I Love to Hate Love
Let’s play a little word association, shall we?
When I say the word, “Titanic”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
If you used the words, “Celine Dion”, “nausea”, “miserable love story”, or any combination of the aforementioned terms, or their synonyms, then you’ll probably agree with what’s going to follow.
Is there a story quite as intriguing as the Titanic? I can’t come up with an example of a greater catastrophe that was entirely self-inflicted (not counting the Cubs entire history). The unsinkable ship that sank. That’s like Tom Cruise successfully acomplishing an Impossible Mission. Can’t be done.
There are plenty of crappy love stories, so why pick on Titanic? Well, aside from it being the higest grossing movie of all time, my anger stems from the fact that it ruined a truly awesome historical moment (to clarify, this might be the only time I use the real definition of “awesome”, unlike other instances). I would suggest we release the angry mob at James Cameron’s doorstep, but he did also direct the first two Terminators so we’ll have to settle for defamation of character.
But really, did a story as epic as the Titanic really need the crutch of a love story? I didn’t see the events of Pearl Harbor, the Scottish War of Independence, or the Roman Empire relying on such cheap tactics.
Upon a recent trip to the theater, one preview that caught my eye was the upcoming movie about Amelia Earhart. Again, here’s an inspiring historical character whose story needs no additional fluff to make interesting. Hollywood had a different take. The final scenes of the trailer expose Amelia as the “lover” that she’s widely renowned as.
Admittedly I haven’t spent any significant time researching this particular heroic figure, but a quick glance at her wikipedia page shows that she was in fact married. Sorry if I come off as cold hearted, but who cares? She might have also had an enormous shoe collection; I don’t see that as being a significant addition to her biography. Without seeing the movie, and odds are because of movies like Titanic and Pearl Harbor, I won’t, I would venture to guess that the romance between Richard Gere and Hilary Swank will interfere with real issues of historical importance.
But, my skill is not as a moive critic (still trying to determine where that is actually). It’s very possible Amelia is an Oscar caliber film.
My problem is precisely that Titanic is the highest grossing film of all time. Odds are this wouldn’t be the case if Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t chasing around Kate Winslet for three gruesome hours. A movie about how our country got involved in the greatest world war isn’t interesting enough without a twisted love triangle between Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and some promiscuous nurse. The reason why plots contain highly predictable romance threads is people have an insatiable need to live vicariously through them. I think their time would be better spent on a dating website.
I guess the moral of the story is, let’s learn to separate the important from the unimportant. Over 1,500 people died onboard the Titanic. Some of those people weren’t Leonardo DiCaprio. Some of those people had normal marriages, normal kids, and normal issues. Their story isn’t any less tragic because of these factors. I know 20th Century Fox just wants to make a buck or 1.8 billion, but it’s okay to be offended when they abuse a historical moment with a sappy (crappy) love drama.
But that’s just me. I love to hate love.