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How Has James Cameron Presented And Adapted The True Story Of The Titanic?

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GCSE Media Assignment- Titanic

How has James Cameron presented and adapted the true story of the Titanic?

In the 1997 the blockbuster movie 'Titanic' directed by James Cameron the story is told of the R.M.S Titanic's ill-fated maiden voyage on which over 1500 men, women and children tragically lost their lives in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean

The director's presentation of the true facts from the Titanic disaster are impeccable. This was achieved by building a 2/3rds size model of the Titanic (viewed from the side) on location in Mexico.

The scenes towards the latter stages of the film portraying the ships dramatic plunge into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean have gone down in cinematic history as a both visually gripping and tragically depicted end to the ships short career.

Subtle touches James Cameron added here and there helped to rivet the viewer to their seats, (Although poor quality rivets and brittle iron make up of the hull's construction led to its downfall) the raw emotions emanating from each and every scene captured the audience's imagination, and drew them so close to the action that they felt as if they were actually a part of it.

But James Cameron did not just want to settle for an exhilarating action movie. He risked the entire films success by making the central theme to the movie a love story. This love story took place between two young passengers onboard- Jack Dawson, who won his ticket to the Titanic in a lucky hand of poker, and Rose de Witt Bukater, the unhappy fiancйe of a wealthy American steel mill owner. This piece of fiction was critical to the films success, as everyone already knows the main storyline and ending before the film actually begins. To rely on this as the basis of the screenplay could have led to the film sinking like the Titanic itself.

But of course, like all other cinematic adaptations, the true story of the Titanic was altered and visually enhanced to make the film more appealing to a wider audience. These touches from James Cameron would turn the film from a potential box office flop into an unmissable epic. Many previous grand productions had spent a fortune in making the film, only for it to fail miserably at the box office. This is why James Cameron knew he had to come up with something different.

The main fictional aspect of the film was the love story between Jack and Rose, two people who never actually travelled on the Titanic, or even existed. James Cameron envisaged the entire concept of this love story during pre-production, and uses the idea to manipulate the audience throughout the entire film. Character development in the film was vital, as this led the audience to care for what actually happened to these people. The death of 1500 people was tragic but without key characters the audience feels no strong connection to what happens in the film.

To make this connection even more effective, he uses a flashback and framing technique in the telling of the love story. He begins the story in the present day for the starting proportion of the film. He then uses a flashback sequence to 1912 for the majority of the rest, and then cuts back to the present day for the concluding part of the film. He also visits the present day a few times briefly during the main chunk of the movie set in 1912, to make important links between the two different aged 'Roses'.

The first 25 minutes of the film are shot entirely in the present day. The 'old Rose' is shown as a feeble old woman who is being flown out to help a deep-sea recovery team in the finding of a priceless diamond necklace. A drawing recovered from the ship of Rose by her lover Jack is shown to the 'old Rose.' The emotions shown by the actress playing her on the sight of this picture conveys highly effectively to the audience. It makes you feel a certain sorrow for her, and attaches you to her, and her story for the rest of the film.

This brings the connection with the characters closer to the viewer, as there is a direct link from the tragedy to the present day, and makes the viewer understand that this story is not only very real but still relevant to some people still alive today. This link draws the audience into the world of Jack and Rose. This was the desired effect of James Cameron, as it makes the film seem much more realistic, and appeals to the audience much more because of this.

After the opening scenes in the present, the director then cuts to the flashback sequence, in which the story of Jack, Rose and the maiden voyage of the 'unsinkable' ocean liner Titanic begins.

James Cameron decided that this sequence would be narrated by the 'old Rose.' This again adds more effect to her story as it adds yet more credence to the entire flashback sequence.

James Cameron helped to add even more credibility and reality to the story of

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