Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Titanic mistake.

In the hope of changing the current film debate, I move on to bigger and better things that have arisen from the past few topics of conversation ...

Ridley Scott
I noticed that there seemed to be some harsh criticism behind Ridley Scott - a director who once was an artist - who, in my humble opinion, might be one of the best directors around.

He, as stated, is first and foremost an artist and that means he assumes the actors can act and the script writers can write - other than that he, as a director, aims to make a feast for the eyes in his films. 'Alien' being his standout piece is virtually a moving Giger film - a way to get into the depths of darkness that Giger depicts in his art. 'Gladiator' brought the Romans back into the movie trend - a genre that has been ignored for a while before hand (Cue 'Troy'...), then there is 'Black Hawk Down' that builds a 2hour plus film around one mission, that was intended to be so small. Personally, I can vividly remember the Bids Eye View of the streets as the twog groups 'homed' in on the crashed Helicopter. 'Kingdom of Heaven' was extensively cut for the version that I saw, but visually it captured a very specific time - even though the actual plots were weak and unstructured.

The first half of 'Hannibal' (Up until he leaves Florence) is absolutely brilliant and depicts the beauty and class, so effortlessly a part of Lector himself, of Italy itself. I cannot help but think the detraction in the second half is more a fault of the script writer rather than Scott. Ted Tally was not writing it, and if I recall the finish was completely different to Thomas Harris' finale.

If Ridley Scott has the right people to support him in his position, than he can create a masterpiece everytime.

Just a quick start to this, in terms of Genre, I personally believe that 'Titanic' is first and foremost a Romance. The problem most people have with the film - especially quote-un-quote butch men - is that they don't like Romances and expect 'Titanic' to be something else. They might expect it to be a 'disaster' film (whatever that means) or a 1900 'Independenace Day' set on a boat - maybe even a cross between Camerons previous efforts: 'Titanic: True Terminate Aliens' - but alas it is none of these. It is a Romance, and only when people either say "aaaah, thats why I didn't like it: because I hate Romances" or they say "If I'd realised it was a Romance I would have liked it so much more" then people will realise the genius that is James Cameron. A director so in love with Titanic that he created a film for us all to see the true majesty of the ship.

Furthermore, I personally never thought Leonardo DiCaprio was that bad an actor - and because until 'Gangs of New York' I only had the basis for the view from one film, whereby he received a pin-up 'cute-boy' tag from the ladies, I was hardly going to go around saying "Yeah, the guy on the cover of Bliss is a great actor". Now he has continued to act to a high standard in, as I said, 'Gangs of New York' and 'The Departed', and I have had the chance to rewatch 'Romeo and Juliet' I can safely say that the man cast as 'Jack' was a fine choice. So, the main actor is in the clear.

Secondly, Kate Winslet was always a fox and her role in 'Titanic' cemented this fact. Her acting never seemed a problem and, although I haven't seen 'Hideous Kinky', I am aware there is a bath sequence with Winslet in - and that intreigues me furthermore. Her Oscar nomination for 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' was well deserved and this confirms her acting abilities. So, the lead Actress is in the clear also.

The range of supporting actors - from Kathy Bates ('Misery') through to Victor Garber ('Alias') - they all suit the roles perfectly. Jonathon Hyde ('The Mummy') could have been better and Paxton didn't give his best performance, but their roles were limited and didn't deter from the focus point of the film - akin to Jar Jar Binks in 'A Phantom Menace'.

The plot running straight through it - Jack and Rose - was told in a way that gave the entire event a context to view it in: The opportunity to see the beauty of the wreck, while also viewing the reality of viewing the new, shiny ship also added to the dynamic of the story. The build-up and celebration in Southampton as it left the dock, the class issues that are raised, the introduction of the Captain - who went down with the ship - and Murdoch and theString Quartet - the myth surrounding such characters, the fight for the final boats and the amazing spectacle of the ship sinking in the middle of the Atlantic - so much to watch.


(Ratner and Gibson have made very few films - they may suprise us yet ... )