James Cameron’s Titanic is a spectacular film with a sappy ending. Granted, bringing closure to a years-old love story presents challenges, particularly when Cameron allows one half of his passionate couple (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) to sink to the bottom of the ocean like the ship that housed their forbidden love. But did you know that the ending to Titanic could have been worse? Much, much worse.
YouTube user Gus Tavo (chicken man?) uploaded this alternate Titanic ending years ago, though I can’t say I’ve ever seen the scenes in question play out. They need to be watched to be believed. They keep a few snippets of footage from James Cameron’s theatrical ending – like Kate Winslet’s Rose finding "The Heart of the Ocean" necklace in the pocket of the coat she’s wearing – but goes the extra mile to have Old Rose (Gloria Stuart) explain the point of the entire film to the dense Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton), the treasure-seeker who drivesTitanic in Cameron’s framing story.
Is it necessary? Absolutely not. Is it spoon-feeding the subtleties of the plot to an audience after nearly three hours of action, romance and historical thrills? Without a doubt. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t slivers of value to this unearthed Titanic footage. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a slight charge out of seeing Paxton’s character get to hold the "Heart of the Ocean" in his hands, if even for a moment.
But then Old Rose has to ruin it with fortune-cookie wisdom about "looking for treasure in the wrong place," and how "only life is priceless" so we should "make each day count." Ugh. Stop, Cameron. The old lady tosses the diamond into the water, the crew screams "Jesus, no!" as they run to the rail, and the string section of James Horner’s orchestra earns their pay by swelling the sentimental music to extreme heights. OK, yeah. This is bad. "That really sucks, lady!" Lewis Abernathy screams at Stuart after she drops the jewel. He’s probably talking about the alternate ending.
Listen, Titanic wasn’t flawless.
But choosing not to go ahead with the above alternate ending might have been the best decision of James Cameron’s illustrious career.