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'MythBusters' Solves Lingering 'Titanic' Mystery

Did Jack really have to die?

By Corwin Neuse Oct 9, 2012 9:05AM
Fifteen years after it came out, fans, critics—and shiftless losers on the Internet with nothing better to do—still love to argue over whether Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Jack Dawson, really had to die at the end of "Titanic." Could the door/raft that kept Rose from suffering hypothermia been shared by both of them?

As it turns out, it all depends upon whom you ask. The good folks at Discovery's "MythBusters" decided to find out definitively, however, devoting an entire episode to trying to solve that riddle once and for all. Their conclusions? Well, for one thing, the film has it right in that spending an hour in freezing cold saltwater would have killed just about anybody. It's not that hypothermia alone would kill you, it's that the hypothermia would have led to loss of motor functions, and, thus, drowning. As for whether Jack and Rose could have stayed atop their makeshift raft long enough to survive till rescue, the answers are a little less clear. As per the "MythBusters," the wooden wreckage on which they were perched didn't have enough buoyancy on its own to support both their body weights. However, if they had improvised inventively with Rose's life jacket... Well, we'll let the video below, posted after the break, speak for itself...

131Comments
Oct 10, 2012 8:04AM
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In order to be the perferct male Jack had to die. He'd shown Rose love and devotion. Now he had to die before he got old enough to say to his grandkids, "Here, pull my finger." or started to clean his ears with the car keys.
Oct 10, 2012 9:34AM
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Screw Jack. TO this day I've been bothered by the fact that the old lady threw the necklace off the boat. I mean, it wasn't even hers to begin with! Those men had spent their lives looking for it, and she allows them to go empty handed. I say boo to the old lady!!! lol!
Oct 10, 2012 9:09AM
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Of course both Jack and Rose could have stayed afloat.  It's simple math and physics.  Being characters in James Cameron movies, Jack and Rose are both, at best, two dimensional.  Since they have zero depth, they also have zero volume and mass, regardless of their density.  At zero mass, you could fit an infinite number of them on the detritus without it sinking.
Oct 10, 2012 7:45AM
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I will never get these 5 minutes back...
Oct 10, 2012 9:32AM
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Of course he had to die, if he didn't there wouldn't be any love story.  You are all missing the whole point.  The movie "Titanic" is not a documentary or historical movie.  It's a story about two star-crossed lovers caught-up in the tragedy of the sinking of the most famous ship in history.  It's not about myths, They could have jumped off the boat and swam for a life boat or gathered armfuls of life preservers!  There's a million ways that the writers could have saved Jack.  But the story is about a lost love and the inspiration Jack gave Rose for her to go on and have a full life., he was telling her she should have the life he could never have given her.  He was basically a loser, a drifter, a ner' do well.  He said that at the first class dinner he attended.  He would never have made a decent life for them if he survived.  So Jack dies, she marries well, flew planes, traveled the world and had kids.  From a practical standpoint if  they both survived they would have been spotted on the rescue boat, whereas Rose hid herself from Cal and he assumed that she had perished.  Also, if Jack had lived there never would have been the final scene where Old Rose dies in bed and her spirit is reunited with Jack on the Grand Staircase.  That final scene is one of the most dramatic and emotional scenes in movie history.  The likes of which are akin to the final scene in GWTW and Casablanca.
Oct 10, 2012 9:42AM
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If Rose had just gotten in the lifeboat when she had the chance, Jack would have had the raft all to himself. So, it's all Rose's fault.
Oct 10, 2012 7:47AM
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I'm just waiting for the Mythbusters that proves that its impossible to hit an exhaust port thats only two meters wide, even with a computer.
Oct 10, 2012 7:45AM
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Americans are so used to movies having some happy resolution that we can't tolerate a tug on the heart strings.  People died on the Titanic.  Real people.  Jack and Rose didn't exist.

Oct 10, 2012 7:26AM
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hey don't blame Rose for Jacks death, blame the people who wrote the script.
Oct 10, 2012 9:08AM
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It's an interesting test but it must be pointed out that in the test, the two guys were working in daylight AND in what is most assuredly much warmer water than the middle of the Atlantic in April where the water was cold enough to support icebergs, AND had a knife to cut the straps on the lifejacket AND were working with clear heads. 

 

Jack and Rose (and the real survivors of Titanic) were working in pitch black, freezing waters with no knife to cut the straps AND they were also in a state of shock and terrified out of their minds. 

 

So, it's not exactly an exact duplicate of the situation in reel life or real life. 

 

Oct 10, 2012 9:38AM
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If she had stayed in the lifeboat, he would have had plenty of room on the driftwood. 
Oct 10, 2012 8:07AM
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If  Rose's butt was smaller there would have been more room for Jack.
Oct 10, 2012 7:42AM
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However the combined weight of Rose and Jack was easily under 300 pounds.  The two men from mythbusters was probably over 400...BIG difference.
Oct 10, 2012 7:52AM
Oct 10, 2012 8:24AM
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I watched this episode. My favorite quote at the end by James Cameron.
"We may have slipped up and made the board too large, but int the end, the script said Jack had to die."  
Oct 10, 2012 9:24AM
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She got the plank AND THE LIFE JACKET!  She could have at least given him the life vest...come on Rose!
Oct 10, 2012 8:28AM
Oct 10, 2012 9:14AM
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Honestly people, it was a movie. The movie was created to entertain you. Some of the information was factual and some were not. But in the end, the movie was there to entertain. Were you not entertained? If you were, then Mr. James Cameron did his job. Next thing you know, you guys will be asking Mythbusters to bust cartoons.....
Oct 10, 2012 8:03AM
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 Good question. Why couldn't it have been Celine Dion?!?!?!
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