Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Abyss should have served as an ominous warning. As enjoyable as that film is, when it came to the relationship between Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio it contained some of the most risible dialogue committed to film. Thankfully, though, it was only a small part of the story. However, with Titanic, the romance is front and centre. It’s what everything hangs upon.

Anyone familiar with James Cameron should know that he’s terrible at writing anything that can be vaguely construed as romantic. As well as The Abyss, you have Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese’s courtship in The Terminator. Full of hackneyed dialogue, puppy dog looks and embarrassing sex, it’s the only weak link in an otherwise excellent film. But with Titanic you have to swallow scene after scene of it, until you end up puking all over yourself like a tramp on a park bench.

One of the most laughable scenes is when Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) shows Rose (Kate Winslet) his artwork. His portfolio is full of nudie drawings. And there’s one girl that he seems particularly fond of. But when Rose suggests that maybe he and this woman had a thing going on, he laughs it off, saying that she was a one-legged prostitute. Why should this stop him from porking her? It didn’t stop Paul McCartney. (And while the characters scoff at the idea of lesser limbed intercourse, Jack says that the whore had a good sense of humour. What a patronising bastard.)

But earlier in the scene Jack says that this Gallic Heather Mills had beautiful hands. He’s about as convincing as an artist as Denise Richards is as nuclear physicist. And later on, when he draws Rose in the buff, he’s supposedly so professional that he doesn’t try anything on – there are no sleazy attempts to slip her the sausage. What kind of artist is he? If he were a proper artist he’d be tombstoning the bejesus out of her. For fuck’s sake, she’s lying there naked – she’s gagging for it, you idiot!

But you can hardly blame Jack. He looks about twelve – he’s probably terrified that Rose is going to crush him to death with her bountiful bosom. Indeed, when he draws her, he seems to be doing his best to ignore her womanly curves – all the hair flicking and concentrated glances are a blatant attempt to either ignore the rod that is pitched in his trousers or to keep him from crying in fear.

However, as hard as Jack tries to avoid nailing Rose, she eventually traps him in some ye olde car. She even asks him to take her to the stars (quality dialogue, Jim). And there she has her wicked way with the timorous youth. Poor guy. He even looks close to tears as he lies trembling on top of her. I don’t know why he reacts in such a way. If he’s a virgin, as his actions and general attitude suggest, he should be doing handstands on his cock for scoring such a fine piece of ass. And if he’s not he should still be doing them anyway.

But as risible as the romance is, the thing that irritated me the most was one of Jack’s friends – some Irish guy called Tommy who he meets on the ship. He’s meant to be a loveable, salt of the earth type guy, but I just wanted him dead. Indeed, the bit where he gets shot by one of the White Star Line officers genuinely had me cheering. And he gets shot after calling the White Star Line guy a “Limey bastard”. England 1 Ireland 0. But this Tommy character is meant to be someone we can root for. But instead he’s a selfish, mealy-mouthed, drunken prick. To hell with him. He even starts shouting “for god’s sake there’s women and children here” while he’s scrabbling to get on a lifeboat himself and stopping the White Star Line officers from loading the boats correctly. You deserved a bullet, mate.

And the whole idealising of the Irish is a major problem I have with the film. They’re all wonderful people. The English, though, by and large, are total twats. They’re either cowardly, psychotic or brandy drinking fools. The only Englishman who comes out half okay is the Captain, and even he crashes into an iceberg and carks it in the end.

But although I’m sitting here moaning about the portrayal of the English, I do have to laugh at one of the characters. There’s a White Star Line officer who’s in charge of loading the lifeboats. He starts off okay but gradually begins to lose the plot. He starts waving his gun at the passengers. “Stand back, I say, or I’ll shoot you all like dogs. Keep order here. Keep order, I say.” The bloke overacts a treat. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Back to the idealising of the Irish – the music is insufferable. It’s that whole Enya-style pseudo-Gaelic crap. I wanted to stab myself in the ears with a pencil. And then, of course, there’s Celine Dion. What a rancid song that is at the end. It’s like being bum-raped by a rhino.

But the clichés and stereotypes aren’t restricted to the English and Irish. There’s also Jack’s friend Fabrizio. He-a-speak-a-like-a-this. He-a-from-a-Ita-lee. I have no idea whether Cameron is taking the piss or whether he actually thinks Italians speak like that. But much like that twatface Tommy, I was rather pleased when Fabrizio got crushed to death. He’s another loveable character who’s just merely annoying.

The only character I sort of half-liked was Billy Zane’s lackey. But that’s because he’s a total prick. He falsely plants evidence on Jack, punches him in the gut and acts like a total jerk at every opportunity. What a guy. And I guess Billy Zane (a.k.a. Kelly Brook’s cock) is okay as well. Although I do have to say that his face freaks me out somewhat. It’s got a plasticy, Michael Jackson-style look about it. Plus he seems to be wearing lots of eye-liner. But I do enjoy his general wretchedness, especially the way he survives the sinking. He kidnaps a child and hops onto a lifeboat, declaring that he’s all the kid has in the world. To hell with your self-righteous Irishmen and fop-haired artists, this is what we need – hammy, rubber-faced industrialists who are only interested in saving their own skins.

But unfortunately Kelly Brook’s cock can’t save the film. It’s a tedious, terribly written mess that has one of the most risible wraparound stories seen in cinema. I really have no idea how that old lady got an Oscar nomination. I think the Academy were just impressed that she hadn’t snuffed it yet. But at least the very end gives us hope that the Rose character dies. She lies there on her bed surrounded by her pictures and then returns to the Titanic and all the people who died that night. Is she now stuck on that ship, locked in sweaty, teary union with her wretched boy-toy for the rest of eternity? One can only hope.

(By the way, it causes me no end of pain that every character refers to the ship merely as Titanic. Yes it may say Titanic on the ship’s arse, but everyone calls it the Titanic. You hear that Jim? The Titanic! Grrr.)

You Might Also Like