James Cameron presents clips from 'Titanic' in 3-D: Wait, is that water coming into the theater?!

titanic

Image Credit: Merie W. Wallace

Are you ready to go back to Titanic -- in three dimensions? A very trim-looking James Cameron and his producing partner Jon Landau presented eight scenes from the newly dimensionalized second-highest-grossing-movie-of-all-time to a gaggle of press and industry types this morning in Los Angeles. The sneak peak was in anticipation of the re-release of Titanic on April 6, 2012, roughly 15 years after its debut in theaters and almost exactly 100 years after the doomed ship launched on its maiden, and final, voyage. (The ship ultimately sank on April 15, 1912.) "There's a whole generation who haven't seen [Titanic] in theaters at all," Cameron pointed out while extolling the virtues of the theatrical experience. Noting he would have shot the film in 3-D natively if he'd had the chance, Cameron admitted that he's "kind of very much against [3-D]

conversion for films that have a choice.” But after 60 weeks and $18 million, he says he feels confident that Titanic is as close to 3-D perfect as possible. “It’s 2.99-D,” he said with a wry grin. That said, Titanic will also be re-released in regular 2-D theaters, as well as in IMAX (in both 3-D and 2-D), which will enjoy some added picture since Cameron shot the film in “Super 35,” which allows for more image above and below a normal widescreen frame.

But what you really want to know is: How did the film look in 3-D? 

Pretty darn good. The first scene we saw was also, in hindsight, the most overtly three-dimensional: Rose’s arrival at the RMS Titanic as it’s being loaded up with steamer trunks, crates, and shiny new cars, all thrusting their way into and out of the frame. That iconic shot where the camera sweeps down from above Rose’s swooping hat almost made me laugh out loud at how odd it felt seeing this moment as if I was myself slowly dropping down over Kate Winslet. Another clip, with Rose and Jack dancing in the steerage section, also had a nice sense of bustle and space, and didn’t feel like it was a bunch of cardboard cutouts skittering about each other.

Yes, we also saw the iconic moment between Jack and Rose on the bow, and yes, almost in spite of myself, I felt a twinge of that sweeping romance that first hit me when I saw the movie on opening night. I have no idea if being able to fully appreciate the size of the ship behind them added to that feeling or not, and Cameron himself even admitted that it’s difficult to parse just what kind of affect 3-D has on an emotional experience.

That said, out of all the clips he screened — the panic as the ship closed in on the iceberg; the band playing mournfully on the deck as the passengers panicked to escape the rising ocean; the ship sinking vertically into the Atlantic — the longest and most effective was the sequence in which Rose struggled to free Jack from his handcuffs at the bottom of the ship. As she raced through the ship’s empty bowels, water rising with every passing second, the 3-D really did give me a greater feeling of how alone she is in those long and deserted hallways. Watching the water lap against the frame, always threatening to spill into the theater, certainly helped add to the sense of anxiety, too.

After the screening was over, Cameron couldn’t resist one final Cameron-esque jibe. After Landau noted that they were making zero changes to the film itself, Cameron added, “I don’t have that revisionist gene.” Snap.

So, are you intrigued, dear readers? Do you think Titanic in 3-D will be a smashing success, or a waterlogged disappointment?

Adam on Twitter @adambvary

Read more:
‘The Lion King 3D’: Is it the dawn of the 3-D reissue?
EW Archives: ‘Titanic’ at 10: Still Seaworthy
EW Archives: The titanic struggle to make ‘Titanic’

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
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  • Little Girl

    Don’t die Leo!!!

    • daryl

      oh !! your such a LOSER .. you know that ??!!

      • buzz

        you’re

  • Jeff

    “I don’t have that revisionist gene.”? Aliens Special Edition, Terminator 2 – Director’s Cut anyone?

    • Channing

      That actually proves his point: As he doesn’t call them “director’s cuts,” he’s is implicitly stating that the theatrical versions are his preferred versions. He’s just throwing the additional footage into these extended cuts that fans might appreciate. The theatrical versions are still readily available.

    • jerry

      He did say in an interview not long ago that he would’ve used A LOT more CG in “Aliens” and “Titanic” if he made those movies today. But I guess that’s not quite the same as making changes to existing movies like George Lucas.

    • William Ngo

      Actually, Director’s Cut, means including footage that was shot, but cut out from the theatrical version, so it’s actually presenting the film as it was intended. I think when he says that he doesn’t have the “revisionist gene”, he means that he won’t add in newly shot footage or CG elements as George Lucas does.

