Credit Cameron for locating that latitude-longitude spot where haunting loss intersects with sheer cinematic braggadocio. His movie may not be perfect, but visually and viscerally, it pretty well is.
But the power of Titanic didn't come from originality; it came from punching cliches across with a seldom-seen directness and sincerity that seemed pure of heart, "old-fashioned," or plain corny, depending on your perspective.
If computer-generated special effects have overpowered human-generated drama, Cameron seizes that dangerously cold technology and recasts it as dream and delirium, profoundly human in its sources and longings.
Like Kathy Bates' "unsinkable" Molly Brown, "Titanic" is unabashedly American: It's big, brash and sometimes gauche, yet also unapologetically earnest, amazing to look at and devoted to its own cause. And it knows how to win us over.
The execution is state-of-the-art and breathtaking. Titanic offers the full compass of courage and cowardice, and it stands as an achievement that truly is a night to remember at the movies.