Titanic (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

It feels a movie of Titanic’s fame, fortune and history would be a title that releases quicker to each new home video format. However, they come from a filmmaker who cares about his home video releases and its gotta go by him when he’s ready and free. That filmmaker is James Cameron who has been busy in Avatar sequel land for a good while. Now, luckily, Titanic is kicking off a series of his films on the format over the next 4 months. You can own it on December 5th, with a new Atmos track and some special features to go along with that. You can pre-order a copy by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review at the bottom of the page.



James Cameron’s “Titanic” is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride and joy of the White Star Line and, at the time, the largest moving object ever built. She was the most luxurious liner of her era — the “ship of dreams” — which ultimately carried over 1,500 people to their death in the ice cold waters of the North Atlantic in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

In my lifetime of being a film enthusiast, I had never seen or followed anything like Titanic before. James Cameron was quickly a favorite director of mine as he’d made banger after banger with Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, T2 and True Lies. Titanic behind the scenes was an epic passion project of the likes we had never seen. It was one of the most technically advanced and one of the most expensive ever done. No matter how successful it could be, it was still likely to sink like the voyage it was portraying. In fact, there’s was a better chance it was going to be the next Heaven’s Gate, not Gone With The Wind.

On opening weekend, my top priority was to see the new James Bond film that opened up against it, Tomorrow Never Dies. They opened the same day and finished the weekend within just a couple million of one another at the box office. After a friend raved about Titanic, I saw it the next weekend (the first of multiple viewings) and it was pretty breathtaking. But then, one of the most incredible things happened, it kept going and going and going. It was a true phenomenon on pop culture in a way that I don’t think the Avatar movies or Avengers ones were. On the latter, those were quick hits and had a slew of more movies coming so they were always in the news cycle. Titanic debuted and never left the #1 spot for months on end. It was also dominating the soundtrack charts. You couldn’t escape it. People got REALLY into this thing. They all of a sudden became students of the tragedy, eager to learn all of the real life facts and stories of the ship and the people with a ticket to ride. Talk shows, TV specials, interviews, books…it was everywhere.

And because of its success on the greatest scale, becoming the biggest movie of all time financially and taking home damn near every Oscar, the hero lived long enough to see itself become the villain. I’m sure even at some point in college I probably tried to be “too cool” for it. When you like something everyone else does, you’re no longer interesting to the “cool” kids who hate everything unless nobody knows of it yet. I’ve even had someone tell me it was one of the worst movies they’ve ever seen. I’m envious of someone’s viewing habits if that is truly the case. I’m glad Manos: The Hands Of Fate has company in someone’s echelon of movie, though.

Returning to the movie now for this review, which I shared it with my children, I was taken more in awe than I had been since probably my last time seeing it (Probably over a decade ago). Its incredibly how absolutely uncompromised of a vision this is from James Cameron. While surely, many saw this as Oscar bait, I’m not sure I believe that’s true of him. He’s making a movie out of something that incredibly peaked his interest and a study of something important to him he wanted to share with the world. Everything in this is going perfectly calculated and formulating a distinct vibe, voice and experience on the highest level.

Why I say that he’s not going for Oscar bait, is that all the hallmarks of a James Cameron picture absolutely remain here at the forefront and aren’t being restrained, tamed or feel like he’s even trying to twist things for a sort of elegance and grace one might assume goes with that. The same guy who made Aliens and Terminator is very visible and loudly shouting in this movie. Its quite easy to see in the almost real time final hour of the Titanic and its sinking. The flooding halls, escape, rescue and survival are all lit, acted, written, shot and cut like Ripley saving Newt from LV-426 or Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese eeking by the clutches of the T-800. Kate Winslet’s “Rose” is very much in the mold of the James Cameron femme fatale, of which many times he’s been credited as being one of the best male writers of female characters. And its possibly on its grandest, most challenging display for him here and he knocks it straight out of the park.

