In Canada, Titanic (blu ray) comes in three flavours: 1) Four disc 3D combo: two BD-50 discs dedicated to the entire 3D version, one BD-50 disc for the 2D version and one disc for Special Features. 2) Four disc 2D combo: one BD-50 for the 2D version of movie, and second BD-50 for Special Features, and the remaining 2 discs being standard DVD dedicated to the standard version of the movie (current review). 3) Two disc combo: one Blu ray disc and one standard DVD. All four discs sit on flipper plates inside a slightly larger than normal blue keepcase and accompanied by a glossy slipcover with lightly embossed lettering. All these packages are beamed with tons of bonus features, including 2.5 hours of new bonus content, that would keep me delightfully entertained for hours.
In the United States, there is an Amazon.com exclusive Collector’s Edition box set, consisting of 2 3D blu ray discs and 2 2D blu ray discs, plus souvenir book, passenger dossier, sketch postcards, etc., housed in a big box, resembling the RMS Titanic. By the time one pays shipping and custom duty, the final cost will be around US$100….a little too steep for even frivolous spender like myself. Now, it is even out of stock on Amazon.com. I did enquire at Amazon.ca, but was politely told that this will not be available in Canada. Too bad!
Titanic (2D) splashes onto blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.35:1 encode. It was the same ratio as in the theatrical run. James Cameron also took great care in restoring this classic to its original glory. There is simply no comparison to all previous releases. In 2D version, the video filling up the entire screen (2.35:1), making the final result much more spectacular and more alive.
This high-def video is richly saturated with a wide range display of colours, from lush, vibrant primaries and warm, full-bodied secondary hues which bring Russell Carpenter's cinematography to life. Facial complexions appear natural with astounding lifelike textures. Contrast is pitch-perfect with crisp, brilliant whites that add for some highly impressive moments of clarity while black levels remain luxurious and sumptuous with deep penetrating shadows. Definition is razor-sharp and highly-detailed, allowing audiences to fully appreciate the tremendous amount of work and time that was put into the film's making. One can tell simply by just watching how sharp the word title Titanic on the screen is. One can also clearly make out the individual stitching and threading of the costumes, practically count each rivet holding the ship together, scrutinize the detailed, ornate woodwork of the grand staircase, and be amazed by the intricate details of the decorations on walls. The whole presentation really gives a completely refreshingly new video presentation on home video. (5+/5)
Titanic 2D comes with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless tracks. I am very familiar with James Horner’s amazing soundtrack. I even bought and enjoyed the recent 4 CD release of the Titanic soundtrack. (my review elsewhere). It starts off very subtle and understated, but it grows with the narrative into something quite spectacular and engaging. It's as if deliberately broken into two parts, much like the story itself, between a guided tour of the ship and its thrilling sinking.
For the first half, the movie is very front-heavy, with voices very detailed and precise in the center, and channel separation is well-balanced. For the second half, the entire sound system suddenly comes alive with thrills and excitement, beginning with some mild directionality soon after the ship crashes with the iceberg. When the ship starts to take in lots of water, the rears display the loud cracks of wood and the bending of steel with enthralling discrete clarity. In the final moments, the screams of people, the splashing of watering and the death moans of the "Ship of Dreams" fills the entire room and envelopes the listening area.
This first half of the film is an interestingly restrained design, but the second half offers an engrossing aural experience. Of course, hearing our Celine Dion singing the heart-wrenching My Heart Will Go On is like icing on the cake, bringing this wonderful soundtrack to its conclusion. (5/5)
In 1998, Titanic won 11 Oscars:
01 Best Picture (James Cameron, Jon Landau)
02 Best Director (James Cameron)
03 Best Cinematography (Russell Carpenter)
04 Best Music Score (James Horner)
05 Best Original Song (James Horner and Will Jennings) for My Heart Will Go On
06 Best Art Direction
07 Best Costume Design (Deborah Lynn Scott)
08 Best Sound Effects Editing
09 Best Visual Effects
10 Best Film Editing
11 Best Sound
Titanic was also nominated for 3 Oscars:
01 Best Actress (Kate Winslet)
02 Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Stuart)
03 Best Make-Up
Titanic has an estimated budget of $200 million, and it grossed worldwide $2,185 million, second only to James Cameron’s own Avatar ($2,781 million).
A very strange anomaly exists in choosing which versions of Titanic (blu ray):
1) 3D Four disc combo (I bought it for $27.99, but now the price has gone back up to $32.99)
2) Four disc 2D combo (under Titanic blu ray) the current price is $21.99.
3) Two disc 2D (Blu ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo) the current price is the highest of all, even more expensive than the 3D at $35.99! Crazy!
From the above comparison, if you are interested in the 2D version, the four disc version (under simply Titanic blu ray) with the cheapest price is the one to choose.
I still remember the first time when Titanic opened in theatres in Toronto, at the time when theatres in Toronto started Big Picture, Big Sound. This is one of the few pictures that I went to the Coloseum in Mississauga to watch this twice, and cried every time. I am so grateful that this high definition transfer is top-notched and did not disappoint at all. James Horner’s soundtrack of course is also fantastic, and with a clear dialogue, bringing us deeper into this Ship of Dreams. Tears will simply be overflowing when Dicaprio finished his heart-warming dialogue to Winslet, and then sank deep into the ocean bottom. The whole story is very simple, but very effective and touching.
I have both the 3D and 2D versions. Although the 3D version is more immersive, the 2D four disc set with a wider screen is still my preferred choice. This set also comes with the standard DVD in 2 discs too (not available in the 3D set). As noted above, please choose wisely, so that you don’t end up with only 2 discs, but at a higher price. The above set is definitely very highly recommended, and is a must-own. I hope the Collector’s box set will eventually be available on Amazon.ca…I wish!
I hope the above review is helpful to you.