Avatar (2009) – James Cameron

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The 101 Action Movies comes to a close with James Cameron’s sci-fi action-adventure epic.

No matter what one thinks of the story, and for me, it was simply a rehash of Pocahontas, again. There is a strong environmental message, one about living in harmony with our surroundings as opposed to pillaging and destroying as businesses and the military-industrial complex that is raping the alien planet Pandora seems intent on doing (sound familiar).

It is on this alien planet, that Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a crippled marine, gets a new lease on life, as he, through a neurological link, is able to transmit his consciousness into an avatar grown for him, to infiltrate and learn from the indigenous people, the Na’vi.

There he learns their ways from Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) the daughter of the local tribe’s chief, Eytukan (Wes Studi). As he delves deeper into their culture, initially sharing tactical information with the vicious Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), he realizes that what his people are doing here is wrong. The entire planet is connected, one big network, that interacts with all the living beings around it, and the interests from earth are happy to destroy it and force the Na’vi to relocate so that Earth businesses can lay claim to minerals (sound familiar?).

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Helping Sully out in the human world is Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez), who also begin to distrust Quaritch’s and Selfridge’s (Giovanni Ribisi) motivations, and violent tendencies.

Story-wise, there is absolutely nothing new here at all, which is rather upsetting considering how long some fans were waiting for Cameron to return to the sci-fi/action genre. But the story is secondary, Cameron has always been a perfectionist director, always wanting the best on the screen, and there is nothing but in Avatar.

The visual effects work is still, 5 years later, unparalleled. Pandora comes to life beautifully, with an ecosystem we may not recognize, but it is also undeniable that it works. The settlers with their weapons and vehicles, their tech, it all looks amazing, and each thing has a purpose, if it’s on the screen, it’s there for a reason.

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This was the first time I had watched the film since it came out, and while the story still doesn’t wow me, I did get caught up in it, and simply marveled at everything I was watching on the screen.

It looks beautiful.

It was also nominated for a number of Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography, not bad for a film that is 40% live action and 60% photo-real computer images!

It’s very hard not to get caught up in the magic that spreads through the film, and I have no doubt I will be seeing the sequels, which are slated for 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. I’ll be curious to see what Cameron does with the world he created now that he can play in it a little more.

A gorgeous film to end the 101 Action Movies list to end on, and now the hunt begins for new lists, as I continue to explore new to me titles, as well as revisit familiar ones.

What are you watching right now that you think I should check out?

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TIFF- Short Cuts Canada Programme 3

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Screening today at the Lightbox at 10pm and tomorrow at 2:45pm is the next installment of Shorts for this year’s TIFF. The first two programmes have been filled with delightful surprises and some wonderful pieces and this collection is no different featuring a variety of pieces that are stunningly beautiful to watch.

We Wanted More by Stephen Dunn features Christine Horne, in a fantastic performance as Hannah a singer on the eve of a world tour who is wondering about the road not taken – a family and children. When she begins to lose her voice, a child arrives in the form of Skyler Wexler. We follow Hannah as she confronts what must be done if she wants to continue living her own life…

Candy, made by Cassandra Cronenberg, follows the sexual escapades and addictions as well as accepting them or abusing of them, in the course of one night, in a sharply crafted film, that doesn’t pull its punches and keeps an objective eye throughout.

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Jimbo by Ryan Flowers is probably my favorite of the bunch in this programme. A documentary, the film follows Ryan’s friendship with Jimmy Leung, who dreams of making it big like his heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, all while battling mental illness. It’s touching, funny, and shows that films touch and inspire us all. From working on their elevator pitch to filming excerpts from Jimmy’s scripts, there’s a magic and honesty to the film that resonates with every one of us who dreams of making films.

Portrait as a Random Act of Violence from Randall Okita features the creation of art from a violent act as only a creative artist could. There is violence, destruction, resurrection and beauty, all contained within this film, and its sculpture. Beautiful and stunning.

Method, the short film from Gregory Smith, features Shawn Doyle as an actor trying to get through a tough scene that features him as a cop during an interrogation. He can’t seem to get his groove, or find his way into the scene until a trip to a coffee shop helps bring everything into sharp focus. This one is funny, tense, and features an appearance by the wonderful Katie Boland!

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In Guns We Trust is a short documentary from Nicolas Levesque about the small town of Kenneswa, Georgia. A place I would never be comfortable in… This is a small town that requires, by law, that the master or mistress of the house own and know how to use a firearm. That means, every home in the town has a gun in it. They say crime has gone down, and stayed down for the past 30 years, but owning a gun shouldn’t be a law, it should be a choice. It’s an interesting look at this town filled with gorgeous black and white photography.

