‘Titanic’ Makes My Heart Go On

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

When I think of late 90s cinema, there are dozens of movies that come to mind. We have American Beauty (1999), The Sixth Sense (1999), Good Will Hunting (1997), Clueless (1995), and so many others that quickly became classics. For me, however, none touched me quite as much as Titanic (1997).

Titanic is a movie that nearly everyone knows about as most grew up having seen it once or twice. Maybe they’ve even heard about its impressive eleven academy award wins at the 1998 Oscars. No matter how one may have heard of it, it’s a movie that’s touched the hearts and minds of everybody.

Given that everybody knows what the film is about, I’ll keep the summary brief. When poor Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and recently engaged Rose Bukater (Kate Winslet) meet aboard the RMS Titanic, they find love in one another. They build a relationship beyond anything many have seen, but realize sometimes love doesn’t last as long as you may like it to. In their case, however, it wasn’t a break-up that brought this realization.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic was the climax of this movie, and showed – practically in real time – the sinking of the ship and the drowning of the lives on board. Director James Cameron knew how to capture this emotional tragedy and make it so the audience doesn’t even care about its running time (194 minutes).

Titanic 1
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Everything about this movie was astonishing to me and millions would agree. Being able to witness such stellar performances by DiCaprio and Winslet (as well as such notable names as Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, and Frances Fisher) under equally beautiful writing makes any moviegoer fill with joyful tears from beginning to end.

It doesn’t happen often in modern cinema that you see a cast of actors and actresses who are all so individually dedicated to their roles. It was obvious that each wanted to portray their characters with the seriousness that those on the real Titanic would’ve maintained.

Much of this is due to the main man himself, James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens). People are no stranger to the work of Cameron, as he had already released Aliens in 1986, eleven years prior to Titanic.

Not everyone was too confident in him for Titanic (given that the budget was incredibly high – the highest of any movie in history at the time – and that most thought it would be “just another romance flick”), and many lost faith before it had even been released. That concept in itself is a marvel to me given its brilliant reception and continued adoration today.

It’s not doing Titanic justice by calling it a brilliant historical adaptation, when it felt like so much more. It was a near spiritual awakening for most who watched it, whether you’ve seen it once, twice, or two dozen times.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

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How CGI and a Bad Love Story Ruined ‘Ready Player One’

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

A few weeks ago my fellow BFS writer, Anthony Peyton, wrote a review on the new film Ready Player One. If you haven’t read it yet go check it out! In Anthony’s review he praised Ready Player One for its special effects and love story subplot, and criticized its quite mediocre acting and main plotline. While I agree with him about the acting and plotline, I definitely have some varying opinions on the special effects and love story.

Ready Player One follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) as he sets out on this Easter egg hunt to win half a trillion dollars and sole proprietorship of a virtual reality world called the “Oasis”. It also has a subplot where Wade falls in love with Samantha Cook (Olivia Cooke) who is determined to win this Easter egg hunt.

My main issue with this film was the special effects. Obviously, they are all CGI and even though I am not the biggest fan of CGI, sometimes it can work. In Ready Player One, however, those special effects really didn’t work and very much distracted from the story.

The majority of the film takes place in the “Oasis”. I know that this was technically a video game and the whole concept is that you can be whatever you want to be, but isn’t the whole point of virtual reality that it at least looks somewhat real? Because the way the main characters’ avatars in the “Oasis” were done just looked so off to me. Mainly because there was this weird grid inside of them which looked almost like the animation wasn’t finished.

I think it would have been much more interesting, and easier to watch, if they had put people in suits and done practical effects. Similar to how they used dinosaur suits in another Steven Spielberg film, Jurassic Park.

