”Titanic” made our list of best disaster movies
FAMILIAR FACES Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (shown); also: Billy Zane, Victor Garber (Alias), Kathy Bates, and Gloria Stewart
UH-OH! ”Unsinkable” luxury liner + iceberg – enough lifeboats for the 2,200 souls aboard = most notorious disaster in maritime history
DISASTROUS DIALOGUE ”Jack, this is where we first met!” —Rose (Winslet), as she and Jack (DiCaprio) cling to the railing just before the ship makes its final plunge
SAVING THE DAY Well, actually, 1,500 people drown, but young Jack manages to keep newfound love Rose afloat long enough to be rescued.
AFTERSHOCKS Yes, Titanic earned nearly $2 billion and 11 Oscars, and it made director James Cameron the king of the world, but it’s been a hard act to follow. Cameron hasn’t made a big feature since, and DiCaprio and Winslet aren’t exactly the superstars Titanic seemed to indicate they would be. The film’s most lasting legacy, besides the water tank built for it in Mexico — since used for such films as Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World — has been an increased willingness for studios to gamble on astronomically expensive epic filmmaking, with results as varied as Pearl Harbor and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT By themselves, neither Cameron’s paper-thin Romeo-and-Juliet plot nor his meticulously wrought destruction would make much of a movie, but together, they add up to a tragic whole that remains suspenseful even though you know what’s going to happen.
EW GRADE A