An ongoing debate: the lasting impact an ending can have

Cooper Lewis ‘26, Sports Editor

Twenty-Five years ago, director James Cameron released a movie that has sparked a debate that has lasted to this day. The movie in question is Titanic—the current highest grossing film of 1997, and arguably Cameron’s most popular film. 

For those who do not know, the Titanic was a ship which infamously sank after striking an iceberg in 1912, resulting in a large death toll. Cameron’s film about the incident follows two main characters, Jack and Rose, as they fall in love and struggle to survive the horrific sinking. It is the ending of the film, though, that has created this debate; after the ship has fully sunk, Jack locates a floating door and helps Rose climb onto it. However, the door, is seemingly only large enough for one. Due to his love and utmost loyalty to Rose, Jack decides to sacrifice himself and freezes to death in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Since the film’s release in December of 1997, many viewers have debated whether or not Jack could have fit on the door beside Rose. There are even some who have stepped in to state their input on the debate, including the creators of Mythbusters, who, in 2012, released an episode experimenting whether or not there was enough room for two people on the door. The two hosts of Mythbusters took a door of roughly the same size, and tried to float on it with the two of them on it together. Their experiment concluded with the fact that, yes, two individuals could have fit, but Cameron, who made a cameo appearance in that episode, disagreed. In which he stated, “The script says Jack dies, he has to die.” 

Now, this has been Cameron’s go-to response every time the question has been brought up. His excuse for response will not hold out forever, though, and it seems like the famous director wants to put the debate to rest once and for all.

Recently, Cameron told The Toronto Sun, “We have done a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart once and for all.” Cameron and his team hired hypothermia experts and recreated the same door as seen in the movie. Cameron elaborated more, saying. “We took two stunt people who were the same body mass as Kate Winslet and Leonardo DeCaprio and we put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water, and we tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods, and the answer was, there was no way they could both survive. Only one could.”
It is quite clear that Cameron himself believes that Jack had to die, and that there was no way of avoiding it. But, still, people have never been pleased with Cameron’s dismissive response, and have never wanted to accept that as the final answer. However, now that science is involved, people may just have to.

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