Billy Zane's Sinking Ship Tetralogy: Part Two (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Sometimes known as Titanic.

Part 1 is usually called Dead Calm, Part 3 is normally called Cleopatra, and Part 4 is called Three, which would undoubtedly please Abbott and Costello iff'n they were still with us. Amazingly, Zane managed to survive all four actual sinkings, although he always seems to manage to die later in the movie. (I suppose he must have been dead by the end of Titanic as well, since it took place 80 years after the disaster.)

Oscar loved the film. Contemporary critics loved the film as well. Women loved it. Young women adored it. It is the Monet of movies. By that I mean that Monet is the favorite painter of just about every 13 year old girl, except those who rank him second behind Degas. Titanic has similar appeal. Girls under 18 rate it an astronomical 8.6 at IMDb.

Subsequent criticism has turned sour:

  • Although Titanic dominated 1997 at the box office and the awards shows, and is the highest grossing film of all-time, it is now rated well out of the top 250 at IMDb, and well below the top-rated films of 1997! I just (October 25, 2005) searched the IMDb database for the top films of 1997 with 1000 or more votes, and Titanic finishes in a tie for 61st.
  • It scores only 48/100 from Apollo users, a level usually reserved for straight-to-vids.
  • It was voted the most overrated film in our 1999 poll ...
  • ... then again in our 2005 poll.
  • The hard-core movie audience (men 18-29) rates it only 6.6.

Well, so damn what? I don't remember reading anywhere that guys 18-29 possess all possible wisdom and good taste. I like French Impressionism, and I like Titanic. I don't like every single thing about it, but I like it enough to have watched it again when the new special edition DVD came out.

But then again, I am well known to be a big-time wuss.

I'm not going to summarize this film for you. Every human being in the civilized world and even some stone-age tribesmen know what it is about.

Here is some trivia you may not know:

  • There are plot details that Rose didn't witness, yet they are included in the movie, which is supposed to be a pictorialization of her account.
  • The movie cost more than the actual Titanic. The budget was $200 million. The Titanic cost less than $150 million of today's dollars.
  • The film includes substantial footage of the real Titanic sitting on the ocean floor, filmed with a free-floating camera specially built to withstand the atmospheric pressure of 400x surface pressure. They filmed it in twelve separate dives.
  • Some of the undersea footage consisted of a pseudo-wreck, built especially for the occasion, aged, and submerged.
  • Several genuine art treasures appear in the film. (Picasso's "The Guitar Player", e.g.)
  • The interiors were reconstructed from the original plans of the Titanic. The Hockley staterooms were actual staterooms built to accommodate J.P. Morgan, who backed out at the last minute, and were actually occupied by a man named Bruce Ismay (the Jonathan Hyde character in the movie).
  • The first-class suites on the Titanic cost $4350. (Nearly $100,000 in today's money)
  • The pictures in Jack's sketchbook, including the nude of Rose wearing the necklace, were actually drawn by director James Cameron.
  • The Statue of Liberty was not greenish in 1912. It was untarnished copper.


  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Alternate ending: Brock's Epiphany
  • 29 never-before-seen deleted scenes with optional commentary
  • Commentary by director James Cameron
  • Cast and crew commentaries, including Kate Winslet
  • Historical commentary
  • Visual effects breakdown of the stunts
  • Music video of "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion
  • Number of discs: 3


  • Kate Winslet showed her breasts, most of her buns, and everything except her pubic hair.
  • Only the top of her butt is seen in the letterboxed DVD, but her entire bottom is visible in the full frame VHS version

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half to four stars. Ebert 4/4, Berardinelli 4/4, Apollo 89, Maltin 3.5.

  • Winner of 11 Oscars, including best picture

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.0. 
  • With their dollars ... it is the highest grossing film in history, earning $600 million in the USA, and another $1.2 billion overseas. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B. A very good yarn, a good enough romance. Crappy, irritating theme song, however.

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