– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Back in the late-90s, James Cameron released Titanic, and history was made. The film went on to sweep the Oscars and stand as one of the most memorable films of all time. At the time, it was unparalleled in its scope and visuals.

And yet, there is one question that always comes up in discussions. Why in the hell didn’t Rose make room for Jack on the floating door at the end of the film? Fans who don’t know what I’m talking about may remember that the closing minutes of the film end with Jack and Rose in the ice-cold water. Rose is able to climb up a floating door and stay afloat, leaving poor Jack to freeze to death minutes later.

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This is an argument that’s swept the internet for decades now. But what does the man himself, James Cameron, have to say about this? Speaking with Vanity Fair, Cameron said:

“And the answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies. Very simple. . . . Obviously it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him . . . I think it’s all kind of silly, really, that we’re having this discussion 20 years later. But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die. Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless. . . . The film is about death and separation; he had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down. It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons.”

So wait, there was no physical reason for it? Not so fast, angry commenter. If you’ll recall, the first thing the pair actually do is try to both fit on the door, but it sinks under their weight. This attention to detail wasn’t by accident.

“I was in the water with the piece of wood putting people on it for about two days getting it exactly buoyant enough so that it would support one person with full free-board, meaning that she wasn’t immersed at all in the 28 degree water so that she could survive the three hours it took until the rescue ship got there. [Jack] didn’t know that she was gonna get picked up by a lifeboat an hour later; he was dead anyway. And we very, very finely tuned it to be exactly what you see in the movie because I believed at the time, and still do, that that’s what it would have taken for one person to survive.”

So there you go! It wouldn’t have worked because the driftwood door slab wouldn’t have floated under their weight. Theory put to rest.

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SOURCE: Vanity Fair

  • Kronx

    Cameron clearly gets annoyed when people come up with suggestions, but I think he should embrace it. He should sponsor a contest for students to see who can come up with the best way Jack could have survived using appropriate materials and using science and experimentation to back them up. These are the kind of things that can get kids into science.

    • Lenin1959

      I vote for a sharknado. He gets caught in it and gets torn into pieces slowly. That would be a nice revenger for most male viewers who got dragged into this movie multiple times by their dates.

      • Kronx

        I was in the lobby waiting to go in and started playing the greatest game of Ms. Pac-man I have ever played. I looped through the fruit, saw all of the cut-scenes, and I still had two lives left… And I had to abandon it to go watch Titanic. I still get mad about that.

        • Lenin1959

          Wrong choice unless you got laid for surviving Titanic.

  • Moby85

    I can’t believe this was an issue. If Jack survived the film would have lost its gravitas and the ending wouldn’t be touching like it was. While Cameron’s quote does have some “bite” as Kronx noted before me, I understand his frustration in this case.

  • DubCheezy

    Anyone seen Futureman? They make a very funny reference to this very issue.

  • Kindofabigdeal

    Everyone knows Jack faked his death because Rose was getting too clingy. He was going to America to build his fortune, not settle down. Besides there was another love of his life, he was just looking to go to pound town during the voyage.(he doesn’t even give her his real name) He slips underwater and pops up away from Rose on his own board with a dry blanket. When he arrives at New York his gives his true Christian name…Gatsby.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.