Titanic: Deluxe Collector's Edition (1997)

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Released 28-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
THX Trailer
THX Optimizer
Audio Commentary-James Cameron (Director)
Audio Commentary-Cast And Crew
Audio Commentary-Historical Commentary
Seamless Branching-Behind The Scenes Mode
Alternate Ending-With Optional Director's Commentary
Music Video-'My Heart Will Go On' Performed By Celine Dion
Web Links
DVD Credits
Featurette-Parodies-Saturday Night Live, MTV, 30 Seconds With Bunnies
Deleted Scenes-Intro by James Cameron And Optional Commentary
Featurette-1912 News Reel, With Optional Commentary
Featurette-Construction Time Lapse, Deep Dive Presentation
Featurette-Titanic Crew Video, Titanic Ship's Tour
Featurette-Videomatics (3), Visual Effects (4)
Featurette-Making Of-HBO First Look: The Heart Of The Ocean
Featurette-Fox Special: Breaking New Ground
More…-Press Kit Featurettes, Trailers, TV Spots, Posters, Gallery
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 186:51
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By James Cameron
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio
Kate Winslet
Billy Zane
Kathy Bates
Frances Fisher
Gloria Stuart
Bill Paxton
Bernard Hill
David Warner
Victor Garber
Jonathan Hyde
Suzy Amis
Lewis Abernathy
Case ?
RPI ? Music James Horner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English dts 6.1 ES Discrete (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The film that proved that epic sagas could still be profitable, and that movies in the tradition of Ben Hur and Lawrence Of Arabia were not a thing of the past, James Cameron’s Titanic was certainly a landmark of late Twentieth Century cinema. Over 3 hours in length and costing an amazing US $200 million to make, the studios were terrified that Titanic was going to live up to its namesake and sink them. However, audiences and critics alike were stunned when the film brought in over US $1 billion at the Box Office and landed its creative team a whopping 11 Academy Awards in 1998. By all accounts, a significant effort.

    When it came time to release this landmark on DVD, the distributor spared no expense in bringing us the cheapest and most rushed release of the year. Eight years after its initial release in 1997, the distributors have finally come around to giving us a worthwhile release. But how has the movie stood the test of time?

    I am a big fan of the classics. I enjoy a 3 hour film if the journey is worth it. And I marvel at the fact that a film like Lawrence Of Arabia, Bridge On The River Kwai, The Godfather or more recently even Apocalypse Now (the original, not the Redux version) were so painstakingly made, so thoroughly put together, that if you did not know better you would think that they had been made last year. Does Titanic fall into this league? Close, but not quite.

    For those unfamiliar with the plot, Titanic is the tale of Rose Bukater (a fashionably busty Kate Winslet), daughter of a disgraced millionaire and soon to wed the rich, snobbish and brutal Caledon Hockley (a brilliantly cold and ruthless Billy Zane). Rose and Cal are heading back to the United States where they are to be married, accompanied by Cal’s personal bodyguard, Spicer Lovejoy (David Werner), and Rose’s bitter mother Ruth (Frances Fisher), and have booked first class passage on the fateful one and only voyage of the RMS Titanic. In an apparent suicide attempt, Rose meets Jack Dawson (played by an evocative Leonardo DiCaprio fresh from his critical acclaim in Baz Luhrman’s outstanding reinterpretation of Romeo + Juliet), a poor artist who has won a ticket onboard the Titanic in a card game. Jack saves Rose’s life and slowly she grows to like him, and finally falls in love with him. Of course, their romance and the lives of the passengers and crew are abruptly shortened when the Titanic strikes an iceberg.

    As the majority of the movie is told in flashback, you know for the most part who will live and die. But the hook of the move is the romance at the heart of the film, a classic love story drawn short by fate. Clichéd as it may be, Cameron tells the story well, and it’s very hard not to be hooked into this film to the end. Where this film falls down by comparison to its epic counterparts that I mentioned above is in its special effects, noticeably certain green screen and blue screen sequences that, for whatever reason, are very obviously green screen or blue screen mattes. There is no question that the sinking of the ship is masterfully done, but the sequences where digital FX are not used, replaced in favour of old style “primitive” visual FX, are far more effective – particularly the scenes where Rose and Jack are trapped in the bowels of the sinking hulk as the water floods in. Those are still as effective today as they were in 1997.

    There is no doubt that the digital revolution has dramatically changed cinema and the ways in which we view it. There is also no doubt that James Cameron’s Titanic played an influential role in the way that moviegoers and studios conceived of “blockbuster” films, and studio financing. Although Titanic’s reliance on digital FX put it at the forefront in its day, this aspect has cost it in terms of its long term appeal. However, where this film continues to shine through, and will in my opinion remain at the forefront of epic cinema, is in the fact that the digital FX were always secondary to the storyline, unlike some other films reliant on their digital FX in recent years. Titanic’s core is the love story, the adventure story, the disaster story. The FX were always second fiddle. It may not weather the years as well as Lawrence of Arabia or The Godfather, but because it has story at its heart, Titanic is in the end a movie, a work of cinematic art, that will endure.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Finally a video transfer we can be proud of. Presented for the first time in its original 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced glory, mastered from a new high definition transfer, when I upscaled this at 1080i at 50Hz, I was stunned by the picture quality. Truly, utterly, amazing. Unfortunately, this makes the FX source glitches ever the more so obvious, but I’m happy to look over this fault.

