Commentary: What’s the Deal with James Cameron?

I’ve been pretty open with my thoughts about BRAVEHEART …. I mean POCAHONTAS  … I mean AVATAR; yeah … AVATAR.  It’s a pretty damn boring film that offers amazing visual f/x but really has nothing else to offer.  The characters are wooden, the action is typical, and the entire story has that “been there, done that” feel to it.  And now James Cameron himself feels the need to s**t all over the recent horror release PIRANHA 3D (see my review here) …

… and this isn’t the first time some suck-wad from AVATAR has spoken out against another flick.  Back in mid-April 2010 I wrote an article on Sigourney Weaver’s comments about THE HURT LOCKER affectionately titled SIGOURNEY WEAVER IS A C**T (see it here).  Now James Cameron feels it necessary to put in his 2 cents about the recent use of 3D in horror flicks.  Let’s just cut to the chase and see exactly what Cameron said (this comes from an interview Cameron did with Vanity Fair):

Vanity Fair: Was there any sense of nostalgia when [PIRANHA 3D] came out last weekend?

Jame Cameron:  Zero. You’ve got to remember: I worked on Piranha 2 for a few days and got fired off of it; I don’t put it on my official filmography,” he explained. “So there’s no sort of fond connection for me whatsoever. In fact, I would go even farther and say that… I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3-D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3-D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. And that’s not what’s happening now with 3-D. It is a renaissance—right now the biggest and the best films are being made in 3-D. Martin Scorsese is making a film in 3-D. Disney’s biggest film of the year—Tron: Legacy—is coming out in 3-D. So it’s a whole new ballgame.

Jesus Christ Jimmy; are you fucking serious??  So I guess 3D should be saved for drawn out, preachy, boring films like AVATAR.  Say what ya want Cameron but it’s your name that graces the “Directed by” slot of PIRANHA PART 2: THE SPAWNING on  And didn’t you also dabble in some other genre films?  No really; I’m pretty sure you did.  They were small films … I think they were called ALIENS, THE TERMINATOR, TERMINATOR 2, & THE ABYSS.  I hate nothing more than when a director shits all over the genre which made their career.

This says it all!!

And the way Cameron and Weaver talk you’d think they made the most amazing film ever.  Just because a film makes a lot of money DOES NOT mean its a great film.  Hollywood often times confuses these 2 facts.  A financially successful film means it happens to hit all the right notes with audiences.  AVATAR is full of sentimental bullshit, cheesy emotion, and romantic elements that the mindless droves eat up like Kirstie Alley at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Well I can sit here and rant, rave, and call Cameron all different kinds of names (“cuntard” and “f**k stick” come to mind), but PIRANHA 3D producer Mark Canton, who produced such flicks as 300 and LAND OF THE DEAD and served as production manager on CADDYSHACK, wrote an open letter to James Cameron which is fucking great.  He puts Cameron right in his place!!  I’ve included the letter below in it’s entirety … I know it’s a little long, but take the time to read it; it’s really great (I have emphasized some parts of this letter in boldface):

As a producer in the entertainment industry, Jim Cameron’s comments on are very disappointing to me and the team that made Piranha 3D. Mr. Cameron, who singles himself out to be a visionary of movie-making, seems to have a small vision regarding any motion pictures that are not his own. It is amazing that in the movie-making process – which is certainly a team sport – that Cameron consistently celebrates himself out as though he is a team of one. His comments are ridiculous, self-serving and insulting to those of us who are not caught up in serving his ego and his rhetoric.

Jim, are you kidding or what? First of all, let’s start by you accepting the fact that you were the original director of PIRANHA 2 and you were fired. Shame on you for thinking that genre movies and the real maestros like Roger Corman and his collaborators are any less auteur or impactful in the history of cinema than you. Martin Scorcese made BOXCAR BERTHA at the beginning of his career. And Francis Ford Coppola made DEMENTIA 13 back in 1963. And those are just a few examples of the talented and successful filmmakers whose roots are in genre films. Who are you to impugn any genre film or its creators?

Having been deeply involved, as either an executive or as a producer, on Tim Burton’s original BATMAN and the first MEN IN BLACK, as well as 300, and now IMMORTALS, one of the things that has been consistent about all of the filmmakers involved in these landscape-changing global films is that, in each and every case, all of the directors were humbled by their predecessors, their colleagues and by their awareness of the great history of film that came before them. The enjoyment and the immersion of an audience in a movie theatre, as they had and will have with the above-mentioned films, and as audiences are experiencing with PIRANHA 3D now, comes from the originality and the vision of the filmmaker, and not just from the creation of the technology. You as much as anyone certainly knows that there are many pieces to the puzzle. Going to the movies still remains, arguably, amongst the best communal experiences that human beings can share.

Remember this one Jimmy? Suck it!!

