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Titanic"Titanic"the 10th Anniversary Edition on DVD

Big Movie, Big Box Office, Smaller Box

It took far too long for Paramount Home Video to release one of the the most popular movies of all time on a proper DVD. But when they did, finally, it was as a three disc set that was worth the wait.

Now, with the film's 10th anniversary, Paramount has discovered another way to make money from the movie, with this two disc anniversary edition that includes everything you really need, but in a package that'll take up less room on your shelf.

The only real problem is that you have to change discs to watch the entire movie - but on the other hand they chose a marvelously logical spot for the break - and it gives you a chance to go to the bathroom or get some popcorn in time for the exciting finale to come.

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. This record has since been tied again, by Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings the Return of the King," but it's still an achievement worthy of note.

As everyone on earth knows, Titanic 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 floor.

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 apparently 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, or a standard topic that's been rehashed a million times before, 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 ride.

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 time.

The new DVD's copy of the film, undoubtedly the same as in the three disc set, has received the THX treatment, and 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 picture is generally superb, though there are a few shots that don't match the quality of most of the film.

We had the pleasure of watching this release upconverted to 1080p and on a 106 inch screen, and it was as marvelous as you might think. We were particularly captivated by the final scenes of the ship's sinking, where its bum extends straight up into the air and the sea looks as if it's about a mile below. This worked really well in our home theater environment.

The audio, which gives you the choice of Dolby Digital or dts, is also superb. The groans of the dying ship surround you, and the multi-layered sound and musical tracks give your speakers an excellent workout.

Extras include a director's commentary and a cast/crew commentary as well as a historical commentary and you can use DVD's branching capability to get some behind the scenes looks at the creation of this epic work. Oh yeah, there's also the music video of Celine Dion inflicting the hit song "My Heart Will Go On" on us.

If you have the three disc set, you might was well keep enjoying it, but if you bought the original non-anamorphic DVD and have been itching to get a good copy of the movie, this may be what the doctor ordered.

Titanic, the 10th Anniversary Edition, from Paramount Home Entertainment
194 min. anamorphic widescreen (16x9 TV compliant)/ Dolby Digital and dts surround audio
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet,
Produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau
Written and Directed by James Cameron

Jim Bray's columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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