“Never bet against James Cameron” truly took a hold her and became a thing with Titanic. I believe it first starts with True Lies. However, it becomes an actual fact here when Titanic rolls around. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen a film arrive and hit every aspect of your daily life in culture so big. Yes, movies have come and surpassed it financially, but there was nothing like following along with its success from week to week. Seeing it impact your friends and relatives. Everyone had seen it. Everyone was taken with it (I’m talking in general and not every single person, hipsters). In its wake, only The Dark Knight and Avatar have been as exciting to see, box office-wise, make similar journeys. Seeing my children’s reactions to it, the film still holds and whenever it returns for an anniversary milestone, I’m sure its heart will go on to find many more new admirers.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are from promotional images supplied by the studio, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail: Titanic makes its debut on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a pretty pristine display. Its a clean, elegant image that manages to capture all the color, depth and detail that makes up this gorgeous film. Care has been taken here and the image looks quite well done to my eyes. Personally, I couldn’t tell if this was the restoration for the 3D rerelease repurposed here (a la T2 on 4K) or if it was one done specifically for this release. Nonetheless, I assume most will be pleased. One of the best aspects is how well all of the digital effects hold up and are unnoticeable in the 4K upgrade.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty strong in showing both the pushback in the corridors as well as the scale of the ship and the dining halls. Motion is filmic and smooth with no issues regarding distortion during rapid action sequences.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural and really accentuate the darker depth of the unlit Titanic, nighttime on deck or the bottomless sea. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite gorgeous here, from the sunsets, to the purple hat of Rose, and all the woodwork and wallpaper seen throughout. HDR helps to both refine the image and add some good contrast and glow in the firework flares and such during the late night sinking.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are clear as day and pull of that looking through a window feel of authenticity.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Titanic’s Dolby Atmos is a fun, complimentary new experience on the 26 year old eternal classic. There is plenty of fun to be had in this mix with great balance, layering and depth. All of the additions with the advent of more channels on feel quite authentic to the film itself and feel as refined and calculated as the film itself.

Height: From above you get a lot of action that feels true to the screen. Especially in the later goings of hearing things in the pipes, people above, water falling, sparks, echoes and more.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer captures and hits with the water, destruction, gunshots, glass shattering and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: All around the room, everything is thought out and then some. Offscreen activity tracked as angles change. Rolling power as sound travels. Ambiance built to a lived in degree.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Titanic is a 2-Disc set and comes with a standard Blu-ray disc that houses all the featurettes. Also included is a redeemable digital code.


Audio Commentary

  • Director Commentary by James Cameron (2005)
  • Cast and Crew Commentary (2005)
  • Historical Commentary by Don Lynch and Ken Marschall (2005)



  • TITANIC: Stories From The Heart (HD, 35:58) – “It’s still magic” says James Cameron. He, Jon Landau and Kate Winslet give plenty of anecdotes on the creative process from the genesis, pre-production and shooting.
  • Reflections On TITANIC (HD, 1:03:46)
  • TITANIC: 25 Years Later With James Cameron (HD, 42:06) – A program that has Cameron taking in criticisms over the years of the film’s accuracies and he takes to doing more research and study to see where he may have been wrong or right. Basically, he wants to prove both Jack and Rose couldn’t have survived their floating situation.

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by James Cameron (HD, 57:28)


  • Behind-The-Scenes Presentation Hosted By Jon Landau (HD, 34:13) – Landau gives commentary over behind the scenes footage from the shoot which also includes vintage interviews and plenty of looks at visual effects and on set rehearsals, collaborations, takes and more.
  • Additional Behind The Scenes (SD, 34:54)
  • Deep-Dive Presentation Narrated By James Cameron (SD, 15:31)
  • $200,000,0001: A Ship’s Odyssey (The TITANIC Crew Video)(SD, 17:54)
  • Videomatics (SD, 3:14)
  • Visual Effects (SD, 7:46)


  • Trailer Presentation Hosted By Jon Landau (8:16) – Landau takes us through the marketing process which includes the initial “John Woo style trailer” that they kicked things off with which was all action and no love story or history. They felt it didn’t represent their movie so they butted heads with Paramount over their over 4 minute trailer that Kurt Russell said he’d pay $12 just to see again. And we get to see that trailer too.
  • Music Video “My Heart Will Go On” By Celine Dion (SD, 4:45)
  • Still Galleries (HD) – “TITANIC Scriptment By James Cameron”, “Storyboard Sequences”, “Production Artwork”, “Photographs”, “Ken Marschall’s Painting Gallery”, “Concept Posters And One Sheets” (Includes new feature “Fan Poster Art”)
  • Credits (2005)


Titanic has finally arrived on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray and does not disappoint. The new transfer and Atmos audio heighten the film to the best degrees you could ask for without being in the theater. All of the old extras are here and the new ones add even more quality and don’t feel at all like some cheap tack ons. You definitely need to see the “John Woo-style” trailer on here so as to see how crazy out of touch Paramount was intending to market this. An instant pick up at any price. Here’s to the start many of James Cameron’s demanded classics finally coming to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray.

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