James Cameron's unqualified triumph, Titanic, which spruced up an old-fashioned melodrama, gets the 3D rerelease treatment which happens to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of "the ship of dreams." One, that, although rightfully bloated, gives devoted cineastes a chance to see it where it deserves to be seen - on large-formatted or Imax screens - after hitting the box-office like a huge iceberg in late 1997.
Obviously, the "king of the world" writer/director knows how not to exploit the format or its conversion (after conventional filming) to suit the format where viewers get special golden-rimmed glasses to revisit the passion Cameron has for the mysteries lurking in the ocean (recently he's gone further in its depths for signs of alien life) that triggered a flashback tale (through Rose's now-deceased Gloria Stuart) which induced many repeat viewings because of one of its attractive leads.
The story still has enough power to resonate with those of a variety of ages, whether through the love angle between Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) of disparate class distinctions or a race for survival where someone like Rose of the first class would have more of a chance. Other supporting characters like the foppish Cal Hockley (now bald Billy Zane) and "unsinkable" Molly Brown (now Oscar-winner Kathy Bates) are recalled as well the ship's architect sympathetically by Victor Garber. But, the DiCaprio/Winslet relationship took many viewers by storm, and in 3D that aspect isn't diminished.
With the director's more formal shooting style, the editing process in a less swift cutting approach turns out to be beneficial, especially through the application of modern technology to the extended sinking sequence. When Rose uses an axe to help a handcuffed Jack (thanks to Cal's right-hand-man of a manservant played by David Warner) there's a dexterity to the process.
Also, the way Cameron accentuates the majesty of the pride of the White Star Line (which has its engines revved up too much by Capt. Smith at the request of the managing director Mr. Ismay too appease the press) from its decks to its corridors (which add to the eeriness and suspense later on some 400 miles from Nova Scotia).
More subtly comes from seeing an unhappy Rose trying to take her life early on and her beauty especially when Jack draws her with only the "heart of the ocean" on, even Jack's final descent after Rose mentions "I'll never let you go." Even the picaresque scene with Jack and Rose making the latter feeling like in flight.
Yes, for many not on the distaff side the melodrama may be a mite maudlin and strained, but Cameron's sensitivity to stereotypical, richly produced wonders and period feel still remains a moving behemoth in three dimensions in a century later.