Der Untermensch is a dance film by Kays Mejri, that is starkly photographed, and looks brilliant, as the film’s subject and its choreographer Simon Vermeulen, moves to the film’s beat, in an expressionistic interpretation of violence and repression.

As always, don’t let the fact that you aren’t in Toronto dissuade you from checking out some of these fantastic pieces, remember, you’ll be able to check some of them out on the TIFF 2013 YoutTube, bookmark it, check it regularly, and watch it here!

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True Lies (1994) – James Cameron

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The 101 Action Movies list gave me a chance to revisit a James Cameron movie that I seem to constantly forget about, but love to watch every time it is on… True Lies.

Cameron directs this actioner which has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, and amps up the action sequences that come one after the next in a rapid fire sequence.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Harry Tasker, a member of Omega Sector, an ultra-secret agency that operates around the world. It’s so secret that his wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) is laboring under the belief that her husband is a boring computer salesman, and their daughter, Dana (Eliza Dushku) can’t be bothered with either of them.

Harry and his team, which includes Albert Gibson (Tom Arnold) and Faisal (Grant Heslov), all overseen by the ominously eye-patched Spencer Trilby (Charlton Heston), find themselves trying to stop an extremist group known as the Crimson Jihad led by the always under-used Art Malik as Salim Abu Aziz from detonating nuclear weapons on American soil.

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Wrapped around and through this story is Helen being seduced by a car salesman, Simon (Bill Paxton – who is always enjoyable to see!), posing as an international spy. Harry starts to worry he’s losing his wife, and sets up a little adventure for her, to delightful effect, but the two of them find themselves fighting for their lives as Aziz captures them both.

The action sequences are over the top and brilliant, from a chase down a snowy mountain-side to a motorcycle/horse chase through streets and buildings. They are crafted and put together with Cameron’s usually deftness, with just a hint of a wink at the audience along with a sly grin, as the characters tumble from one over the top sequence to the next, finally culminating atop a harrier jump jet.

Brad Fiedel brings a fantastic score to the film, a driving beat and theme that as soon as it began, I found myself whistling along, unable to believe that I had forgotten it.

The production design, is overseen by the best man for the job Peter Lamont, who has overseen or been involved with the Bond films in one form or another since Goldfinger. They are impressive, and awe-inspiring, one of my favorites is femme fatale Juno Skinner’s (Tia Carrere) office and work area, filled with towering pieces of art and statuary.

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The film never takes itself too seriously and it’s fun to see Arnold get his comedy on alongside Tom Arnold, who in larger doses could have been truly annoying in the film, but Cameron keeps him restrained enough to just pop up now and again with a comedic moment.

The film’s special effects are put together by the company Cameron founded, Digital Domain, and a lot of them hold up really well. There are a few moments on and around the jump jet at the end that look a little uneven now, but I don’t remember them detracting from my enjoyment of the film anytime I watched it.

It’s weird that I keep forgetting about this one, I think I’m waiting for a blu-ray release, with all manner of extras, and then this one will find its way into high rotation again.

Is there a film that you constantly forget about but as soon as you see it, you remember how much you loved it?

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) – James Cameron

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The 101 Sci-Fi Movies, and the 101 Action Movies mesh with this title, appearing as a fin example of both genres.

Cameron’s film picks up 13 years after the original classic, and finds a rebellious John Connor (Edward Furlong) living with his foster parents, while his toughened, but possibly psychotic mother, Sarah (Linda Hamilton) is locked away in a mental institution.

Unfortunately, that leaves John vulnerable, and it’s at this moment that Cyberdyne decides to send back another terminator to attempt to assassinate Connor before he can become the man who leads the resistance to victory over the machines.

As before, the resistance was able to send back an ally, a protector, but like before, it’s a race to see who reaches him first.

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Building on the success of the first film, the second is bigger, louder, and more dynamic than the first, returning as the T-800 is Arnold Schwarzenegger, but this time he may be outmatched by the new liquid metal T-1000 (Robert Patrick) that can alter his shape and appearance.

After an explosive confrontation at a shopping mall, and subsequent chase, John learns that the T-800 has to follow his orders, and decides to go after his mother, from there, the film really kicks into high gear, as the T-1000 stalks, hunts, shoots and slashes them at every opportunity.

