Why do people dislike the 1997 Titanic movie?


Susi

Member
Except the movie was about Jack and Rose. It just took place on the Titanic. I could see this point if it were about a 2021 ANTR (which I’d LOVE to see happen).
I know. But this story had imo many holes that I could not enjoy the movie at all. The bad portrayal of the historical figures made even worse. Still a movie I watch almost everyday because it is still quiet addicting and fascinating to watch.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
So many chances to tell an epic story wasted
That's precisely what I have always been saying. The actual fatcs associated with the Titanic disaster are fascinating on their own without any stupid "boy meets girl" embellishment. The script could have involved the situations and activities of several interesting real-life characters like Ismay, Murdoch, Andrews, Smith, Moody, Beesley, 'Molly' Brown etc. Actually relatively few real-life events have a romantic background and the arguement that Cameron included Jack & Rose to appease the general public makes no sense. Several mega-hit movies have had ro romantic interlude whatsoever in the screenplay.

There were several events related to the Titanic's fateful maiden voyage which, in the hands of a good scriptwriter, could have been incorporated into a great screenplay. The build-up to dearture, near-collision with the New York, the ice warnings as they arrived, the dropping sea temperatures, sighting of the iceberg (which was very poorly depicted, IMO), collision, gradual flooding and so on. Those events could have been interspersed with the movements and problems of the rela-life characters involved.

As you say, a really good chance wasted.

It is now almost 25 years since that film was made. I agree with Thomas Krom that it is not too late to make a really good and "proper" Titanic film.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Susi

Member
That's precisely what I have always been saying. The actual fatcs associated with the Titanic disaster are fascinating on their own without any stupid "boy meets girl" embellishment. The script could have involved the situations and activities of several interesting real-life characters like Ismay, Murdoch, Andrews, Smith, Moody, Beesley, 'Molly' Brown etc. Actually relatively few real-life events have a romantic background and the arguement that Cameron included Jack & Rose to appease the general public makes no sense. Several mega-hit movies have had ro romantic interlude whatsoever in the screenplay.

There were several events related to the Titanic's fateful maiden voyage which, in the hands of a good scriptwriter, could have been incorporated into a great screenplay. The build-up to dearture, near-collision with the New York, the ice warnings as they arrived, the dropping sea temperatures, sighting of the iceberg (which was very poorly depicted, IMO), collision, gradual flooding and so on. Those events could have been interspersed with the movements and problems of the rela-life characters involved.

As you say, a really good chance wasted.

It is now almost 25 years since that film was made. I agree with Thomas Krom that it is not too late to make a really good and "proper" Titanic film.
It is so weird to me that James Cameron himself had been researching for years about the titanic disaster prior to making the movie and he had all the sources right in front of him to make a very epic movie out of his gathered information...but all he came up with is Rose and Jack.. I wonder how he could pull through with all the historical errors after everything he knew about the real circumstances.
Even if I accept his desire to make the main plot about a fictional love story, at least make it make sense!! I had zero sympathy for Rose, she is made to look like a hero that breaks out of oppressive relationships and class systems, when she is just a plain Mary Sue with a one-dimensional character. How can two people that met two days ago suddenly promise each other eternal loyalty and just throw away their entire life and families and go die for each other??. Literally every decision Rose made during the journey was super dumb imho.
The character assassinations of the officers made it all worse. I am fine with a fictional love story, but dont make them the most important thing in the world. Even in other movies, its not always the main characters that get all the screen time. I also think there were too many plot conveniences. Cameron made the story too easy and basic plot-wise. A real life human and maritime disaster that impacted multiple generations that followed after and that will continue to shock people in the future, needs to be treated with more caution, respect and touched upon with depth and complexity. And this is what the movie lacks, namely the character depths and respect for the real life incidents.
Of course, it all would have been even better if the rose and jack story was thrown over board alltogether, because as you said, the real life characters would have sufficient to make an epic movie
 
