In the movie Titanic, the Iceberg seems to be… a door

I remember well the first time I saw Titanic in a movie theater 25 years ago. My sister and half of the cinema were in tears when Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) died of hypothermia after having saved – multiple times – his beloved, Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) until, in the middle of it all, she said indignantly: “Why she [Rose] wouldn’t let him up the door with her?”

“The door” she referred to was a makeshift raft out of a beautiful door which Jack put Rose on it, but was unable to share the space with her, thus, staying in the cold water and dying.

Yes, the ship may have hit an iceberg before sinking, but the artistic decision to have Jack dying this way proved to be the worst obstacle for director James Cameron. The question has been repeated for 25 years, with amused or indignant answers from him and the actors, without reaching the conclusion he wanted. With memes and endless questions, “the door” is unsurprisingly one of the most remembered scenes of a film that is still a phenomenon.

“We did a scientific study to put all that aside and drive a stake through your heart once and for all,” said James Cameron when he once again had to answer the question at the Avatar premiere. “Since then, we’ve done a full forensic analysis with a hypothermia specialist who reproduced the raft from the film and we’ll do a short special about it that will be released in February,” he promised.

The director’s irritation with the subject is one of the legends – fueled by interviews – that will not fail to clash with his desire for people to accept that Jack had to die. After all, hypothermia is what killed most of the passengers, thanks to the delay in rescue and the weather conditions of that tragic and real night that happened 110 years ago. In 2019, the director made it clear that he found the questioning “stupid”. “The script says Jack dies, he had to die,” he explained.

“I never really saw it as a debate, it’s just stupid,” he said at the time. “There is no discussion. But if you really want to dig out all the idiotic arguments associated with it. I mean, let’s go back, could Romeo have been smart and not taken the poison? Yes. Could he have decided not to bring his little dagger in case Juliet stabbed herself with it? Yes absolutely. It kind of misses the point,” he tried to argue. After all, the story was his to tell as he chose.

But there was no Peace. So much so that it will address the issue in the special that will be released in theaters along with the film on February 14, 2023, as already announced. According to him, two stuntmen with the “same body mass as Kate and Leo” were hooked up to sensors before being placed in icy water. What a job! “We tested it to see if they could have survived a variety of methods and the answer was, there was no way they could have both survived. Only one could survive,” maintains Cameron.

It might be amusing to know that so many efforts were made to prove him right, but it’s indifferent. The decision was creative. “[Jack] needed to die. It’s like Romeo and Juliet. It’s a film about love, sacrifice, and mortality. Love is measured by sacrifice… Maybe after 25 years, I won’t have to deal with this anymore,” he vented. It didn’t help that over the years fans simply questioned why he wouldn’t climb into the door that was used as a boat, with the creators of MythBusters even conducting an experiment in 2012 that proved the two would fit in the door.

Although Leonardo DiCaprio never got into the controversy, actress Kate Winslet has publicly joked that she agrees that there was room for Rose to have been selfish anyway.

Will they let it go this time?

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