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May 29, 2017

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Nothing can sink 'Titanic'

The only question looming over "Titanic 3D," really, is: Does the 3D get in the way? The ever-canny James Cameron has wisely resisted the temptation to tweak the film's Oscar-winning special effects -- one of the 11 Academy Awards the movie won in 1998 -- or update the CGI shots of the doomed ship (which, by contemporary standards, occasionally look a little hokey) or add previously deleted footage to slap on a "Director's Cut" subtitle that would guarantee to sell a few extra tickets.

No, this is exactly "Titanic" as you remember it -- or, more accurately, the "Titanic" you've probably forgotten. The secret weapon of Cameron's monumental blockbuster -- the reason why audiences kept going back to see the movie, eventually buying an astounding US$1.8 billion worth of tickets -- is that this was a picture truly made for the big screen.

At home, on DVD, no matter how big your flatscreen or video projector are, "Titanic" just isn't the same: It's a souvenir of the experience you had at the theater, when the enormity of Cameron's vision was given its proper due, and where your stomach felt a twinge of vertigo as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet clung from the ship's railing, people beneath them falling to their deaths, as the boat began its final plunge into icy, deadly waters.

Cameron, who spent a year and US$18 million retrofitting "Titanic" into 3D, knows how to use the technology as expertly as Spielberg and Scorsese. Most of the effects -- especially during the first, pre-iceberg half -- are used to augment spatiality and dimension. The interior of the ship looks more magnificent. The gold ornamentation on the dinner plates looks real enough to touch. DiCaprio looks impossibly, incredibly young (while you're watching the movie, you can't help but think about how the actor's life changed after its release). Winslet is more beautiful and radiant than you remembered.

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