It is so weird to me that James Cameron himself had been researching for years about the titanic disaster prior to making the movie and he had all the sources right in front of him to make a very epic movie out of his gathered information...but all he came up with is Rose and Jack.. I wonder how he could pull through with all the historical errors after everything he knew about the real circumstances.
Even if I accept his desire to make the main plot about a fictional love story, at least make it make sense!! I had zero sympathy for Rose, she is made to look like a hero that breaks out of oppressive relationships and class systems, when she is just a plain Mary Sue with a one-dimensional character. How can two people that met two days ago suddenly promise each other eternal loyalty and just throw away their entire life and families and go die for each other??. Literally every decision Rose made during the journey was super dumb imho.
The character assassinations of the officers made it all worse. I am fine with a fictional love story, but dont make them the most important thing in the world. Even in other movies, its not always the main characters that get all the screen time. I also think there were too many plot conveniences. Cameron made the story too easy and basic plot-wise. A real life human and maritime disaster that impacted multiple generations that followed after and that will continue to shock people in the future, needs to be treated with more caution, respect and touched upon with depth and complexity. And this is what the movie lacks, namely the character depths and respect for the real life incidents.
Of course, it all would have been even better if the rose and jack story was thrown over board alltogether, because as you said, the real life characters would have sufficient to make an epic movie
The studio would never have green lighted another Titanic movie without the Romeo and Juliette story line. They are about profits. They came close to scrubbing the project many times. Cameron had to put up a lot of his own money with other investors to get it made. The reason it was so profitable was because of repeat viewers. Mainly teenage girls that saw it dozens of times. They wouldn't have sat through ANTR more than once. For the record as I have stated before I liked Cameron's movie. I thought it was entertaining. But I just took it for a fictional story with an historical backdrop. Not much more. Cheers.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Southampton

Member
Adding to Steven's pertinent addition, I think it's also relevant to note the first version of the movie was four hours long and included a lot more scenes related to the sinking and the real passengers. However, during screening tests (held by the National Research Group in Minneapolis), the audience was apparently very clear and viewers showed a lot more interest in the fictional story between Jack and Rose than in the real historical aspects of the narrative, which ultimately made Cameron cut scenes pertaining to the sinking/passengers and keep the Jack/Rose ones.

In the end it really is all about profit. No Hollywood studio would have ever invested all that money (it was the most expensive movie of all time back then) on a Titanic movie without some kind of plot that appealed to the masses. Interest in a Titanic movie that focuses only on the tragedy and the real passengers is still a niche thing - most people don't really care all that much about the event.

That's why I'll never get the argument: "They had so many resources and so much money to make a great Titanic movie and they wasted it on Jack and Rose!" Well, sure, but if it weren't for Jack and Rose, the resources and the money wouldn't be there in the first place. We would get a very different movie and all those amazing visuals of the ship wouldn't exist at all because no big studio would have ever backed up something like that and all we would get would be a ANTR 2.0 (and I love ANTR). It baffles me how some people seem to think that it's even possible to get a $200M budget Titanic film that focuses only on the tragedy and real people. I mean, I would love it, but it simply wouldn't be profitable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Arun Vajpey

Member
The studio would never have green lighted another Titanic movie without the Romeo and Juliette story line. They are about profits. They came close to scrubbing the project many times. Cameron had to put up a lot of his own money with other investors to get it made. The reason it was so profitable was because of repeat viewers. Mainly teenage girls that saw it dozens of times. They wouldn't have sat through ANTR more than once.

