Everyone’s jumping on board (excuse the reverse-pun) the whole Titanic sank 100 years ago this month buzz – and none more so than James Cameron who obviously, with the release of the 3D version of his DiCaprio / Winslet love-story blockbuster from 1997 – has a cash-cow to milk as much as possible from it’s murky depths.
I watched a screener of this ‘documentary’ (and I use inverted commas most purposefully here) last night. Basically, it is what it says on the box – James Cameron being as arrogant as he possibly can by assembling a bunch of Titanic ‘experts’ into a room / film studio and telling each one of them what he thinks they should say. And, for the most part, at least on screen, they seem to lap it up – barely any glimpse of dissension in the assemble ranks of sycophants – except the big beardy guy manages to get a piece to camera in saying “You can disagree with Jim only if you have all your arguments back up behind you with a chorus line”. He’s even so arrogant to name this ‘doco’ The Final Word – daring that no-one should have anything further to say about the sinking after the almighty Cameron has spoken. And, boy, does he speak a lot.
The show is basically about how awesome James Cameron is and how he totally knows how exactly the Titanic sank and how darned close to the facts he was in his depiction of the sinking in his film; writing off any discrepancy as inconsequential. A US Naval Architect spent three years of virtual model building to understand that the stern end of the ship probably only raised about nineteen degrees out of the water before plummeting to the sea. Which is, you know, kinda a lot less than the practically ninety degrees that Cameron had depicted. After some careful editing of three years of painstaking research Cameron got the degrees increased to twenty-three to make him look better; and writes the remaining 60+ degrees of as ‘cinemagraphic’.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with artistic license to depict and exaggerate in order to convey the true horror of the victims on that night; but when Cameron spends pretty much the whole time telling us that the film is as “true to life” as possible, setting out to prove how awesomely accurate he was with the power, now, of facts that have been uncovered since the making of the film – in what seems to be an attempt to depict him as some sort of savant-like genius – but then defends a massive inaccuracy as artistic license he becomes somewhat laughable.
But, wait there’s more. If Cameron hasn’t already done as much as possible to assure you his ego is the thing that was unsinkable there’s an hilarious sequence where he ask’s the assembled group of experts what they would do differently if they were the captain of the Titanic and they had just struck the iceberg. Not that anyone else’s ideas or opinions are given any weight at all – no, instead, this is simply a vehicle for Captain Cameron to tell us what he would do to save everyone on board that night.
I can’t wait to see the next ‘documentary’ James Cameron Solves Every Single Problem In The World, Ever.
Worth watching, though, if only to shout abuse at Cameron and hate someone more than, say, Bono.
JAMES CAMERON’S FINAL WORD – Monday 9th April 7.30pm National Geographic