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Titanic"Titanic"the Special Edition on DVD

Big Movie, Big Box Office, Finally Done Justice on DVD

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.

And the new, special edition DVD of Titanic will probably sell oodles of copies - and deservedly so. This DVD does the movie justice and finally does the DVD medium justice as well.

The original disc didn't have a lot of extras, but its big problem was that, despite THX certification, it was presented only in letterboxed widescreen, so it didn't work properly for people with widescreen TV's.

All is better now.

Except that now you have to change discs to watch the entire move - but on the other hand they chose a marvelously logical spot for the break.

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."

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 has also 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 picture is generally superb, though there are a few shots that don't match the quality of most of the film.



The DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen, as mentioned, and if that were all there were to the new release (other than the superb sound, too) we'd have been happy.

Audio is ofered in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts 6.1, and it's great. A movie like this scires out for a good subwoofer and we're pleased to report that our good subwoofers received a good workout as the mighty ship's life passed before us.

Extras extend over all three discs, including director's, cast/crew and historical commentaries and you can use the DVD branching capability to jump out of the movie to some "how to" featurettes.

Disc three is all supplementary material, and it kicks off with an alternate ending that's really worth seeing. We think Cameron chose the right ending for his film, but this other version is legit and the movie would have also worked with it.

There's also a bunch of featurettes, the music video for Celine Dion's theme song, deleted scenes with optional commentary, poster art, still galleries and plenty more. It's a pretty complete package.

"Titanic" is 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.

Titanic, from Paramount Home Entertainment
194 minutes, widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital and dts
starring Leonard DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, David Warner, and Bill Paxton.
Music by James Horner, Produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau,
Written and Directed by James Cameron

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Updated May 13, 2006