Today was the first day of Big Screen at the O2 and, amongst the trailers and the clips, was a section from Twentieth Century Fox on next year's biggest re-release, Titanic. As everyone and his dog must know, Titanic was originally the super smash of 1997 but, to coincide with the centenary of the sinking of the ship next year, Fox and James Cameron are re-releasing the film, with every scene freshly painted in state of the art 3D.
On Friday, some Big Screeners were treated to a selection of completed scenes in full 3D. These included what was, for me and many more, an iconic scene from the original: when the ship is being loaded and Kate Winslet as Rose takes her first look at it from under her extraordinary hat. As cars and other goods are carried on to the vessel, our initial impression of this enormous ship, the unsinkable Titantic, is now intensified as depth and scale are added.
We were shown a selection of scenes that didn't just highlight key stages of the ship's journey towards the bottom of the sea, they also highlighted that, no matter how dark the action, state of the art, properly projected 3D delivers new depths to some very familiar scenes without any undesirable muddying.
I saw: Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack, dancing with Rose among the third class passengers; Jack's greeting of Rose at the bottom of the grand staircase; Jack holding Rose at the very front of the ship as they fly through the seas; the dramatic scene as the crew of the ship do all they can to shift the Titanic away from the iceberg and, finally, the moments when the ship, in pieces, smashes into the black, cold sea.
I remember so vividly watching these scenes, and the rest of the film, in the theatres back in 1997. Back then, Cameron's Titanic seemed to be heavy with original and awe-inspiring moments and, personally, I don't think I've ever sobbed so much at the movies.
These new clips suggest a 3D reworking that has the potential to reopen all those old wounds and bring on the emotion afresh. No director is more associated with 3D than Cameron and, arguably, no director employs it as well. The scenes that we saw today illustrated how any criticisms that naysayers generally throw at 3D productions will fall flat with this film. Even the night scenes were clear, with no added darkness, and there was little, if any, additional blurring or streaking as Jack and Rose dance their way across the lower class decks.
The 3D is particularly effective during the grand camera sweeps across the ship, but also as the Titanic sinks. Shots of the massive ship in the background with the dark sea and its victims in the foreground were particularly striking, but even the gentler scenes seemed fresh and alive. We were told that Cameron had already taken over a year on this 3D adaptation, and there is still more time to come before its release.
You can be assured that when Titanic is re-released in 3D – and in 2D – on 6 April 2012, we will be presented with the very best that James Cameron can do. And that, I'm assured, will be excellent.