  • george

    i think 3d is a very mixed genre.. what will be benefited by 3d in TITANIC.. and the stupid glasses… the last 3d movie i saw in a theatre was fri13th 3d.. the credits were awesome

  • Jim

    I will defenitely go to see this movie. “Avatar” is one of a few movies that succeeds in 3D. Love “Titanic” and might like it even more in an immersive environment.

    • Brandon

      I kind of agree with your statement about Avatar, but take the 3D & Imax effect out of Avatar and what you have is sadly disappointing and stale.

      • America

        take the 3D away and what you have is laughable dialogue and bad acting with a rehashed story done better before. Avatar is the most overhyped movie EVER

    • Afifah

      j’ai vu le film. Au de9but, j’ai trouve9 qu’il montrait beuucoap d’images sans trop de cohe9rence. Puis il commene7ait e0 critiquer se9rieusement la socie9te9 de consommation et ses aberrations (par exemple paralle8le entre des gens qui couchent dehors pour eatre les premiers lors de la sortie de l’iPhone 3G et un SDF qui doit coucher dehors )Ce film ne fera pas une re9volution mais les mots de9croissance (certes se9lectives comme dit Hulot) et sobrie9te9 heureuse (ou simplicite9 volontaire cf ) font leur premie8re apparition dans un grand me9dia. Ca reste un film qui fait re9fle9chir sur ses habitudes de consommation et sa recherche du toujours plus (pour certains)

  • LPMA

    @Jeff – I think making a different cut because the studio has imposed changes on you for reasons such as lowering your rating, and toying with your movie’s special effects more than 30 years down the road are 2 very different things.

    • William Ngo

      Yes, my point exactly.

  • Acaseofgeo

    I’ll go! When I first saw it, I was in awe of what Cameron and company accomplished. After the Oscars, I had a bit of a personal backlash and didn’t think of it as a “great movie” for a while. A few years ago, it started being shown on cable quite often, and my partner would often have it on in the background. I’d find myself drawn into it, waiting breathlessly for each scene, and tearing up everytime Gloria Stuart was on screen. It really is a wonderful artistic achievement that has held up over time. I’d love to see it in 3-D.

  • Kevin

    I will give Titanic 3D a chance. Avatar was amazing and Titanic is one my favorite movies of all time. Saw 5 times the first time it was released so what’s one more time. I am just hoping this gets the darn movie on blu-ray quicker!

  • scorpio9094

    I think Titanic will add considerably to its boxoffice total. Between the 3D and the fact that it is the 100 year anniversary since the sinking I look for it to add another couple hundred million during a successful two month run.

    • Channing

      It won’t have a two-month run. The summer movie season begins less than a month after the release of ‘Titanic 3D,’ so 3D screens will be at a premium. Considering that, plus the longer runtime compared to ‘The Lion King 3D,’ it’ll probably top out at about $60 million for this go.

      • Susan

        There isn’t a 3D screen in movie theaters; you can put a 3D film on any screen, you just need to have the glasses. It’s IMAX screens that are had to come by. I can tell you that IMAX contributes a fair amount of money to a movie gross because tickets are more expensive, but because there are so few theaters equipped with that kind of screen it is by no means the main contributor to box office totals.

  • Tom

    There is no doubt the re-release will be a huge smash. It will be a huge hit, like the Special Edition releases of the Star Wars Trilogy.

    • brad

      People still care about Star wars?

      • @brad

        Stupid comment.

    • Eilo

      Yes indeed they do. You have to remember. Your opinion does not constitute what others think. You may not care, for whatever reasons you choose, but others do for their own reasons.

  • Drew

    Sounds pretty interesting! Looking forward to seeing it in the IMAX next year. I’m really curious as to how that scene involving Rose rescue Jack will be like in 3D

  • vikesfansteve

    $

  • AN

    I cannot wait!! :)

  • Slugworth

    I’m king of the world!

    • Charley

      :)

  • Eli

    YES!!!! Can not friggin’ wait!!!! I saw this in theatres once and I look forward to experience the magic on the big screen all over again!

  • Kim

    I think it would be creepy seeing this in 3D. And dang, 15 years already?!

    • Ajay karande

      i am very exited about this 3d.TITANIC is one of the best of my favourit movies i ever seen.

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