However, during screening tests (held by the National Research Group in Minneapolis), the audience was apparently very clear and viewers showed a lot more interest in the fictional story between Jack and Rose than in the real historical aspects of the narrative, which ultimately made Cameron cut scenes pertaining to the sinking/passengers and keep the Jack/Rose ones

In the end it really is all about profit. No Hollywood studio would have ever invested all that money (it was the most expensive movie of all time back then) on a Titanic movie without some kind of plot that appealed to the masses. Interest in a Titanic movie that focuses only on the tragedy and the real passengers is still a niche thing - most people don't really care all that much about the event.
Sadly, I believe you guys are right. But it makes me choke to think that a big-budget movie about the Titanic disaster was made to appease giggling teenage girls and such. :(:rolleyes:
 

Thomas Krom

Member
Hello everyone,

I personally don’t have any problems with the fictional love story, what I find the most important about any movie is that the historical angle is portrayed right. A filmmaker and screenwriter must always keep in mind that in a movie that contains a historical event or disaster that real people like you and me went through it. These days I sometimes get the impression that people forget that 1496 people died in the Titanic disaster with 712 people surviving. Not to mention the 3000 to 4000 workmen of the estimated 15 000 workforce of Harland and Wolff worked on her on a daily base as well who all poured their sweat, tears and blood into any vessel constructed at the yard. It is completely unrelated to the forum that I state that I get that impression.

In my humble opinion the 1997 movie both succeeded and failed at depicting the maiden voyage and the sinking in a historical accurate and respectful way. As some of us know, the movie sadly mentions or displays many misconceptions about the Titanic, both about historical figures and the sinking itself. Since it was the highest-grossing movie for nearly 12 full years and it is not uncommon that a crowd of people take their “facts” from movies about historical events some of these misconceptions are seen as factual by a lot of people.

These misconceptions variate, as mentioned before, to both the ship herself, the people on-board or the sinking. For example, claiming that the Olympic class their rudder was too small despite having the ideal size for a ship that size that was comparable to a rudder that was commonly used by steamships of the Royal Navy. Or having Thomas Andrews Jr speak with an Irish Brogue accent despite the fact that he spoke with an accent comparable to an Oxford accent with only small traces of an Ulster accent. Or giving the impression that the watertight compartments were fully watertight with no chance for the firemen and trimmers to escape when the vertical watertight doors closed, despite the fact that there were escape ladders in each watertight compartment to climb out in case the doors were closed (a scene depicting this was shot, but never added into the movie or the deleted scenes). These are only a few examples of comparable things to that.

What I believe is the most damaging kind of misconceptions is putting the blame of the disaster onto people with either largely exaggerated or flat out false claims. The one of the two most notable claims that are depicted in this movie is that captain Smith is shown as not taking any of the ice warnings serious, as in saying with a smile that it is “quite normal for this time of the year” without showing the meeting he had with most of his officers to make them aware of the possible danger ahead and the warnings the lookouts got from sixth officer Moody to keep a sharp lookout for ice and growlers. The second big misconception is that it depicts Mr. Ismay manipulating captain Smith in the first class reception room on D-deck. The scene is inspired by what first class passenger Elizabeth Lines overheard on the 13th of April however none of the dialogue in the movie matches what she heard Mr. Ismay say. In the conversation she mentioned there is no sign of any pressuring to lit more boilers or to “retire with a bang”. The conversation overheard by Mrs. Lines only mentions that Mr. Ismay was vey satisfied with the progress the ship was making, that everything was working well and that the ship would possibly make a faster crossing than the Olympic during any of her voyages at that point.

Despite these kind of flaws that can hinder the enjoyment a bit of someone with close ties to the Titanic one cannot deny that this is movie has the most epic of scale compared to any other Titanic related movie out there. We most likely will never see a movie related to this scale ever again. The market of movies and series about historical events are there as one could see with some recently released movies and series last decade.

Personally I hope that one day a Titanic related series will be made that shows both accuracy and a slice of life by showing the life on-board and make it as personal and human as possible. An example of this “slice of life” is seeing stewards at the tables in their dormitories eating their dinner while telling one another stories from their homes or about their families or something comparable to that as well as showing how they worked each day. One must never forget that 2208 people as real as all of us collided with history 109 years ago, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives of other people.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas

PS One positive example of movies introducing people to certain subjects is my beloved ex-girlfriend Kate. The movie in question is my personal favourite movie, 1958’s A Night To Remember.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Top