James Cameron settles ‘Titanic’ raft debate (again)

Maybe his heart goes on?

Titanic director James Cameron finally conceded that Jack “might” have survived the cruise ship sinking if he had shared Rose’s makeshift raft, ending a decades-long debate among some fans of the 1997 blockbuster film.

Moviegoers have long been angered by the emotional final moments of the 11-time Oscar-winning film, when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character sacrifices himself to freezing waters (and hypothermia) to protect his lover, played by Kate Winslet.

Viewers have long believed that Jack didn’t have to die in Cameron’s fictional retelling of the 1912 tragedy.

Haunted by the widely held theory, the film’s writer, director and producer put it to the test for an upcoming NatGeo special, Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron, which recruited scientists and stuntmen to simulate the conditions , who ended the life of his iconic cruise passenger. (Cameron previously hosted a similar special for the network for the film’s 20th anniversary.)

A man bends over a pool where two stunt people sit on a floating door.

In Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron, director Josh Bird and Kristine Zipfel visit during a test on the effects of hypothermia.

(Spencer Stoner/National Geographic)

The hypothesis has been tested before, notably on a 2012 episode of Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters,” but it’s the first time the seminal “Avatar” filmmaker has done it himself.

The NatGeo special sees Cameron re-enacting the controversial scene in a lab pool setting, also conferring with a hypothermia expert. In a clip from the special, which aired Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Cameron and his team test out various positions and permutations that could help Jack get out alive — particularly with Rose abandoning some properties on the rubble , which she used to stay afloat over the freezing cold water.

“Out of the water, with violent shaking helping him. He could have made it… quite a long time. Like hours,” says the special effects maestro of an outcome, provided the characters weren’t exhausted by hours of freezing shipwreck.

Another scenario, taking into account the physical strain endured by the main characters after their ship hit a glacier, and Rose also offering Jack her life jacket for isolation, eventually led Cameron to believe that Jack might have had a chance to survive.

“He’s stabilized, he’s gotten to a point where he might have made it if we had projected that,” adds the director. “Jack may have survived. But there are many variables. I think his thought process was, ‘I’m not going to do anything that will endanger her [survival],’ and that has 100% character.”

Cameron alluded to the experiment last December, telling the Toronto Sun he also had forensic analysis done on a replicated version of the famous moment, noting that he wanted to end the debate “and put a stake in it once and for all.” heart.” But he insisted at the time that Jack probably wouldn’t have survived.

Ahead of the Titanic remastered release next week, Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron will air Sunday on NatGeo and stream on Hulu starting Monday.

The special also includes the story of how the long-lost ship was found, historical questions surrounding its sinking, and debates about whether additional lifeboats on board would have saved more lives.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2023-02-03/james-cameron-titanic-raft-debate-natgeo-special James Cameron settles ‘Titanic’ raft debate (again)

Sarah Ridley

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