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by Dartagnan Fletcher


All the fanfare surrounding James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Titanic was rubbing this reviewer the wrong way. When Titanic had first been released I’d resisted seeing it because, to be frank, I just didn’t feel like watching 1,500 people drown. I was even more turned off when I heard James Cameron accept his Academy Award for Best Direction: “Tonight I’m the king of the world”. “How arrogant can a person be?” I wondered. The next day at my desk at the newspaper, I jotted down ten reasons why I shouldn’t have to see Titanic and write a review of it, all of which I eventually threw away when my wife dragged me to the picture. It’s a good thing she did. Arrogance aside, Cameron, director of many well-known movies, including Terminator I and II and True Lies, has done it again. I was quite pleasantly surprised. My advice to you is this: Go and see it. Anyone interested in cinema should experience this film.

Titanic, said to have cost at least $200 million to make, is well on its way to becoming the highest –grossing movie of all time. Before seeing the picture I was aware that many people have gone back again and again to see it, and I wondered why. “It must be because of the special effects,” I said to myself. There’s much more to Titanic than special effects, however. What really makes the picture work is the story-within-the-story framework. As the film opens, we focus on a modern-day treasure hunter who has mounted an expedition in which divers will attempt to recover a famous and very valuable necklace reported to have gone down with the Titanic when it sank on April 16, 1912. The expedition just happens to be televised, and the telecast just happens to be watched by a 101-year-old woman who not only was on the Titanic but who has the necklace. Before we know it, the woman and her granddaughter have joined the expedition, at which time they proceed to tell everyone what it was really like the night of the disaster. Once the old lady begins telling her tale, the film proceeds in flashbacks of her recollections.

One of Titanic’s strengths is its full panoply of actors, most of whom distinguish themselves. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jack Dawson, the young man on the ship who meets and rescues Rose DeWitt Bukater (a young woman played by Kate Winslett) from an impending marriage about which she is despairing. There’s an interesting chemistry between DiCaprio and Winslett. Gloria Stewart does a wonderful job of playing Winslett;s character at the age of 101. Particularly effective is Kathy Bates, who plays the role of Molly Brown of unsinkable Molly Brown fame. But the real standout for this reviewer is Billy Zane, who plays to perfection the role of Rose’s incredibly arrogant and stuffy fiancé whom, of course, Rose does not marry in the end.

Watching a movie like this, one is faced with the inevitable question that has been asked many times: Is it more suspenseful to know the end of a story or not to know the end of it? I come down on the side of the former. We all know what happened when the Titanic sank: 1,500 people died. Somehow, knowing the outcome makes the suspense greater. Once we have gotten to know the characters, our knowledge of their ultimate fate makes the experience of watching their story play out all the more poignant. Still, if you’re James Cameron making a blockbuster movie, the fact remains that 1,500 people died in the disaster, in which case you’ve got to figure out how not to make the film a downer. I mean, you can’t just end it with 1,500 dead people slipping beneath the water, can you? Cameron had to find a way to end Titanic in an uplifting fashion, and he did. I’ll leave it to you to find out how he does it.

By the way, I must assure my readers that I will not be a member of that group responsible for destroying the pleasure of many moviegoers by divulging the secret of what happens to the necklace. Find out for yourself by going and seeing the movie. Rumor has it, though, that with Titanic’s reissue, the lines to get in are long, in which case you might want to take along a sleeping bag and a picnic lunch. The wait will be worth it. Rating: 3 ½ stars out a possible **** .


B. Understanding meaning from context.

Circle the letter of the choice closest in meaning to the italicized word or expression from the reading.


  1. All the fanfare surrounding James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Titanic was rubbing this reviewer the wrong way.

a. confusion b. celebration c. music

  1. All the fanfare surrounding James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Titanic was rubbing this reviewer the wrong way.

a. irritating this reviewer b. helping this reviewer c. puzzling this reviewer

  1. One of Titanic’s strengths is its full panoply of actors …

a. collection b. impressive arrangement c. acting ability

  1. Billy Zane … plays to perfection the role of Roses’s incredibly arrogant and stuffy fiancé ...

a. interesting b. boring c. intelligent

  1. Once we have gotten to know the characters, our knowledge of their ultimate fate makes the experience of watching their story play out all the more poignant.

a. annoying b. difficult to comprehend c. emotionally powerful



C. Complete the following statements about movies, writing adjective clauses in the form quantifier + preposition + relative pronoun.


  1. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover; both of whom starred in the Lethal Weapon movies

(both /star / in the Lethal Weapon movies) also acted together in Maverick.

  1. Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton ______________________________

(all / have /play /the role of James Bond) come from Britain, while Pierce Brosnan, the newest Bond, is Irish.

  1. Stars Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi,________________________, are the middle three films in a projected nine-part series.

(all /have /earn /over $100 million)

4. Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s list, _____________________________________, (both / directed / by Steven Spielberg) have been critical as well as financial successes.

5. Walt Disney’s animated productions, ______________________________, (most /be/ loved by children) are known worldwide.

6. Roberto Benigni and Wim Wenders,__________________________(neither /be/very /very well-known to mass American audiences) are both highly regarded European film directors.


D. Movie Genres. Combine each pair of sentences about types of movies into a single sentence with an adjective clause or phrase.


  1. Many recent science fiction films have been huge financial successes. They include Jurassic Park, Independence Day, and Men in Black.
  2. Many recent science fiction films, including Jurassic Park, Independence Day, and Men in Black have been huge financial successes.
  3. Comedies have continued to be extremely popular and very successful financially. Recent examples of them are There’s Something about Mary, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Liar, Liar.
  4. Musical animated films have also become very popular. They include The Lion King, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  5. It looks as though sequels to big movie hits may lose their appeal. In that case, moviemakers will be forced to become more creative.


E. Editing. Read and correct the ten errors involving adjective clauses and phrases. Delete verbs or change relative pronouns where necessary, but do not change punctuation or add relative pronouns.


Date: 2015-02-03; view: 561

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