Seriously, Don't Send James Cameron Your Scripts

James Cameron Avatar 2The extended Q&A transcript from James Cameron's China-focused chat with the New York Times and The Economist reveals the extent of Cameron's Avatar-tunnel vision. "I’ve divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I’ve made two movies in 16 years, and I’ve done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the Avatar business. Period. That’s it. I’m making Avatar 2, Avatar 3, maybe Avatar 4, and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them." Looks like it'll be all Avatar, all the time from here on out, which is... good news? [NYT]


  • SD says:

    No Battle Angel Alita film then. That's a shame 🙁

  • Patrick Hallstein / McEvoy-Halston says:

    Stephanie's review of this film was very harsh. It's always great to have her take, but it'd be nice if she'd accord some of her assertions, particularly this one -- "But if you’re out to change the face of filmmaking, you have to work much harder at a lot of the things Cameron just shrugs off" -- and perhaps also this one -- ''In 'Avatar,' the technology is everything" -- and also this one -- '“Avatar' isn’t about actors or characters or even about story; it’s about special effects, which is fine as far as it goes" -- with what actually ended up happening. Cameron didn't leap-frog off this project -- the world, the people in it, mattered to him -- and do we doubt that audiences haven't either? And this, his sticking to this universe, isn't because he's getting old, or because Avatar works as such a great base for his special-effects fetish, or because it doubles nicely his own recent uninterrupted span of aquian years, or even because it's such an effecive tool with which to communicate his take on things -- but because despite his earlier errancy he means to spend the rest of his life as a crusader to Eywa. She's his deity; It really does come down to that.

    Stephanie was astray from the life in this film as she was from the life in the Avengers. This line from her review of Avatar -- "It’s a remote-control movie experience, a high-tech 'wish you were here' scribbled on a very expensive postcard" -- just like this one from her review of the Avengers -- "all a filmmaker really needs to do is put them all into a big stock pot filled with elaborate set pieces and some knowing dialogue and he’s golden" -- shows she's been sending up movies that it turned out audiences have bought into -- and brother, have they!

    Or ... audiences these days are such that they fall head over heels for movies that really are all about special effects and already-cultivated prejudices, with neutered characters and no meaningful story development. It'd be nice to see her take a momentary break from movie reviews and write an account of what it's like to draw back from an appraisal of a film, to situate oneself back amongst what-turn-out-to-be zombies who remember as hearty feasts what you established as cold film-corpses.

    • Jake says:

      Have to politely disagree with you on the Avatar review from Stephanie. I typically don't defend her (for example her 3/10 review for Inception was way out of line--that movie was more like a 7 or 8/10) but Avatar was terrible. All the characters were one dimensional, the CG was crap (major uncanny valley problems), and the overall message was so cliched. I'm really amazed anyone thought it was good. But then again, people came out of the Phantom Menace saying how great it was and going back over and over again. Then when it got re-released it got a slew of negative reviews and didn't make much money. I have a feeling that twenty years from now, we will look back on Avatar and laugh at all the idiots who actually bought into the hype and thought it was a good film. Really, is there much of a difference between the blue cats of Avatar and Jar Jar Binks? Not really. And all those Na'vi characters were soooooo cliched and stupid.

      Sadly, I am probably going to have to sit through several more Avatar films, although the trailer and reviews would have to be amazing for me to go to the second one. It's a total mystery to me why it made so much money. Then again, McDonald's sure does sell a lot of "hamburgers."

      Here's to hoping the next one is better. But Stephanie was dead on with her review on that one.

      • Patrick Hallstein / McEvoy-Halston says:

        I don't think that overall the collective opinion about Phantom Menance was that it was a great film. I think that rather immediately people knew that if they floated some kind of comment like that up, it was because they had considerable brian-reschematizing to do first before being able to handle the fact that they've let their hopes and dreams lush so enthusiastically and unguardedly into the contagions of a stinker.

        I still do wonder what, after Stephanie talks about directors trying to fool us with their efforts, ostensibly placing the insultingly false in place of the genuine, as she has with Titanic ("a film made with boorish confidence and zero sensitivity, big and dumb and hulking even as it tries to fool us into thinking we’re seeing elegance and gravity") and the Avengers ("It moves forward, set piece by set piece, in a way that can easily fool you into thinking it’s exciting, or at least not boring"), she makes of audiences ending up so heartily taking to these films. Does she simply judge them simple-minded fools then, or might she flip back and consider what she might have missed, what was wrong, stunted, shortchanged with/about her, that she so completely missed what the (sometimes wiser?) crowds so responded to.

        There is a psychological phenonema, and I'm sorry I don't recall the name for it, whereby you let other people experience feelings you yourself need to disown -- some argue its the true basis for homelessness, where a certain group -- the homeless -- is needed to contain feelings of loneliness, despair, you yourself have trouble integrating. I sometimes wonder with certain critics -- and remember I am a fan of Stephanie's -- if something like this is at work, where unconsciously their opinion is given as if already at some level knowning the emotional tumult is going to be experienced, handled, subsequently ... and by somebody else, presumably to their detriment.

  • Good for James Cameron---make your own movies the way you want to make 'em. Don't

    Unless....some insane child scientist invents a type of shaving cream that turns men into
    invisible micro-killer flying zombies. I did mention that they can fly. They can FLY, Jen.
    And they turn blue,so maybe they're Celts.

    No chance with Cameron, then, right?

  • Why doesn't he make John Carter 2?

    Oh, right.