James Cameron Defends The Ending of ‘Titanic’

James Cameron is the one of the most successful filmmakers of all time. In fact, if you just look at the fact that not one, but two of his movies are the highest grossing movies of all time, one could make the argument that he is the single most successful filmmaker of all time. Almost without fail, his films are seen as events, and yet even Cameron has to deal with pretty ridiculous criticisms, not the least of which has to do with his 1998 film, Titanic.

While most recognize the film as a win, few actually seem able to overlook one key detail: that Jack died when he very well could have crawled onto that door with Rose and survived. Back in 2012, there was even a Mythbusters episode where they proved that Jack could have lived. When asked about this by The Daily Beast, Cameron likely went into a lot more detail on the subject than many were expecting.

“[Laughs] We’re gonna go there? Look, it’s very, very simple: you read page 147 of the script and it says, ‘Jack gets off the board and gives his place to her so that she can survive.’ It’s that simple. You can do all the post-analysis you want. So you’re talking about the Mythbusters episode, right? Where they sort of pop the myth?

“OK, so let’s really play that out: you’re Jack, you’re in water that’s 28 degrees, your brain is starting to get hypothermia. Mythbusters asks you to now go take off your life vest, take hers off, swim underneath this thing, attach it in some way that it won’t just wash out two minutes later—which means you’re underwater tying this thing on in 28-degree water, and that’s going to take you five to ten minutes, so by the time you come back up you’re already dead. So that wouldn’t work. His best choice was to keep his upper body out of the water and hope to get pulled out by a boat or something before he died. They’re fun guys and I loved doing that show with them, but they’re full of sh*t.”

Indeed it seems like a whole lot of jury rigging would have been necessary for their survival to be guaranteed, and when submerged under freezing water, not a whole lot of thinking would have been possible. While Mythbusters may have considered Jack’s death unnecessary, this writer thinks that assuming any one person would have thought to do that under the circumstances is unrealistic.