Titanic Aesthetic Interest

563 Words3 Pages
‘Titanic is often seen as economic triumph, and is of little aesthetic, social or technological interest to the film historian’ With the distinction of being the top gross box-office hit of all time, with gross revenues of over $600,000,000[i], there is little argument against director James Cameron’s 1997 ‘blockbuster’ Titanic being an economic triumph. However, many critics were scathing of the movie. Kenneth Turan, film critic of the Los Angeles Time, dismissed it as ‘a witless counterfeit of Hollywood’s Golden Age…’[ii]. This essay shall evaluate the argument of the title by considering the movie from the perspective of various approaches to film history in turn. Aesthetic, social and technological. From this we shall derive a conclusion as to its relevant interests to the film historian. When we refer to aesthetic film history, we are considering films as an art form. The immediate problem with film history as a study of art is that what constitutes art is subjective in itself. It is very easy to dismiss Titanic as being a ‘formulaic’ Hollywood blockbuster made with the sole intent of making capital, a special effects laden epic combined with a love story. Hortense Powdermaker stated ‘Making movies must be either business or art…’[iii]. Such simplistic argument would preclude Titanic from consideration as a work of aesthetic relevance. Maltby takes a view that Hollywood combines aesthetics with business aims, in what he describes as a ‘commercial aesthetic’. As opposed to the rather straight forward view of art and business being mutually exclusive, he argues that the two are closely entangled, and movie such as Titanic are made by deliberately employing aesthetics to make money. He points towards the two distinct plots of the movie, a love story that, after about 100 of it’s 194 minutes, turns into an epic disaster movie. Thus a range of
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