It's a question that has haunted Titanic fans and critics since 1997: Did Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) really have to die at the end of the movie? Or could he and Rose (Kate Winslet) have shared the floating door? Well, wonder no more: MythBusters has the answer.
In a series of tests, MythBusters concluded that Jack and Rose could have both fit on the wooden board and survived—but only if they thought to tie Rose's lifejacket underneath to create extra buoyancy.
As director James Cameron has long touted, the weight of both Jack and Rose would have sunk the board.
In an experiment with a thermo-heated dummy, the MythBusters team determined that, in the time between the sinking of the ship and Rose's rescue, Jack’s body temperature would have dropped below 85° F. This would cause him to lose motor control and he would no longer be able to hold onto the board, thus meeting his fate at the bottom of the sea. Although Rose's body temperature would have reached the same degree, her loss of motor control would not be a concern since she was stabilized on the door. However, the show did not explain how Rose could swim over to a deceased passenger and grab his whistle in order to alert the searching officer that she was alive.
Though the MythBusters ultimately established that both Jack and Rose could have survived (if only they had thought to better utilize Rose's lifejacket!) – it was James Cameron who had the final word.
"I think you guys are missing the point here," the director joked. "The script says Jack died. He has to die. So maybe we screwed up and the board should have been a little tiny bit smaller, but the dude's goin' down."
What do you think of MythBusters' "titanic" conclusion? Comment below!