed Peter
Although ANTR is a close second, in my opinion ;)
 
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