Titanic is in theatres, Leonardo DiCaprio’s love life is back in the tabloids, and James Cameron is the biggest filmmaker in the world right now. No, you haven’t been transported back to the ’90s, but we do have a theory that suggests Titanic is secretly a time travel movie and we won’t be convinced otherwise now.
Most people would describe Titanic as a disaster movie based on true events, or maybe a romance movie as the love story between Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater blossoms on board the doomed vessel. Funnily enough, the film was actually going to be an all-out action movie at some point, but that’s a story for another day.
What’s really fascinating is, the James Cameron movie may well have a hidden sci-fi twist lying beneath the surface. We already know the filmmaker loves to dabble in the genre, and has touched on time travel with the Terminator franchise, so it’s not surprising there may be a hint of that in Titanic.
The premise of the ‘90s movie sees the famous RMS Titanic set sail for its maiden voyage with a diverse range of passengers on board; from wealthy aristocrats like Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) to poor artists like Rose (Kate Winslet). The two fall in love during the journey, but gradually realise their fleeting relationship will be cut short by the impending collision with a huge iceberg.
Pretty standard stuff, right? Well, nothing is ever quite so simple where James Cameron is involved, as we’ve seen from his incredibly ambitious work on the Avatar franchise. With this in mind, and all the little clues we’ve discovered along the way in Titanic, we wouldn’t put it past the mad man to have covertly made a science fiction movie after all.
Now, the following may simply be mistakes and inconsistencies that Cameron and his team didn’t spot while making Titanic, but the director is so meticulous we find that hard to believe. So, let’s dive in and see if the theory that Jack Dawson is actually a time travelling hero checks out.
First of all, the fact Jack is even on the ship at all is a big clue that he may in fact be a time traveller. Jack apparently has no money from that era, and is forced to gamble in order to earn money to buy a ticket for the voyage. Surely an aristocrat would be flush enough to purchase a ticket the normal way, so Jack’s financial situation here certainly raises some suspicion.
While Jack may not have the appropriate money, he sure does seem to have extensive knowledge of things that haven’t happened yet. The Titanic’s journey took place in 1912, but the movie based on a true story features a passing mention to two particular creations that didn’t even exist at the time.
First, Jack mentions he enjoys fishing on Lake Wissota, but this man-made lake wasn’t built until 1917. Second, Jack promises to take Rose on a rollercoaster at the Santa Monica pier. But guess what? That’s right, the rollercoaster didn’t open until 1916. As we said, this could be just a couple of mistakes from the production team not double-checking for historical accuracy. It’s only a few years here and there, after all.
However, if you were to look closely at Jack, it’s quite clear he is a man out of time. His hairstyle, his backpack, and even the cigarettes he smokes; all of them were not even invented until the 1930s at the earliest. Surely character design is not something Cameron would allow the team to drop the ball on.
So if Jack is actually from the future, why is he determined to be on board a ship he knows will crash and sink? For love, of course! At the start of the drama movie, we learn Rose is greatly depressed and contemplating suicide, but by the end, she is revitalised and finds a new sense of purpose after surviving the incident.
In this theory, Jack goes back in time so that he can make Rose happy and show her that life is worth living. Of course, she goes on to live a happy and healthy life, but Jack perishes in the chaos of the shipwreck. Whether there was enough room on the door or not, Jack was never meant to survive. That is his sacrifice; he never intended to get on the door, he just needed Rose to make it.
How cute. If you like Cameron’s work, check out our Avatar 2 review or dive into our guide on the Terminator movies. Alternatively, you could look ahead to a new movie with our guide to the Avatar 3 release date and do some time travelling of your own, or simply find out how to watch Titanic upon its re-release.