Deciding to take the fight to Cyberdyne, they decide to after the man most responsible for Skynet and the Terminators creation… Miles Dyson (Joe Morton).

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Sarah, no longer the young woman from the first film, but now a hardened warrior herself, almost becomes a terminator herself, when she decides to hunt him down and kill him to stop his work. This is happening in conjunction with John trying to educate the T-800 about why he can’t just go around killing people, a nice juxtaposition.

The film has some outstanding set pieces, a brilliant combination of practical and CG effects, and some strong performances. All of which are heightened by watching the special edition which reincorporated 16 minutes of footage back into the film (including scenes with Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), not to be confused with the special extended edition which includes a different, and terrible, ending).

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The late, and sorely missed Stan Winston and his studio turned in some brilliant work in this film!

There is also Brad Fiedel’s iconic score.

The main trio, Hamilton, Furlong and Schwarzenegger form a nuclear family of sorts, and all of them seem to perfectly compliment one another. John is happy to have his mother back, but she’s almost as cold and unrelenting as the Terminator, who in turn seems more human than she is. It’s an interesting role reversal, and it’s great to see Sarah try to balance her warrior’s edge with her love for her son, which is why she’s doing all she is, well, that and the fact that he’s supposed to be some ‘great military leader.’

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There are laughs, a tug at your heart-strings by film’s end if you get really involved in the film, and some fantastic action sequences. This along with the Abyss and Aliens, is probably some of Cameron’s best work, and are always the ones I point to as highlights of the genres.

The extended edition also gives the talented Joe Morton more to do, as we get to see him interacting more with his family and it allows you to see just how much he is sacrificing of himself to change fate.

But if the film has taught us anything… the future is not set, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves…

I remember seeing this one opening day (an afternoon matinée), and coming out so pumped, humming the theme, and I think I went right back that night to see it again with friends…

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The Abyss (1989) – James Cameron

abyss_ver1People will say Terminator 2 or Aliens, the romantics might go with Titanic, some people swear by Avatar, but for me, my favorite James Cameron film will always be The Abyss, and I’m so happy I got to revisit it for the 101 Sci-Fi Movies list.

Featuring the largest underwater set ever built, in a half completed nuclear reactor, and filled with action scenes, stunts, and some amazing performances, perfectionist Cameron’s director’s cut is the preferred viewing experience.

When a U.S. nuclear sub is mysteriously lost, an underwater oil rig, is moved to its location, with a government assigned SEAL team to make sure they get on site and recover it before the Russians do.

The civilian rig is crewed by a bunch of roughnecks, led by Virgil ‘Bud’ Brigman (Ed Harris) and he’s joined by his ex-wife, Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) who pilots the SEAL team led by Coffey (Michael Biehn) down to the rig in a mini-sub.

Tensions begin to arise immediately, as the two alpha males Bud and Coffey butt heads over how to run the rig, especially since Coffey is beginning to suffer from high pressure nervous system due to the rigs depth, and becomes an increasingly dangerous threat.

abyss13Tensions also come between Bud and Lindsey, as its obvious Bud still loves her, but she’s cold, clinical, and besides Bud, not too many people on the rig like her.

She starts to see things that challenge her though, after locating the sub, Lindsey sees something. Something not us.

This puts Coffey into an even more heightened state and then recover a nuclear warhead from the sub with the intention of detonating it at the bottom of the abyss, the rig is hanging over, and where they suspect this Non-Terrestrial Intelligence to be residing.

Cameron is a master of the action scene, and this film is filled with them, a nail-biting sequence features the rig being dragged across the ocean floor to the edge of the abyss, while its anchor, the ship on the surface, is being pounded by a hurricane. There’s a mini-sub chase and fight, there is tension galore…

abyss_lNo matter how many times I see it though, there is a sequence that always gets me, and that is the section of the film where Bud is forced to let Lindsey drown right in front of him, it’s heartbreaking, and the subsequent scenes only reinforce that.

The NTIs are trying to warn us to grow up a bit, and are ready to give us all a little smackdown even as Bud leaps down into the abyss, on a seemingly suicidal mission, to stop the nuclear warhead from detonating.

The film is claustrophobic with the low sets of the rig, tension filled due to a tightly paced story and excellent performances, and is a little more emotional than most Cameron films (save perhaps Titanic) and despite not having watched it for a number of years, as soon as I put it on, I berated myself for not having watched it more recently, still so amazing!

