James Cameron’s mega-budget love story set aboard the doomed ocean liner Titanic was a phenomenon. Buoyed by the on-screen chemistry of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Titanic sailed away with a record 11 Academy Awards and broke box office records until Cameron trumped himself with the equally epic Avatar. The film also installed Celine Dion at the top of global charts for what seemed like an eternity with her heartfelt lament My Heart Will Go On.
To coincide with the centenary of Titanic’s ill-fated maiden voyage, Cameron has revisited his masterpiece and lovingly converted it to 3D. The Oscar-winning writer-director has been at the forefront of expanding the boundaries of the increasingly fashionable format.
At multiplexes and IMAX cinemas, he has created some truly enthralling experiences that soften the blow of inflated ticket prices and the inevitable discomfort of wearing the spectacles. In the case of Titanic, that discomfort lasts for more than three hours but no matter — we’re completely swept along by Cameron’s vision, which uses a fictional blue diamond necklace known as The Heart of the Ocean as the narrative glue between the present and past.
The film begins deep underwater with Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) and his team of treasure hunters scouring the submerged wreck. The 3D is breathtaking — can almost feel particles in the water brushing against our faces as cameras glide through compartments. The search comes to nought until Brock meets 101-year-old survivor Rose DeWitt Bukater (Gloria Stuart).
Staring transfixed at a sketch of her younger self, Rose recalls her burgeoning romance with spirited artist Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) aboard the eponymous luxury liner. Her jealous fiancé Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) schemes to drive a wedge between the sweethearts with the help of his valet Spicer Lovejoy (David Warner) and Rose’s snobbish, money-oriented mother (Frances Fisher). Fate intervenes and passengers fight for their lives as the ship takes on water. Titanic 3D is a feast for the senses and the heart, recalling the epic storytelling of British director David Lean and co, and cements Cameron’s reputation as an action director par excellence, but also as a master helmsman of delicately observed human drama. With all the advances of the past 15 years, the film still looks pristine and colours aren’t dulled by the new format.
Indeed, Titanic is perfectly suited to it: water-logged corridors seem to stretch into the distance; and our stomachs lurch with Jack and Rose as they cling to the stern, looking down as fellow passengers tumble to their doom.
Once upon a time . . . The King (Sean Bean) is presumed dead so his wife, the Queen (Julia Roberts), seizes the throne and turns her teenage stepdaughter Snow White (Lily Collins) into a recluse in Mirror Mirror. Hunky Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) and his manservant Renbock (Robert Emms) arrive at the palace and the Queen decides a love match is in order. But the Queen cannot risk Snow White stealing her thunder.
So the scheming monarch banishes her to the forest, where the young lady will be easy pickings for the carnivorous beast that lives in the trees.
Unbeknown to the Queen, Snow White is rescued by seven plucky dwarves: Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Butcher (Martin Klebba), Chuckles (Ronald Lee Clark), Grimm (Danny Woodburn), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), Half Pint (Mark Povinelli) and Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno).
They teach the princess to fend for herself and armed with her favourite dagger, Snow White returns to the court.
Mirror Mirror is an effervescent and occasionally uproarious romp, which references the familiar elements including an enchanted looking glass and a poisoned apple. Collins and Hammer are bland as the much-abused heroine and her gallant prince, whose chaste love blossoms in adversity.
However, Roberts and Lane are a hoot, milking generous laughs from Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller’s uneven script.