Neil DeGrasse Tyson insists 'Titanic' character Jack would not have drowned so easily in real life
Titanic caused a stir when it hit theaters in 1997, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time - a title it held until Avatar was released 12 years later. Seeing as it was also nominated for 14 Academy Awards (and won eleven of them), you can say for certain that this is one of the most popular movies ever made. It spawned plenty of copycats in the romance-disaster movie niche, but nothing quite lived up to the tragic tale of Rose and Jack.
It's with a fan following as huge as this that has kept the conversation about the film going for twenty years (yep, it's been that long). A key debate that many return to again and again is the final scene with Kate Winslet's Rose DeWitt Bukater and Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack Dawson. Namely - was there enough room on that floating door for both of them to survive the icy water?
As a kid who wasn't particularly interested in the movie at the time, I remember finding it odd that Rose's "I'll never let go, Jack" was immediately followed up by her letting go. The metaphor flew right over my head I later found out. But people take issue with the scene for a very different reason, even going as far as to use scientific analysis to figure out how much weight the floating debris could have held.
Now, the internet's favourite astrophysicist has let us know exactly what he thinks doesn't work about the scene. It's not the first time Neil Degrasse Tyson has done something like this, as you can frequently find him pointing out the shoddy science in blockbusters on his Twitter feed. This time, he insists that the scene would have worked out differently due to human nature.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, the 59-year-old host of StarTalk claimed that Jack's survival instincts would have lead to a greater effort to get on board:
"Whether or not he could've been successful, I would've tried more than once. You [don't] try once, [and think], "Oh, this is not gonna work. I will just freeze to death in the water
"The survival instinct is way stronger than that in everybody, especially in that character. He's a survivor, right? He gets through. He gets by."
To be fair, I think a scene in which Jack desperately scrambled on board several times would have made his sacrifice seem a lot less heroic and romantic than the final version did, so it's probably best it turned out this way. Tyson also pointed out that if Jack had the same skills as Matt Damon's in The Martian, a lot of lives could have been saved. He "would have made an outboard motor and saved everybody," Tyson joked, "This is how science can help you!"
Tyson will get to share his feelings with the director in person soon, as James Cameron will be appearing on an episode of Tyson's show StarTalk in its next season, set to air late in October. Cameron has addressed the debate before, saying that "Jack gets off the board and gives his place to her so that she can survive. It's that simple".
What do you think? Should Rose have moved over and made some room for her doomed lover? And did Jack give up way too easily? Either way, apparently DiCaprio and Winslet are still "very, very close" according to the actress, which you can read about here.