There are a number of facts that surround filmmaker James Cameron. First of all, he knows how to tell a story. Second, his movies tend to be rather long (often unnecessarily) which makes the case for the idea that editing isn't his forte. Third, his films always have huge budgets. Fourth, if James Cameron directed it, chances are, the movie will make tons of money. Twenty-five years ago he did just that when his fascination with the doomed cruise liner, Titanic, became his pet project and one of the highest-grossing films of all time. This month, in celebration of the film's anniversary, Paramount Pictures is releasing a collector's edition 4K set.
In 1912, the RMS Titanic touted as "unsinkable", hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage and sank. Of the over two thousand passengers and crew members aboard, more than half died. The wreckage of the ship was first located in 1985, seventy-three years after it sank but the stories from that voyage will live on in history and, thanks to Cameron, people will always have a way of learning about the voyage, albeit with a little bit of romance added in for human interest purposes.
Portraying the lovers, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio; The Wolf of Wall Street) and Rose (Kate Winslet; Contagion), helped DiCaprio and Winslet form a lifelong friendship that many speculate went beyond mere friendship in real life. Their chemistry is undeniable which comes across in the film from the moment the characters meet. Supporting cast, including Billy Zane (Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight) and Kathy Bates (Misery), merely dance around the leads as the two, young stars focus on each other.
Cameron, as mentioned earlier, knows how to put together a great film that generally does exceedingly well at the box office but he could have edited out some portions and made the movie at least 15 minutes shorter without changing the story at all. However, he does a terrific job of fading footage of the wreckage into what the ship would have looked like when Jack and Rose were aboard and the upgraded video quality only serves to make it more pronounced.
The Dolby Vision picture quality is outstanding from the detailed beading on Rose's dresses to the true and clean color saturation. The only time it seemed uneven and washed out was when Jack and Rose survive the sinking only to be left floating along, attempting not to freeze to death. Otherwise this 4K transfer offers quite a bit for the home viewer.
The Dolby Atmos audio is even better than the video quality and utilizes the breadth of the entire sound speaker system. The audio is sharp and the remastered original, overseen by Cameron, gives this latest disc a bump up overall.
The extras are abundant and offer a mixture of new material and previously released featurettes. There are also other extras from previous releases that didnt make the cut, meaning fans will need to get this latest set but also need to keep their Blu-ray. The 4K extras include: Audio Commentary by James Cameron, Audio Commentary with the Cast and Crew, and Audio Commentary by Historians Don Lynch and Ken Marschall. The remainder of the extras are on the Blu-ray Disc and include: Titanic: Stories from the Heart, Reflections on Titanic, Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron, Deleted Scenes with James Cameron Introduction and Optional Commentary, Behind-the-Scenes Presentation Hosted by Jon Landau. Additional Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes, Deep Dive Presentation Narrated by James Cameron, $200,000,001: A Ship's Odyssey, Videomatics, Visual Effects, Trailer Presentation Hosted by Jon Landau, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" Music Video and Still Galleries.
The packaging of this special edition release has a beautiful library slipcase that houses a 32-page hardcover coffee table book (with a schematic of the ship on the front) filled with images from the film, artwork, and rare production photos. Its back inside cover has two slots that hold the set's disc. There is a White Star Line envelope that contains prop reproductions of a Titanic boarding pass, a launch viewing ticket, ship menus, notes from Jack to Rose and Rose to Cal, and sheet music for My Heart Will Go On, and a blueprint-style schematic of the ship itself. The packaging states there is a digital code included but there wasn't one in my set.
Dramatizations of historical events always take some liberties in the storytelling and this movie isn't any different. The plot may be cheesy at times but the movie is well made and the remastered quality is superb. Sweetening the pot is the new extras and the well made packaging and anyone who enjoyed the film previously will want to purchase this collector's edition.