For review readers:
Big Splash or Just Another Water World?
In case you haven't heard by now, the movie is big; big production--big bankroll--big box
office. On the Richter scale of flick to die for, it's this year's, "English Patient." So,
what are you waiting for? Do you want to miss the boat? Get out there and see it!
You know the story, right? The unthinkable happens to the unsinkable. To give us an affectual
bonus-buzz, lots of things are thrown in the film that never actually occurred, which is
perfectly acceptable and agreeable to most viewers. Even the most exciting piece of
history needs a little help. The fact is, this Titanic business has fascinated people since
it happened. Probably, in part, because of the convergence of so many lives toward a
catastrophic center, wherein they are all eventually dispatched, each according to their own
destiny. The film manages to capture this complexity of coincidence and fate without too
often pushing its credibility. Only once or twice did I become distracted by my own
distraction when I thought that things seemed--well--a bit overboard. On the whole, though,
this is a marvelously crafted and compelling way to get your mind off things.
Take, for example, the boy meets girl thing which is standard procedure for disaster
extravaganzas. Since this all takes place in 1912, the love story is encouraged and
discouraged by the cultural conventions of that period. What brought them in union might
have eventually torn them apart, but Jack and Rose didn't get to move through very much time
together and that, let me tell you, left few dry eyes in the house. Forget all those others
out there bobbing up and down--dead already from the frozen waters--all because mankind is
stupid, greedy, bestial, cowardly and whatever--forget that. Focus instead, if it helps, on
this portrayal of love in its pure form which we all, at one time or another, believed in.
That these two, amid all the pomposity and posturing given to the human community parading
before us in microcosm on the decks of that maiden boat, should live, however briefly, on the
ethereal edge, is certainly a poignant allegorical reminder of the human potential. This is
the pearl that I took away.
So it was a hokey story, as some will say, but the two actors in charge of these catalytic,
star-crossed characters, point to the efficacy of good casting in the block-buster telling
of a tale. Kudos, as well, to the director, and whomever else responsible for the riveting
scenarios, and for coming at this with clear vision and consistent method of implementation. Even if it took three hours to do so.
For readers partial to allegory:
Once Upon a Boat
Underneath all the action, lies a true transformation tale such as you might find in fairy
tales, scripture, and mythic stories. Transformation accounts push the protagonist
toward a new awareness and carrying out of some universal truth.
There's usually some sort of journey involved or some matter of assignment to be carried out.
Whatever the case, the protagonist's personal trajectory is dramatically shifted from its
previous course. There's always a lot of confusion and dismay and you have nothing less
than a very vulnerable individual in a major quandary. That's the basic outline of
Our damsel Rose is searching. Something is wrong; she doesn't know what. Enter Jack,
her awakener and agent of release. It will be through him that she is led to her higher
self. As it turns out, he doesn't have much time in the job; it is for Rose to continue the
journey alone. If to live, Rose must finally release her corporal grip and surrender
him to the vastness of the sea and her soul. She would, indeed, never let him go in the
splendid living of her long life eschewing those very forces of diminishment that he bid
Shipwrecks and Change
Been thinking about your Titanic piece and the bit about the transformation agent. Also thinking about my own life, and how it about felt like I'd gone through a shipwreck too--and I certainly have felt reborn. Not on the outside, I suppose--hasn't really changed how I do things there, but it does feel like most of my inside molecules have been rearranged. It really was an amazing experience to take a water-soaked life and become someone else new. Terrifying too. I have never felt so one with the world while at the same time so far away from everyone I knew. I sailed, I struck, I sank, and I never felt so alive as when I was holding onto that piece of timber in the icy water. I know you can't keep living that way on earth without drowning, but boy, you don't know how I sometimes miss swimming in the cold sea amidst the angels.