Titanic: Special Collector’s Edition on DVD

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (Aviator, William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet), Kate Winslet (Sense & Sensibility, Finding Neverland), Billy Zane (The Phantom), and veteran actress, Gloria Stuart (The Invisible Man), Titanic released in theaters back in December of 1997 sets sail again to become one of the all time great collector’s DVDs.

Director James Cameron (Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Aliens) brought us a film that would forever change the face of Hollywood epics. His stunning vision of fear, love, honor, kindness, and devotion in the face of death and destruction created a whirlwind of emotions that lured audiences back, time and time again. It would beat Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extraterrestrial, and George Lucas’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as the biggest box-office success in history. Then, to top it all off James Cameron and his crew of talented actors, editors, makeup artists, costume designers, etc. went to the Oscars, and swept up a record-tying 11 Academy Award out of a record-tying 14 nominations.

Brock Lovitt (Bill Paxton; True Lies, Twister) is a salvenger of lost artifacts in the sea, a “pirate” so to speak. He and his crew of miscreants are searching the wreckage of the Titanic, the largest ship of its time for a necklace. This saphire necklace – with a legend similar to that of Hope Diamond necklace is worth quite a bit of money. He brings an antique safe up from the depths of the Atlantic, and discovers nothing but a booklet full of old sketch drawings. One of the sketches is that of a naked woman wearing his precious necklace.

The woman in the sketch is Rose Calvert. She’s almost 101. She’s had a long life built entirely on her own strength, and she says that she was on the Titanic when it sank. Brock and his crew are skeptical of the old woman, and her story. They bring her aboard to hear what she has to say. Rose Calvert (Stuart) is feisty, stubborn, and ornery. She begins telling the story of how she was brought on board the luxury liner in 1912.

We are transported back to that fateful day at the Southampton port in 1912 when Titanic was setting sail. Rose DeWitt Bukator (Winslet) arrives in a car with her mother, Ruth (Frances Fisher; Unforgiven), and her upscale fiance, Caledon Hockley (Zane). She is a debutante engaged to this man, the heir to an empire by obligation. Old Rose Calvert stresses how she felt as we watch Rose DeWitt Bukator walk a long plank into the ship.

Then with the steaming siren of the ship’s whistle, we’re introduced to devil-may-care artist, Jack Dawson (DiCaprio) sitting in a nearby pub playing a game of poker with two Swedish men for two tickets to get on the Titanic. The American young man wins and with his buddy, Fabritzio (Danny Nucci), he races to board the ill-fated ship.

Rose feels so sophicated by the arrangement with Cal, her relationship with Ruth and her life as a high-society beauty that she runs to the stern of the ship to throw herself off. Jack is there to rescue her. They meet for the first time. Then with the suspicions of a steward, Jack is put in handcuffs and accused of trying to take advantage of Rose. Rose convinces Cal to reward Jack instead of punish him, and he asks for Jack’s company to dinner the next night.

The next day, Jack and Rose get to know each other. Their chemistry never was never better. When Jack goes to the 1st Class party with a jacket and suit loaned to him by Molly Brown (Kathy Bates) herself, he convinces an entire table of people how cool of person he is. Then after the dinner, the upper class gentlemen are excusing themselves to smoke and play cards in the 1st Class Lounge while Jack is asking Rose to join him for a big bash down in 3rd Class with a slight-of-hand.

Rose throws loose the shackles of her proper prison, and together, Jack and her have a jolly ol’ time dancing and drinking. During their romance Cal and Ruth scheme to tear them apart, and only end up drawing Jack and Rose even closer. They kiss on the bow in a breathtaking, sweeping scene set against a beautiful sunset. Rose gets Jack to sketch her in the nude in a romantic scene set against a fireplace. Then the couple are chased through the ship, and find themselves a car in which they make love for the first time.

During this time, James Cameron doesn’t keep the fate of the Titanic a secret. He hints at the ship’s impeding doom with short scenes involving Captain Smith, the architect Andrews, and the man with the idea, Bruce Ismay. The detail in his historical research is uncanny. Dishes, silverware, carpets, and table clothes are all recreated from the original blueprints used in 1912. Director James Cameron authenticity only helps to bring out the pure beauty and convincing reality of his recreation of the ship, and the event that took it down.

The ship collides with destiny close to an 1 and a half into the film. Just as crewmen are relaxing at their posts, they two men in the crow’s nest spots the iceberg approaching. They ring the bell and the rest of the crew run throughout the ship in utter chaos to stop and turn the ship around the ice. ‘It’s too big’ as Brock Lovitt says. The ship crashes into a wall of sharp ice just under the water and rips itself open in all the wrong places. Then within the next 2 hours – almost the exact time period it took the real Titanic to sink, we’re thrown into a whirlwind of hell.

Jack and Rose try everything to beat the odds, stay alive, and stay clear of Cal and Ruth. They’re swept up and almost drowned in a hallway full of water. They’re shot at. They desperately try to make their way to the stern, where everyone else is scrambling to hold onto as the rear end of Titanic is arching up into the night sky.

It’s in these final moment when the film really becomes the great film it is. In breathtaking scenes of death and destruction, James Cameron pushes the limits of digital effects and creates some new boundaries. Every person falling to his or her death, every drop of water, and the ship itself is meticulously crafted for the greatest disaster sequence in the history of film.

The ship sinks, taking 1,500 people with it. Jack and Rose end up on the icy surface of the North Atlantic, scrambling to swim through hordes of other screaming survivors. He helps her climb onto a big wooden piece of the wreck, where they wait in freezing silence.

James Cameron’s epic disaster film was originally released on DVD when they were first coming available. The special features didn’t include anything but a theatrical trailer. Fans were in uproar. They loved the film so much, they wanted more. It took a few years before James Cameron, and Paramount Pictures would release a copy of the masterpiece that would befit the film’s grandeur and beauty.

There were rumors that Cameron would release the film in two versions; one being the original threatical release and the other being a version with all of the deleted scenes put back in place. This however was not the case.

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