"Titanic" on DVD
Big Movie, Big
Box Office, Small Disc
It took about
a year for Paramount Home Video to release the most popular movie of all time
on DVD. It was the big title for Christmas buyers in 1998, and perhaps the
studio thought it would recreate that marketing success again in
And the DVD Titanic
will probably sell oodles of copies - and deservedly so. And while there's
nothing wrong with the quality of this DVD release (in fact, it's superb,
or would be if the widescreen presentation were 16x9 TV compatible), after
waiting a year for the digital disc, we were hoping it would have more
of the extra goodies that can make DVD's so marvelous.
whatever reason, it was not to be.
Now, this is
kind of a halfhearted criticism. After all, Titanic has enough going for it on
its own to make it a "must have" in DVD collectors' libraries. And it's so long
that there isn't a lot of room for extras - unless you use the other side of
the disc (in which case there's plenty of room).
Still, it makes
one wonder if there's a "Titanic - the Director's Cut" or other type of special
edition in the offing down the road somewhere.
James Cameron's epic
tied Ben-Hur (William Wyler's
masterpiece) for the most Oscars ever handed out to a movie (11) to that
date. As everyone on earth knows, it tells the epic tale of star-crossed
lovers who meet and are subsequently torn apart forever (well, almost
forever) by the disaster that sent the unsinkable Titanic to the ocean
This is a BIG
movie, in every way. It's grand in concept and scope, and it seems as if every
one of the 200 million dollars Cameron spent on the production made it onto the
screen. Cameron takes what could have been a standard romance, or a standard
disaster movie, or a standard epic, and crafts a multilayered
human-and-technological drama that puts the ill-fated liner's story into human
terms and makes the viewer feel almost as if he's been there for the
special effects are superb, as is the script, the performances, the musical
soundtrack - in short, everything.
Far more than
just a love story, Titanic is epic filmmaking at its best and it deserves its
place in movie history. Cameron's famed attention to detail shows through in
just about every frame and the end result is a film that's ultimately moving,
inspiring, exhausting, exciting, and emotionally draining at the same
The DVD has
been given the THX treatment, so the audio and video quality are as befit such
a movie experience. The limiting factor to your enjoyment of "Titanic" will be
in the size and quality (the bigger and better the better) of your TV screen
and the size and quality (ditto) of your audio system.
The disc is
only available in widescreen (we prefer seeing both versions available, but if
we had to choose we'd take the director's original version - whether widescreen
or full screen - every time, and in this case that means widescreen).
But it isn't
anamorphic widescreen, so the picture must be zoomed out to fill the 16x9 TV
screen and this costs you some resolution! This is unforgivable! What was
It's also in
Dolby Digital 5.1, and the audio is great.
limited to the theatrical trailer, chapter stops, interactive menus, and
subtitles. The audio has also been mixed into Dolby Pro Logic for both English
and French alternate soundtracks.
There's a ten
page booklet inside the package, but rather than give the copious liner notes
this would allow, you just get a humongous chapter list. A shame.
one of those movies, like "Ben-Hur" or "Lawrence of Arabia," that come along
infrequently. It's a must see - and a must own for any collector who prides
himself on having the best Hollywood has to offer.
perfect for DVD because the digital disc format gives you the best picture and
sound quality you can get in home video - and because you can see the whole
movie without changing sides of the laserdiscs or swapping tapes. And that's
it also falls down as a DVD in that it doesn't really exploit the medium to its
best. And that's a shame.
rather have a generic "Titanic" DVD like this one than not have
Titanic, from Paramount
194 minutes, widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital
starring Leonard DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart, Kathy
Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, David Warner, and
Music by James Horner, Produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau,
Written and Directed by James Cameron
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