Titanic 3D plays on fascination with 1912 sinking

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster on April 15, the movie that exposed a generation to the tale is back in theatres, this time in 3D.

As the anniversary of the Titanic disaster approaches next week, the movie of the same name that exposed a generation to the tale is back in theatres, this time in 3D.

Canadian director James Cameron spent $18 million to bring 3D to the 1997 blockbuster in a conversion process he hopes will make the film look as if it were shot in 3D.

His goal is to bring audiences back into cinemas to see his Oscar-winning film on the big screen, the way he intended it to be seen.

The romance between Jack and Rose – played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet – was one of the big lures of Titanic.

But this film, and its re-release, also plays on fascination with the story of the great cruise liner, which sank in the Atlantic off Newfoundland on April 15, 1912.

Cameron was obsessed with getting the appearance of the ship right in the film, using knowledge he had gained by diving onto the wreck.

Hugh Brewster, a Toronto author who has written books about the Titanic, says Cameron got many details right, except the part the story hinges on.

"It’s highly unlikely that a boy from third class would climb up to first class and have an affair with a girl in first class, but the romance was one of the most important parts of the movie," Brewster told CBC News.

Most of the third-class passengers on the Titanic lost their lives – as most of the lifeboats were gone by the time they were alerted that the ship was sinking. A total of 1,514 people died when the White Star liner went down.

A new museum opening April 10 in Southampton, in the U.K., is focusing attention on the disaster, with artifacts from the ship and exhibits about the doomed liner.

The Titanic’s maiden voyage began in Southampton and many of the seamen who lost their lives were from the port city.

Southhampton’s SeaCity Museum also will reflect on how the world has reported, retold and sometimes become utterly fixated on the Titanic story.

 A world map at the museum charts some of the 1,160 Titanic memorials spread across 34 countries, including India, Croatia and Russia. It will also show clips from some of the numerous movies featuring the sinking, from 1912's In Night and Ice, a 1912 silent, to Cameron’s Titanic.