Has the Titanic sunk?
I would like to let the record reflect – here and now, in the abundance of its box-office success and award potential, its surpassing of all expectations and money-making records – that I do not think Avatar is a fantastic movie.
Yes, you read that right. I did not care for Avatar. I saw it, I contributed to its ground-breaking box-office success and I even splurged for the 3D.
After experiencing the wonder and whimsy of the world of Pandora, I walked out of the theater with one thought in my head: simply, “meh.”
It was not great. If you wish to plead that it was good, sure. There is probably enough of an argument there.
You could lead your defence by mentioning the amazing special effects.
Then you could point out that Zoe Saldana’s performance was quite grand. Without needing to hear any more, I would have to concede that that the movie was “okay”.
But here’s the question that I can’t seem to have an answer for: was Avatar good enough to oust Titanic as the highest grossing movie of all time?
Think about that for a moment. Does this movie, with shoddy direction, sub-par performances and a completely one-dimensional plot line, really deserve the title of “biggest box office success ever”?
When I first started to consider this notion, I almost immediately sided with Titanic.
I told myself, “James Cameron’s first epic is a better movie and Avatar just doesn’t hold up against it.”
But, after thinking about it a little while, I’m not so sure that is as true as I’d like it to be.
See, Titanic is also just an “okay” movie.
It too has groundbreaking visual effects and boasts as many good performances as bad ones.
And although Cameron’s direction was significantly better than it was in Avatar, it crumbles in comparison to his work on Aliens or the first two Terminator films.
Titanic is really just another overblown love story set in the backdrop of a semi-significant, historic tragedy. It also hasn’t held up well.
The year it pretty much swept the Oscars, it surpassed movies like Boogie Nights, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential and Wag the Dog.
And in hindsight, all of those films were in fact much better movies than Titanic.
And yet, here we are 12 years later; it still sits atop the list of highest-grossing movies ever made.
Well, that was until Avatar knocked it off. So really, which one of these movies (if either) deserves that top spot?
Even after figuring out that neither one is particularly “great”, I still can’t help but side in favor of Cameron’s former effort.
Even in its mediocrity, Titanic was everything people wanted to see.
It was an epic in every sense of the word, demonstrating showmanship quality that hadn’t been seen since the days of Ten Commandments director Cecil B. DeMille. It was large, it was bold and it didn’t waste one minute of its massive run time.
You might argue that Avatar holds the same quality and you might be right, but to me, the recycled characters, one-dimensional plot-line and rather tortoise-like pace hurts its value as the greatest movie ever in terms of box-office receipts.
It’s true that both were movie events to behold, and it’s a shame that the biggest money-earner of all time isn’t better.
However, I think at the end of the day I will cherish my trip to see Titanic a lot more than I will for Avatar. Then again, that’s just me.