And the tech of course is just cool, if you think about the behind the scenes stuff, and the fact that very little work was done by stunt people, most of it was the actors, the fact that the helmets were designed specifically for that movie so you could see the actors faces, and now that design is kind of the standard, the CG work with the water tentacle, the fluid-breathing system (which actually exists – though whether humans could use it…).

The film is still amazingly epic, has the perfect balance of action and emotion, with a bit of Close Encounters and Day The Earth Stood Still thrown in for good measure.

Yeah, I think I’ll be watching this one again soon…

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Aliens (1986) – James Cameron

aliens-film-posterThis time it’s war, as we return to the universe created in the original Ridley Scott sci-fi flick. James Cameron takes over as storyteller and director in this entry in the 101 Sci-Fi Movies list.

Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is still in hyper-sleep, just as we left her at the end of the first film, but like her, we’re stunned to discover that she’s been asleep for 57 years, and that the planet, Lv-426, that the Nostromo landed on, now has a human colony residing there running a terraforming operation.

And The Company, Weyland-Yutani by name, has just lost contact with them.

Recruited by Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), Ripley agrees to face her nightmares, she is traveling with a squad of colonial marines in a consultant position. The squad is made of a number of bad asses and possible allies for Ripley like Hicks (Michael Biehn), Hudson (Bill Paxton) and Bishop (Lance Henriksen).

biehnOn arriving they find the colony deserted but for one little girl, Newt (Carrie Henn), and a whole pile of trouble. Ripley and the marines get caught up in a battle for their lives as they stumble across a hive of xenomorphs, with something they’ve never seen at its heart, and learn that once again The Company has other plans.

aliens2Weaver found herself nominated for a best actress Oscar for her performance, something that almost never happens in a genre film, and while she does turn in a stellar performance. I believe that if the Director’s Cut had originally been released in the theaters she would have easily won, as it not only portrayed a woman facing her fears through trial, but also dealing with the loss and rediscovery of motherhood.

Cameron, known as a perfectionist, crafts a taut, action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, letting the tension build until the first explosive action sequence.

bishopThere are great moments of tension-relieving humor, and a number of lines of dialogue have found their way into the cultural lexicon. “Game over, man!”

Despite its sci-fi trappings, this really is a war movie, as James Horner’s score will tell you with its heavy drums and percussion, which along with the tight editing, rockets you along from moment to intense moment.

Much like a movie coming up on the 101 Action Movies I saw this one twice on a military base, with a packed summer audience at an outdoor theater, and it was a pretty wild experience.

alienAnd despite the amount of time that has gone by, I’ve yet to see a sci-fi war movie that could frighten and thrill in turns. The battle sequences are intense, especially the final assault when the aliens somehow get inside the barriers the squad has erected and tear into our heroes.

All of it of course leads to the final confrontation between Ripley and her nightmares as she tries to keep Newt safe.

The film is amazing, and anytime I come across someone who has never seen it, I tell them that is the next movie we have to see together.

It’s loud, brilliant, and so intense.

Don’t ya think?

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The Terminator (1984) – James Cameron

terminator_1984_3I do love a story that involves some temporal mechanics, and this one always pleases. Yes, T2 is arguably the better and stronger film, but you wouldn’t have T2 without this first film, which I was happy to revisit on the 101 Sci-Fi Movies list.

Cameron did a lot of model work and visual effects for various science fiction films (Battle Beyond The Stars, Galaxy of Terror, Escape From New York), as well as cutting his teeth as a director on Piranha 2: The Spawning.

He finally got to bring his film to the big screen, though there were some casting changes, originally cult fave Lance Henriksen was going to play the time-travelling assassin, he was replaced by the up and coming Arnold Schwarzenegger and took a smaller role as Detective Hal Vukovich.

The story is simplicity itself, and completely engaging. A terminator is sent back in time from a losing battle to assassinate the mother of the resistance, killing him before he’s born and putting a fatal end to the battle of man versus machine.

terminator1Unfortunately, the Terminator doesn’t know where Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is, so he simply works his way through the phonebook, killing every Sarah Connor in the area, one after another. This builds an incredible amount of tension as we wait desperately for the resistance fighter from the future Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to get to Sarah before the Terminator does.

Using model work and creations by the amazing Stan Winston (miss you Stan), the world is completely formed, and even today, long after the original judgement day has come and gone, the film still rocks.

billBrad Fiedel’s iconic score pulses through the opening credits, and we get to see Bill Paxton and Brian Thompson as young punks, who make the mistake of threatening Arnold.

