The Real Problem With Titanic's Ending, According To Neil DeGrasse Tyson

titanic death scene

It's been 20 years since Titanic first hit theaters, and in that time one of the longest lasting debates related to the movie has been whether or not both Rose and Jack could have perhaps survived the fated shipwreck. About a year ago, Titanic lead Kate Winslet even told Jimmy Kimmel she did think Leo DiCaprio's character could have fit on the door. However, now scientist and pop culture personality Neil deGrasse Tyson has explained the real reason he doesn't buy into Titanic's ending. Here's why he doesn't really think the door scene works.

Whether or not he could've been successful, I would've tried more than once. You try once. 'Oh, this is not gonna work. I will just freeze to death in the water.' No, excuse me. No! 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. And I'll tell you this, if that character was Matt Damon from The Martian, he would've made an outboard motor and saved everybody. This is how science can help you!

If you've seen Titanic--and even if you're not admitting it there's a good chance you totally have--after the Titanic sinks into the sea, there are a ton of passengers left freezing in the water. Rose and Jack are among them, and happen on some of the debris that was thrown/came off of the ship as it was sinking. After one brief attempt for both of them to balance on the door in the water, Jack bravely shimmies off into the freezing water to give Rose a better chance. According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, that's bollocks. No human on the planet would try only once if survival were on the line. James Cameron's movie believes in romance and sacrifice, but Tyson told the Huffington Post he believes that in real life the will to survive would trump chivalry. Although he does not believe there is enough evidence to confirm Jack would also have survived, he knows they would have tried, and feels that is the movie's big failure.

When Kate Winslet spoke out about the famous scene a year ago, she stated under no uncertain terms that she thought Jack could have absolutely made it, noting,

I think he could have actually fit on that bit of door.

Oppositely, James Cameron has stated before that there is no way that Jack would have ever fit on the door, calling out those who disbelieve his story and saying that they are "full of shit." After all, it's his story, and he's basically the expert on what happened. If you can't buy into the movie magic, Titanic may not be the movie for you. Interestingly, Neil deGrasse Tyson actually filmed an episode with James Cameron for StarTalk this season, but apparently they talked Avatar and not Titanic, so this seems to be the end of the debate for now. Regardless of whether or not you are team Cameron or team someone else, Titanic did end with love cut short in its prime. It could have been much worse, really.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.