The Titanic Debate is Over: James Cameron Admits Jack Could Have Survived

The Titanic Debate is Over: James Cameron Admits Jack Could Have Survived
Image credit: Legion-Media

There is a quarter-century-old debate about James Cameron's Titanic: could Jack have survived in the end?

In fact, one of the barbs shot at the film hinge on the premise that his Jack's death was stupid and a case of drama for the sake of drama.

Well, strictly realistically both Jack and Rose should have perished with the events of the movie proceeding as they were.

Plunging into below zero-temperature water tends to incapacitate and kill human beings within minutes, and floating on a thin plank of wood in the freezing northern night for hours after that also does not improve one's health, so in reality the number of those who survived sinking of Titanic outside of lifeboats was zero.

But in any case, James Cameron decided to take action and settle the debate, at least within the confines of his movie's accepted break from reality, as we can see in a sneak peek for the upcoming National Geographic special Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron.

And he approached the process quite scientifically – he used two costumed stunt doubles, a cold water pool, a fake door, and a whole lot of shivering to reproduce the scene from the movie.

As you can see, just like MythBusters told us before, simply trying to get on the door together would not have worked: while it would not have sunk completely, it would have submerged deeper into the water, exposing both Jack and Rose to (more of) deadly cold.

Then, after a couple of attempts the stunt performers managed to find a position on the door, in which both of their upper bodies were out of the water, keeping their vital organs relatively protected.

"Projecting it out, he could have made it pretty long. Like hours," Cameron said.

So theoretically – and, again, accepting that just being mostly out of water could save you in such a situation, which in reality, it could not – Jack had a chance of survival.

But it was a very long shot. Note that it took stunt doubles multiple tries before they figured out a relatively safe arrangement. Amidst the Atlantic, you don't multiple tries.

As the conclusion was: "Jack might have lived, but there's a lot of variables. I think his thought process was 'I'm not gonna do one thing that jeopardizes her.' And that's 100% in character."