OK Titanic Fans, YouTube video essayists, and “Let’s Debate This” beckon Hinge users everywhere: It’s time to put this one to rest once and for all. From the mouth of James Cameron himself, Jack might, might have survived his watery grave at the end of Titanic. But there are still, according to the director, “a lot of variables” to take into account. And no, he couldn’t have just walked in the door with Rose.
Cameron weighed in on the quarter century debate for the next National Geographic special Titanic: 25 years later with James Cameron, which celebrates the anniversary of the film. In a preview, Cameron walks the audience through a highly scientific test involving two costumed stuntmen, one (hopefully above freezing)) pool, a fake door, and lots of simulated thrills.
Cameron and the stuntmen performed three tests. In the first, the two actors are simply trying to get through the door. As expected, it doesn’t work. (Sorry Hinge prompt users, but MythBusters told us six years ago.) With Jack and Rose at the door, he would have dived further into the water, exposing both to deadly freezing temperatures. Not quite the happy ending fans have been asking for.
Then the stunt performers find a position where their upper body is out of the water, protecting their vital organs. “By projecting it, he could have done it long enough. Like hours,” Cameron says. Promising, but it’s important to remember that Jack and Rose ran and fought to stay afloat in the water for hours before this. Given the fatigue, they might not have been able to maintain these positions for the time it would take the lifeboats to arrive.
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Finally, a helpful diver holds the performer playing Rose underwater and very gently lets the performer playing Jack splash him in the face several times to simulate the exhaustion the characters might have endured. In this test, Rose also gives Jack her life jacket because he can’t stop shivering. “He’s stabilized. It got to a place where, if we had projected it, it might have made it until the lifeboat arrived,” Cameron says.
The final verdict? “Jack may have lived, but there are a lot of variables. I think her thought process was “I won’t do anything to endanger her”. And it’s 100% in character.
So here it is, friends. Either die a romantic hero or live long enough to steal your girlfriend’s life jacket. Now can we finally, ultimately let this debate die? (Too early?)
Titanic: 25 years later with James Cameron broadcast February 5 on the National Geographic Channel.