The design, the action sequences, the pacing, everything works in this film. Sarah is a little too soft, but I think that’s the point of the first film, making the revelation of her character in the second film all that more powerful, and Hamilton and Biehn share some really nice chemistry together.

1 arnold terminatorI remember the first time I saw this. It was when it was first released to VHS while we were living in Bermuda, and my friend Sean lent me their rental copy from the now defunct Vision Video (where we were valued and loved customers – we were there every weekend). This was amazing! I had never seen anything like it before. Time travel, killer robots, all set against a modern back-drop - mind = blown.

I think one of the things I really liked about it, was that it was happening in the present, it helped foster my imagination, that there is more going on in the world they we imagine. If you peel back a layer there’s no telling what you are going to find. I love the idea of having a huge adventure, and everyone around you has no idea anything is out of the ordinary or going on.

Of course some people start to suspect there is something going on, certainly not a time-travelling robot, but the police, led by Traxler (Paul Winfield) and Hal are willing to lend a hand no matter how futile.

terminator1_mq_313I also delight in seeing Dick Miller anytime he pops up! He’s always awesome. And of course Earl Boen as Silberman returns in future installments, though anything after 2 doesn’t really count in my books – as entertaining as they may or may not be.

This was Cameron carving out a name for himself as a master of his craft, of pacing, attention to detail, and action. Cameron was my go-to-guy right up until 1997, and while Titanic was a gorgeous film, and a technical marvel, it didn’t feel like the Cameron I had grown to love through the Terminator films, Aliens, True Lies, The Abyss, the man knew how to craft a scene!!!

So it was a true delight to go back and watch the master work on this still fantastic film.

What is your favorite Cameron film?

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The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman by Vic Armstrong

VicCoverI first heard the name Vic Armstrong in a television special called Great Movie Stunts & The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark back in 1981. I was 10 or 11 when the special first aired, and I remember watching it in our house while we were living in Kingston.

Even at that age, I was already intrigued by how the magic of movies was created, in my estimation, knowing how something was done increases my appreciation for it.

The special not only covered the incredible stunts that Raiders brought to the big screen, it gave a brief history of stunts from the dawn of cinema, and introducing me to one of the most famous stuntmen of all Yakima Canutt. He was amazing!

Vic Armstrong is the modern day Canutt, but also an accomplished action director. Whether you know the name or not, you know his work, Armstrong has done stunts for James Bond movies, he doubled Christopher Reeve as Superman, and of course Indiana Jones, amongst countless others, he’s had an unparalleled career, working for some of the best and brightest, and by his own admission, some of the not so great.

vic armstrong.jpgI was very happy to dig into his autobiography, from the moment that I had stumbled upon it at my local Chapters I wanted it. But what with Christmas coming, I knew I would be better off asking for it. Christmas came around, and Vic’s book went right to the top of my pile.

From his early days working with horses, a love he’s fostered all of his life, he got involved in films, and made a name for himself as one of the most professional and talented men in the business. It’s amazing to read some of the things he’s done, jumping out of a helicopter 35 feet above the side of a mountain with nothing but a life jacket to cushion the fall.

He’s done falls, fights, transfers (in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – he’s the guy who does the jump from the horse onto the tank – a distance of 18ft!)… He’s worked with the biggest names in the business, Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Daniel Craig, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, Robert De Niro, Robert Downey Jr. Van Damme, Angelina Jolie, Donald Sutherland, Liam Neeson, and J.J. Abrams. He won a technical Oscar for his creation of the fan descender, used in high jumps, and he’s the only action director/stuntman to have a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

vicHis book is a highly enjoyable read, and had me constantly shaking my head in amazement, chuckling at something outlandish, or sympathizing when I read   about an injury to him or one of his mates.

As an action director, he crafted and shot the ice car chase in Die Another Day, the helicopter chase sequence in Mission: Impossible III in addition to countless others. He crafts incredible sequences, and it’s thrilling to read how they were designed.

It’s an amazing story of a brilliantly lived life, from starting out, to making it a family business. The tales he tells are so entertaining, and as always, simply give me more appreciation for the magic of movies, not only his work as a stuntman, but the work of all of them.

If you love behind-the -scenes books and love the magic that brings movies to life, you owe it to yourself to read this one – it’s incredible.

Vic Armstrong is one of those people that I would be absolutely gob-smacked to meet, that being said… Mr. Armstrong if you read this, and you ever get to Toronto, Sue and I would love to have you on our show!

