After watching the first part of Titanic on Thursday night, I watched the conclusion last night with a friend who, while he had seen the movie previously, had not seen it in several years. Like me, he was fully engaged in the flick.
He, like others, agreed that the dialogue was pretty lame, but that did not prevent his enjoying the story. I guess, simply put, this is a lesson that movies are a visual experience.
But, it’s more than that. We believe Kate Winslet‘s Rose has fallen for Leonardo Di Caprio‘s Jack. We don’t need convincing that she’ll jump back onto the sinking ship to be with the man she loves. Once we believe the movie’s primary relationship, that there is chemistry between the actors, we can enjoy the movie.
Other relationships are believable and other actors convincing in their roles, particularly Victor Garber as ship designer Thomas Andrews and Kathy Bates as Molly Brown. Truly unsinkable she. Though I wonder if James Cameron considered casting Debbie Reynolds in that role.Â (Or Tammy Grimes?)
The long and the short of it is that movies are a visual experience, but as the Golden Compass showed, eye-poppoing visual effects aren’t enough to make people come see a movie. You also need a story, with a compelling human relationship at the movie’s core and chemistry between the actors in that relationship.Â (Good secondary relationships also help as, for example, in When Harry Met Sally.)
Providing all these, James Cameron’s Titanic works as a film, even if the dialogue is remarkably lame.