One hundred years ago today, the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic occurred. Fifteen years ago, director James Cameron released the most memorable film of the nineties surrounding the catastrophe. A little over a week ago, that movie returned to theatres remastered for three-dimensional quality.
One of the goals of a 3-D movie is to, in a sense, reach out to the moviegoers and bring them into the world of the film. I think that Titanic met this goal perfectly. I haven’t seen another dimensionally programed motion picture that made me feel like I was in the world in which it existed. I felt like I was actually in the water with the submarine crew as they explored the Titanic wreckage with the robot cameras. I felt like I was actually roaming the promenades as images of its former glory were recreated from the ruin. I felt like I was standing next to Jack, Rose, and the Titanic’s crew on the upper decks as they gazed in horror upon the iceberg as the ship grazed it, and began its untimely demise. Titanic in 3-D impressively meets the audience’s standards for a typical three-dimensional film!
Titanic is iconic in today’s entertainment industry, but the disaster holds much historical significance as well.
- She was one of three vessels—and by far the largest–built by White Star Line.
- She was a grand and luxurious vessel for her time. She was 882 feet (and nine inches) in length and 104 feet tall. One propeller would be about the size of a four story building.
- She had about 7 decks available to the public, and one as cargo and maintenance space. She had two high-class restaurants on board, a gymnasium with the latest exercise equipment, a library, a swimming pool, a Turkish bath, a large barber shop, smoking rooms, and telephone systems.
- To give an idea of the damage: the iceberg was 75 feet tall. It scraped about 300 feet across the right side of the ship’s hull, popping rivets, buckling steel plates, and exposing the ship to sea water in 6 places. The scrape spanned almost half of her length.
- The distress signal SOS was first used by Titanic’s radio operators as they called for help from any nearby ships.
- James Cameron wasn’t the first to put the event to film. Just two weeks after Titanic sank; a ten minute silent movie was made depicting the event. It starred actress Dorothy Gibson, a First Class passenger and survivor from the ship. Unfortunately, this film is now lost.
- In an attempt to correct the operational and correctional failures that caused such disaster, Great Britain and the US established the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (or SOLAS) in 1914. This establishment is still operational today, regulating maritime safety.
The movie is remarkable. The disaster was calamitous. The legacy is somber, yet wondrous. Since 1985, the aquatic resting place of Titanic has been explored. Historical and monumental attractions have been set up nearly all over the world to honor the heroes and victims, to recreate the experience or display artifacts and treasures from the wreckage, and ultimately share an extraordinary piece of history with the next generations. This day marks the one-hundredth milestone year the past’s most tragic tale.