A Titanic small-screen 3D experience

A Titanic small-screen 3D experience

“Titanic 3D Limited Edition” Blu-ray will likely sit alongside “Avatar” as a companion demonstration disc in the homes of many Blu-ray 3D owners.

In fact, my buddy Frank in the parking booth at Santa Anita Park race track in Arcadia, Ca. told me as I passed through this week that he believes “Titanic 3D” may be the best Blu-ray 3D he has seen so far.

And it’s certainly a welcome immaculate first high-def home version of the iconic movie.

In the last couple years the Blu-ray 3D version of a film is sometimes more dynamic than the theatrical release. In fact, that was the case with James Cameron’s “Avatar.”

While the new “Titanic 3D” Blu-ray (Paramount, $54.99) doesn’t quite measure up to the impossibly giant comparison of seeing the film in IMAX 3D,  the home version offers many of the same Wow moments, particularly at about 43 minutes in, when the camera swings above Rose standing on the back railing of the ship contemplating a suicidal jump. The far more evident height, distance and depth of her precarious perch will make you more nervous and tense than ever before.

It’s the same a couple hours later when Rose and Jack are in the same location as the boat is upended and sinking vertically while other passengers are dropping to their death. These scenes are dramatically more effective in 3D.

The converted 3D by a company called StereoD also creates a noticeable improved impact from the opening moments of the modern-day sequence of the submersible exploring the sunken ship.

You’re never going to see the ship appear to come out of the screen or see chunks of the iceberg hurtling towards you. But that’s just fine.

Rather, the majority of the film subtly engages you more completely and makes you more aware of important elements you may not have noticed previously. For example, we are drawn to the hands of Rose and Jack intertwining as they spread their arms on the bow of the boat as their fingers seemingly stretch closer to us.

The 3D version of the film is spread out over two 3D discs with no special features, with audio commentaries from the 2005 edition included on the standard 2D high-def version of the movie on a single Blu-ray disc. A fourth Blu-ray disc offers the two new documentaries and other bonus features from the 2005 DVD, including dozens of deleted scenes. There  are no DVD or digital discs in this four-disc set.

There are several minutes devoted to discussing the 3D in the last of a four-part “Reflections on ‘Titanic” documentary, which also includes the rousing and even poignant live orchestra conducted by the movie’s composer James Horner at the re-premiere of the film this year at Royal Albert Hall. The mix of a children’s choir with several unique instruments and adult vocalists is a moment that even Cameron says was his most special of the evening.

The other new feature-length documentary — “Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron” — lets you eavesdrop on Cameron’s follow-up exploration with experts who literally piece together evidence to resolve unanswered mysteries about the fateful journey of the “unsinkable ship.”

The 3D version of the 1997 “Titanic” amassed an amazing $344 mil. in theaters worldwide in April. Perhaps that’s because the film feels like a refreshing throwback to an era of the movie epic that offered substantial stories of scope and substance.

The Blu-ray 3D provides that experience at your fingertips.

— By Scott Hettrick