It was like a moving stereoview card, colorized, with dimension to the waves as the ship’s prow sliced through the North Atlantic, or some depth to the strolling passengers on various decks all along the ship’s sides. No increased depth to the story, unfortunately, still too many frantic dashes down passageways to escape gun-toting villains and crashing torrents of water. There were some interesting sensations: A shot over someone’s shoulder from the back created the illusion of inching closer to eavesdrop on characters, and sometimes at meals or tea, the diners looked like actors on a set rather than actors on a screen. Little details of makeup were distracting, Rose’s eyeliner as it altered from situation to situation, the colored-on lips of the first class passengers, or the liver spots applied to the side of old Rose’s face. Underwater scenes were most effective, views of sea life swimming through Titanic’s remains, bubbles shooting from the center of the screen like meteors from Vega on an April night. What remained flat was the intimacy of tragedy— all those computer-generated deaths, all those extras, all that spectacle of money and technology too impressively manipulated with too artistic an eye.
Nudge: Maybe you think I was going to suggest writing about Titanic–the ship, its sinking, or the movie. It’s a good time to do that, with the anniversary coming up this weekend; but this nudge is to write about the first time you saw a film in 3-D or IMAX. What was the film about? How did you react physically to the effects? What did you see differently? If it was a drama or comedy, did the effects enhance the story or get in the way?