Until then, I’m gonna be watching some of my favorite adventure movies again, and watching the work of not only Vic but his fellows with a whole new level of appreciation…

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Titanic 3D

 So Paramount and associated companies laid out quite the event the other night for Valentine’s Day by giving a select few audiences a sneak peek at the re-release of Titanic in April, newly upgraded to 3D.

Now before you heave that sigh, and say 3D, really?? Titanic??

The one thing one needs to remember about the film, besides how incredibly hot Kate Winslet is, is that it was written and directed by James Cameron. Now no matter what one thinks of Avatar (wasn’t a fan) technically it was a great achievement, showing that 3D didn’t have to be gimmicky with things lunging out of the screen at you. It can be used to enhance the actual film-going experience, to add visual depths to the film.

But I’m starting to get ahead of myself.

On arriving we were directed to the upper floor of the AMC24 at Yonge and Dundas, where we were greeted by a plethora of folk milling about and enjoying everything that had been arranged for us.

First off there was a photo-op against a Titanic backdrop with a couple in fancy dress referring to themselves as Jack and Rose. But the picture turned out great, and we’ll post it when we find it!

We also realized we were in first class, not only because we got free popcorn and drinks, but there was a quartet playing away in the corner, making sure we had music to down to.

While we wandered about, we noticed that there were also sketch artists on hand to do portraits while you wait, happily no one decided to strip down and re-enact Kate’s performance in that scene, but both artists did wonderful work.

Finally when we wandered into the theater, we were issued first class boarding passes, special Titanic 3D glasses (I do love cool swag) and then settled into our seats.

I knew going in that the conversion of the film would have to be amazing, otherwise Cameron would never have okayed the re-issue.

But I was simply stunned by how amazing it looks!

You wouldn’t believe looking at it that this film was 15 years old, and hadn’t been shot in 3D the first time around. As the underwater submersibles emerge and descend into the darkness surrounding the ship, the layers worked into the film become readily apparent, there is detritus floating all about, but all at different depths in the picture.

It’s a gorgeous transfer, and it makes the experience truly unique. There’s an added emotional impact when she sinks. The masses of people in the water seem absolutely incredible, and then in turn dwarfed by the sinking hulk towering over them. Another sequence where you could truly see the layers of a 3D film establishing depth, is Rose’s arrival in America while it’s raining, the rain has layer upon layer, not a single sheet… I can only imagine the work that went into converting this film to 3D… was it necessary? No. Does it actually enhance the theater going experience… Yes.

Of course it’s a simple story, much in the same vein of Avatar, a simple tale set against an intricate technical achievement. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet still shine in the roles that helped launch them to super-stardom, and despite it’s simplicity, it’s still engaging as you wait to watch the disaster that you know is inevitable (unless you’re completely unaware of historic events – which apparently some of the people in our audience were, they remarked a number of times, “It’s sinking! The boat is sinking!”).

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the music, James Horner’s score is as always fantastic, he uses a lot of percussion and horns, and of course a stirring use of piano motifs as he incorporates an instrumental version of THAT song.

It’s sad that My Heart Will Go On has descended into the realm of cliché because it really is a gorgeous song,course, it would also have been better if they hadn’t used Celine either. But that’s neither here nor there.

I enjoyed going back to Titanic, but that song at the end now just jars you right out of the experience. It’s too bad that it hasn’t weathered the years as well as the film.

Titanic returns to theaters this April, and if you aren’t opposed to the three hour run time, though it certainly didn’t feel like three hours, course, that is three hours in Kate’s company… Indulge your inner romantic, take a friend, your sweetie, or your gal pals…It makes for a nice evening out.

It was for us, and we also got to walk away with some cool swag, as we were all presented with gift bags on our way out.

Coming Soon on The Mind Reels…

Every now and then, we like to share the excitement of things that are coming up for Sue and I!

We’ve had a pretty good run so far, and I think we’re still just starting out…

This week we’ll have an interview up with the director of Canadian Indie comedy Moon Point, Sean Cisterna.

Sue and I are gonna take a sneak peek at the 3D conversion/upgrade of Titanic. It’s Cameron, so I expect he hovered over every shot of it, so I think the 3D should be pretty phenomenal, we’ll find out for you… stay tuned!

We are also going to catch up with a dear friend of The Mind Reels, the director of The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard, Jeremy LaLonde, I think all three of us are looking forward to sitting down with one another again.

Plus somewhere along the way there should be some more Lost Girl and other geeky goodness with a special guest, as well as all the usual array of posts!