    I do not really have any criticisms of this transfer. It’s pretty amazing. Colour is perfectly saturated and well balanced. Image definition is outstanding. There is no graininess. No film-to-video artefacts.

    There is some extremely minor low-level noise in the background of some shots where a wall in the shot is totally flat and white. However, this is minor, and you really have to be looking for it to see it.

    Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired only. They are quite accurate subtitles, though.

    The film is split across 2 discs, with the disc change at 103:33 during a scene change. The disc change is a little abrupt, but not appalling. Both discs are dual layer discs, with the dual layer pause coming at 62:25 during Disc 1, which occurs while the camera is focused on a piece of paper and is barely noticeable, and at 50:20 during Disc 2, which occurs right after a line of dialogue but is not overly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is available in Dolby Digital EX 5.1 (448Kb/s) and DTS ES Discrete (768Kb/s). What is there to say but “Ouch”? No, seriously. Both these tracks are ear splittingly good, although the DTS ES discrete track mops the floor with the Dolby Digital EX track in terms of audio information and fidelity.

    Again, I have no criticisms here. The audio track is nothing short of perfect. Dialogue is outstandingly rendered, beautifully mastered, and always decipherable (at the times it is meant to be decipherable, anyway).

    The surrounds are heavily used, and effectively used, particularly in the aforementioned scenes when Rose and Jack are stuck below decks trying to get out while the ship sinks around them. And the final voyage of the ship to the ocean’s floor is masterful.

    The pseudo-Irish and Celtic tones of James Horner’s memorable original score are somewhat offset by Celine Dion’s much overplayed theme song, but both are given an admittedly skilful mix.

    The subwoofer use is ear crunching. If you want a disc to show off your new audio system, I highly recommend putting this on your list. This is probably the best DTS ES track I have ever heard.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Unlike the initial DVD release of this movie that had nothing in the way of special features, this release is literally drowning in them:

Menu

    The main menu on all the discs are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track. The submenus are static and silent.

Disc 1 & 2

Audio Commentaries

    Presented 2.0 Dolby Surround, Discs 1 and 2 have the following audio commentaries.

    These commentaries are extensive, but after listening to them all, you’ll never want to hear another thing about this movie again. Nice to have for hardcore film fans, though.

    In addition, all commentaries are subtitled quite accurately, so you can listen to one and read the other while half watching the film. Sensory overload for everyone!

Behind The Scenes Mode

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, Discs 1 and 2 also have a special “behind the scenes” mode whereby you can view a series of “making of” type features and so forth. These are:

Disc 1

Disc 2

DVD-ROM

    The disc gives you access to the Fox Movies website where there are other downloads, and so forth.

THX Optimiser

Disc 2

    Disc 2 carries a number of additional features:

Alternate Ending (9:02)

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, this is the original ending for the movie. I’m very glad they changed it. The theatrical release version is far more emotionally compelling, even if the alternate version explains a lot more.

    This comes with an optional commentary by James Cameron in 2.0 Dolby Surround explaining the reasons why the ending was changed.

Music Video – “My Heart Will Go On” (4:32)

DVD Credits

Disc 3

Parodies

    There are 3 parodies here in 1.33:1, 2.0 Dolby Surround. These are quite funny:

Deleted Scenes (44:39)

    There are 29 deleted scenes available mastered in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby surround audio, with all special effects sequences completed and an optional commentary by James Cameron in 2.0 Dolby Surround:

Disc 4

Marketing

Featurettes

Videomatics (3:12)

Visual Effects (5:37)

Still Galleries

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This puts the original R1 and R4 release to shame in every respect. I always thought that was one of the shoddiest discs ever put out, particularly given the calibre of the film. With this release, the distributors have finally corrected their error.

    As for the new releases, there appear to be a number of versions floating around out there. There are the R2/R4 2-disc and 4-disc special editions, and R1 3-disc version. From the knowledge I could gain from the Internet, the R4 and R2 4-disc versions are identical. Except for region coding and picture format (NTSC versus PAL), the R1 3-disc release would appear to be the same as the 4-Disc R2 and R4 version.

    The R4 and R2 releases for the 2-disc editions all look identical.

    All-in-all it’s a bit of a much of a muchness. I’m not much for trailers or documentaries most of the time, so unless those two documentaries are super fantastic, I’d tend to just go with whatever one you can find the cheapest.

Summary

    James Cameron’s Titanic is definitely an influential classic of the late Twentieth Century. Although it has both critics and proponents, it was an amazing commercial success and redefined cinema-going for the studios. An epic film, it has survived well these last 8 and a half years.

    After the appalling first release of this film on DVD, this release is masterful, and a must-have for any fan of this film, with outstanding audio and video accompanied by so many extras you’ll be reaching for the lifeboat. This one is topping my list of best releases for 2005.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 LCD Cineza Projector with HP 80" Widescreen (16:9) HDTV Mobile Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
RE R4 vs R1 - David Starkey
RMS, not HMAS - Ian (my biography)
2 extra discs a waste of time - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
4 disc worth it 4 the deleted scenes alone. -
5.1 Surround Sound for Deleted Scenes -