Now on to why I hated the love story, and let me preface this with all of my criticisms of the plot are based solely on the film and not the book by Ernest Cline (which I have heard is very good and very different from the film). The love story didn’t work for me mostly because I didn’t really care about Sheridan or Cooke’s characters due to their lackluster acting. However, I also felt that the whole progression of their story was so cliché and predictable I just couldn’t get behind it. Not to mention that they would always choose the most inopportune times to feed their budding love, such as when they almost kiss very shortly after a tragedy happens when Wade is targeted by an evil CEO because he is winning the game (I won’t spoil what that tragedy is).

My other main criticism of this film is it did not address the state of the real world nearly enough. It barely explains how bad of a place the real world has become, and doesn’t really emphasize the fact that the “Oasis” is so important because people want to escape their real lives. It also neglects to emphasize one key part of the story which is how bad corporate corruption is.

Ready Player One did not work in many ways, including a disjointed and poorly put together main plotline, subplot, bad special effects, and mediocre acting. All of these things put together had me cringing and rolling my eyes the whole way through.


My Rating: 44%

Acting: 2/4

Cinematography:1/4

Story: 2/4

Enjoyability: 2/4

 

‘Ready Player One’: Throwbacks, Action, (Slightly Mediocre) Acting, Oh My!

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Welcome to the significantly more intense and highly anticipated Wreck-it Ralph/Tron remix that is Ready Player One. A movie that can only be described by asking you to picture the Iron Giant – yes, the one from the 1999 movie – in an all out war against Godzilla.

Can you picture it? Good.

In Steven Spielberg’s newest movie based off of the highly acclaimed novel by Ernest Cline, we get to live in the world of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) as he navigates through a crazy complicated Easter egg hunt – which somehow managed to involve King Kong jumping off a building attempting to destroy a DeLorean complete with a flux capacitor – that only took half of the movie to explain.

This was an Easter egg hunt for half a trillion dollars and the sole proprietorship of a video game world called the “Oasis”, given that it’s the only sane place for the majority of people in a post factory apocalypse world. It was created by a slightly senile man by the name of James Halliday (Mark Rylance) who does a good job of showing up at very odd but convenient times throughout the movie.

Sheridan stars alongside Olivia Cooke (Thoroughbreds), who plays Samantha Cook, a slightly self conscious in real life but confident in the Oasis girl, whom is also aiming to win the hunt.

As the first thirty-ish minutes of the movie comes and goes, it becomes pretty obvious that this is no one’s best performance. Cooke is unbearably monotone during certain points in the movie where a little emotion would’ve furthered the character. Sheridan’s performance equals that of X-Men, which may or may not be a good thing.

Take it as you will.

On top of the slightly mediocre acting, the camera angles and special effects towards the beginning of the film can be nauseating and rather jam-packed with the many references you want to scream at (it actually zooms in on Minecraft World before the camera does a 360 degree flip into a space fight). Fortunately, this didn’t manage to bring down the style of the production design and clearly thought out cinematography that was put into the film as a whole.

Aside from these aspects, the actual plot left something to be desired. As aforementioned, the description of the Easter egg hunt by James Halliday was very complex and took half of the movie to fully explain, although it did have a very interesting opening scene that described the  bare minimum of rules – or the lack of them – in the game.

The subplot of Ready Player One actually did better than most movies usually do. This one was very much the classic cliche love story, but it directly connected to the main plot that not many can successfully do nowadays and actually make it look good.

As an audience member, I was more connected to the actual story of the subplot rather than the main plotline. Now, if we are talking about special effects…. Then oh boy did that main storyline have some great effects. You tell me that seeing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the entire character cast of Halo in the same scene isn’t absolutely iconic.

All in all, Ready Player One is simply a movie to enjoy. To see hundreds of fan-favorite characters from movies, video games, and TV shows all over the course of two hours might be a dream to someone, but trashy to another. This movie packed the references, but did it well. With special effects and the beautiful set, it becomes almost easy to look past the acting and the storyline.


My Rating: 84%

Acting: 2.9/4

Cinematography: 3.6/4

Story: 3.1/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4