Titanic 3D – Movie Review

15 years later, the 3D version of Titanic is here, with a few days remaining until the centennial anniversary of the ship’s demise. Can you believe it has been 15 years since Titanic was released? In my head, it feels like only a few years ago that I was a little boy amid the hype of Titanic where every single person I know was talking about that movie.

84 years after Titanic sank on its maiden voyage, an old woman named Rose (Gloria Stewart) sets to tell her story as treasure hunters search for a diamond necklace named “The Heart of the Ocean,” believed to be last seen aboard the ship. In 1912, Rose’s earlier self (Kate Winslet) is a rich first-class girl, engaged to Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) who wants nothing of her but to be his trophy wife. Feeling suffocated after boarding Titanic, the most luxurious ship at the time, she tries to jump off deck, only to be stopped by Jack Dawson (Leonardo Dicaprio). “You jump, I jump” is the line. Soon after, Rose and Jack strike a young romance that blossoms over the coming days, until Titanic meets its fate when it hits an iceberg and goes down in the Atlantic abyss, taking the lives of 1500 out of its 2200 passengers with it.

The last time I had watched Titanic was 1998. So I was revisiting it with more or less a blank slate – what I remembered was very minimal. And the movie managed to surprise me in 2012, as it must have done in 1998. Leaving your prejudice aside – the fact that Titanic became such a talked-about movie doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie to begin with. It wouldn’t have won 11 Oscars and went on to become one the highest grossing movies of all time (the highest grossing movie of all time, in fact, for over 12 years) had it been a bad movie. But as it is with pop culture, the more popular something becomes, the more people feel they need to oppose it to have a relevant opinion. This is the case with Titanic.

The thing about Titanic is that it is still a ground breaking movie, even today. Leave the cheesy love story aside, you can’t but be taken in by how detailed James Cameron’s portrayal of the ship is. He actually built a 90% to scale replica, down to the most minute of details: the stairs, the porcelain china, the chairs, etc. That level of precision never goes unnoticed. The 3D conversion only serves to intensify that. Many movies are hurt by being converted to 3D. Titanic is not. The conversion contributes to immersing you in its feel, making you part of what was happening on the ship as it sailed to its doom – the ship snapping in half, the people swimming, trying to fight for their life, only to be left as frozen corpses; the sense of despair, injustice and ultimately life – all of these are increased. The 3D conversion doesn’t take away from the movie’s value. It doesn’t cheapen it with silly gimmicks. It adds depth.

Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio’s roles have become iconic over the years. Titanic is the movie that propelled a 21 year old Dicaprio and a 20 year old Winslet at the time to the status they are in today. Billy Zane, on the other hand, has never managed to shake off the image that Cal gave to him. In fact, Titanic’s screenplay, which in typical Cameron fashion gets weak at some points with redundant lines and flagrant loopholes (which you actually notice this time around), is held together by the strength of its cast, relatively unknown people at the time, making the screenplay’s weaknesses irrelevant somehow. 15 years later, you can’t really write a critique of their performances that gives them justice. And in retrospect, the Academy Awards have really messed up by not nominating Dicaprio for best actor at the time.

Titanic‘s musical score is still among my favorite movie scores, even 15 years later. James Horner’s Hymn to the Sea has to be one of the most chilling compositions produced for a movie. Hearing Titanic‘s music, with its Scottish influences and maritime feel, in a movie theatre cannot but be considered an experience in itself.

My advice for you is to check your prejudice at the door and give this movie a very needed second chance. Odds are you’ll be surprised. At the end of the day, it’s really difficult not to sympathize with the ordeal the characters go through and the magnitude of the tragedy on screen. Titanic, the movie that broke boundaries in 1997, doesn’t feel outdated in 2012 – in fact, it actually feels current and much better than most movies being released nowadays. As that final scene rolls, you can’t but feel absorbed in Titanic. Seeing the sight of the ruined ship and thinking about all the lives lost with it will stay in your thoughts long after your take off your 3D glasses. Titanic has the same effect on audiences as it had 15 years ago and that is the mark of a great movie.

9/10

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Humans and Curiosity Reveal a World of Pure CGI: The Making Of “Qitaf Diamonds” – the STC Ad

This is a guest post by a friend to introduce you to his latest work: a TV Ad for KSA’s STC mobile operating company, named Qitaf Diamonds.

Have you ever wondered how some TV commercials are done?

