AFInity: Titanic

By Kim Hollis

December 15, 2009

The pose that launched a billion dollars.

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The biggest problem of Titanic for me, though, is the fictional character of Caledon Nathan "Cal" Hockley, portrayed by Billy Zane. It's simply impossible for me to believe that a person could be so unreservedly badly behaved. There's not a single thing that this character does that is worthy of redemption. We're teased for a moment that Cal might save a terrified child, but in the end, it's all just a means for his own survival - one that is tossed aside as soon as new peril presents itself. While I have no problem with Zane himself, the character is extremely limited and almost presents as no better than Snidely Whiplash. If there were train tracks on the boat, I'd expect him to be tying Rose to them and laughing iniquitously.


For some people, that could be enough to be a big knock on the film. For me, it's mostly a mild distraction. It's a situation where Cameron almost gets it perfectly right, and the high notes are so high that I'm willing to forgive Titanic its faults and go with it. There's a reason I'm drawn to the film whenever I'm flipping through the movie channels. It's partly for the epic scope of the story, but ultimately, I have an odd affinity for the doomed romance between Jack and Rose. Some might claim that such a whirlwind romance is unrealistic, but I don't think that's the case, myself. I believe that Rose and Jack would find each other in this small environment, and be drawn together for both their differences and similarities in personality. And I think that everything Rose does from the day she steps onto the dock in New York City honors that love she has for Jack, from her various adventures to finding new love to starting a family. Cameron drew me into their story, and I expect him to do the same when I see Avatar in all its 3-D IMAX glory this weekend. Even as he's changing the rules of film-making, he's still encouraging us to connect with the characters who populate his movies.

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