ABLis about to launch an interactive video that unveils the secrets and techniques of the process that gives rise to these commericals.

Humans and curiosity, they go way back. Come on, let’s admit it, we always want to know how? what? who? and when? Each can help, in their own specialty, to bring knowledge to people. When it comes to ads, many want to know how they’re made. So we ask, how would you like to know how “Qitaf diamonds”, one of our latest commercials, came to life?

Promise! We won’t be wasting your time with the usual making of, a director saying “Action”, or people running around trying to look busy on set. Come along with us to the world of pure CGI, where we uncover the detail behind what your eye is seeing….

Lazy? Choose our “auto pilot mode” by watching this video:

For those more curious and compelled, experience the  “full interactivity mode” via our web app, which you can access here, where you can move the cursor and choose which part of the frame you want to unveil and know exactly “how it was made”!

Enjoy the ride into our virtual fascinating 3D world.

The Lion King (3D) – Movie Review

This is probably the toughest movie review I have to do. Simply because there’s no way you can judge Lion King without being substantially biased. After all, out of all the movies I’ve reviewed so far, this is probably the one that has been around with me the most.

Back when it was first released in 1994, I remember obsessing over Timon, Pumba and Simba. Five year old me had those drinking cups with figurines on top from which you nuzzled water or juice. I remember also buying a $20 book filled with pictures from the movie, retelling the story. That book passed away soon after due to my overwhelming interest in the pictures and some accidental water damage.

I also remember being amazed by the scene when Mufasa appears to Simba towards the end of the movie to remind him who he truly is. And five year old death-ignoring me had no idea what that meant. So my parents’ explanation was: his father was alive all this time, taking care of him without Simba knowing.

Yes, there’s a lot of history in all our lives that revolves around The Lion King. If there’s one Disney movie that touched generations, it’s this one. Hakuna matata, anyone?

So it was with childish glee that I went to the movie theatre with my friends Elia and Paul to watch the 3D re-release of this movie. In my head, any 3D re-release is a shameless way to make money out of an already lucrative movie. And naturally, being the sucker that I am for such sentimentalies, I couldn’t resist. After all, who could resist watching The Lion King – or any Disney movie from your childhood for that matter – in full surround sound, on the big screen, in a movie theatre, which is something most of us didn’t get the opportunity to do, becoming stuck with worn out video cassettes that got played over and over again?

The moment the opening music starts – that deafening shriek that should be trademarked – you know you’re in for a ride. I will skip the usual plot framework that I do in my reviews because I believe whoever ends up reading this has watched the movie at least forty five times in their lives, six of which are in the recent five years. Therefore, no need for me to reiterate the obvious.

And the ride continues. You listen to songs like “Circle of Life” and you can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Yes, apparently Disney still has that effect on me. (I’m pretty sure it has that effect on you too. Admit it. Now.) As the movie proceeds, the 3D in it appears seamless. It doesn’t jump out at you like in movies where 3D was a last minute post-production decision to bring in more money.

The surround sound experience of The Lion King was a revelation of how absolutely kick ass the music in it is. Yes, I used that terminology. And you would too if you got goosebumps every time that somber music plays. We’ve all grown to appreciate the music in The Lion King. But it wasn’t as obvious – at least to me – as it was when I watched it with a full blown sound system.
And let me tell you, The Lion King is a very witty movie. I never knew there were so much jokes in it, most of which are uncannily smart. It could be that all my previous screenings of the movie were via my French-dubbed version, but this was another revelation for me.

Do I recommend you going to watch the movie about the coming of age of the innocent cub as he transforms into a lion? Absolutely. Why? Because out of all the other options of movies at your local theatre, this is the only movie from which you are guaranteed to come out with a grin. Out of all those movies, this is the only one where a twenty five year old guy sitting next to you would be singing along to Hakuna matata. And yes, you would be too. And out of all those movies, this is only one that will touch you the same way it did when you first watched it seventeen years ago.

The Lion King is a timeless movie that transcends generations. It is a tale about survival, betrayal, importance of family and love. It is a tale that ought to stay with us every day of our life. It is a movie that doesn’t shy away from hurt – even if it is masked often by protective parents and their explanations. The Lion King is a movie for the ages. And we are lucky we happened to be those ages.

For your general info, my favorite Disney movie ever, Beauty and the Beast, will be re-released in 3D on January. Yes, I’m uber excited too.