My sense is that Mr. Cameron has never seen PIRANHA 3D…certainly not in a movie theatre with a real audience. Jim, we invite you to take that opportunity and experience the movie in a theatre full of fans – fans for whom this movie was always intended to entertain. Does Mr. Cameron have no idea of the painstaking efforts made by the talented young filmmaker Alex Aja and his team of collaborators? Clearly, and this one is a good bet, he has no clue as to how great and how much of a fun-filled experience the audiences who have seen the film in 3D have enjoyed. Those of us who have tried to stay in touch with the common movie audiences – the ones who really matter, the ones who actually still go to the theatre, put on the glasses, and eat the popcorn – take joy and pride in the fact that movies of all kinds, including PIRANHA 3D, have a place in filmmaking history – past, present and future. 3D unto itself is not a genre Jim, it is a tool that gives audiences an enhanced experience as they experience all kinds of movies. I believe Mr. Cameron did not see PIRANHA 3D either with any real audience or not at all. On opening weekend, I was in a Los Angeles theatre with a number of today’s great film makers including JJ Abrams, who actually had nothing short of the fabulous, fun 3D experience that the movie provides. I am fortunate enough to have worked on, and continue to work on, evolutionary movies in all formats from just simple good story telling, which still matters most of all, to CG movies to tent-pole size 3D movies, and genre 3D movies like PIRANHA 3D. What it comes down to, Jim, is – that like most things in life – size doesn’t really matter. Not everyone has the advantage of having endless amounts of money to play in their sandbox and to take ten years using other people’s money to make and market a film….like you do. Why can’t you just count your blessings? Why do you have to drop Marty Scorsese’s or Tim Burton’s names, both gentlemen who I have personally worked with, and who have enjoyed great joy and success with movies of all genres and sizes well before the advent of modern 3D? Then as now, they were like kids in a candy store recognizing, far beyond your imagination, the possibilities of storytelling and originality.

For the record, before you just totally dismiss PIRANHA 3D and all, in your opinion, worthless genre movies that actually undoubtedly gave you the ability to start your career, you should know that PIRANHA 3D had an 82% “fresh” (positive) ratting on Rotten Tomatoes on opening day – a web site that all the studios, filmmakers and the public use as a barometer of what makes a quality film.

The role of Jerry O’Connell’s life!!

We know that PIRANHA 3D has not achieved a boxoffice that is on the level of many of Mr. Cameron’s successes. To date, PIRANHA 3D has earned over $30 million around the globe with #1 openings in several countries. And, as the “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes indicates, critics and many, many others have embraced and celebrated PIRANHA 3D for the fun and entertaining – and even smart – movie-going experience that it is.

Let’s just keep this in mind Jim….you did not invent 3D. You were fortunate that others inspired you to take it further. The simple truth is that I had nothing but good things to say about AVATAR and my own experience since I actually saw it and didn’t damn someone else’s talent publicly in order to disassociate myself from my origins in the business from which we are all very fortunate. To be honest, I found the 3D in AVATAR to be inconsistent and while ground breaking in many respects, sometimes I thought it overwhelmed the storytelling. Technology aside, I wish AVATAR had been more original in its storytelling.

We have to inspire, teach and mentor this next generation of filmmakers. It is garbage to suggest that any film or any filmmaker who cannot afford to work to your standards should be dissuaded from following his or her craft by not making 3D movies or not making movies like DISTRICT 9, for example, which probably cost the amount of AVATAR’s craft services budget, but totally rocked it in the movie theatre and in the marketplace. In that case, it was not a 3D movie. But had it been, it certainly would not have been any less original or impactful. The enormous worldwide success of AVATAR has been good in all respects for you, your financiers, your distributors and the industry, as well as for the movie going public. Jim, there is a difference between Maestro which is a word that garners respect, and Dictator or Critic which are words better left for others who are not in our mutual boat or on our team. You are one of the best, it is reasonable to think that you should dig deeper and behave like it. Young directors should be inspired by you, not publicly castigated by your mean-spirited and flawed analysis.

While we are all awed by your talents and your box office successes – and I compliment you on all of them – why don’t you rethink how you address films with which you are not involved? You should be taking the high road that is being travelled by so many of your peers, and pulling with them to ensure that we, as an industry, will have a continuum of talented filmmakers that will deliver a myriad of motion pictures both big and small, with 3D or any other technologies yet to come that will entertain audiences throughout the world. That is the challenge that we face. That is the future that we should deliver.

Please go see PIRANHA 3D in a theatre near you.

This pic has nothing to do with the argument but come on; it’s a great picture!!

That is an AWESOME response Mr. Canton; I mean it is seriously good.  Very well written and it really puts douche-boy in his place.  Obviously Cameron is still feeling the sting of being fired from PIRANHA 2: THE SPAWNING, and all I can say is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH …. suck it!!!

Thanks Mr. Canton; you put eloquently into words what I was thinking.  And by the way; Dimension Films already has plans for a PIRANHA 2, and I for one am excited!!  I’ll keep you updated.

Well; what do you think about these comments (both by Cameron and Canton)?

Stay Bloody!!!

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9 Responses to Commentary: What’s the Deal with James Cameron?

  1. Peter White says:

    I didn’t see ‘Dances with smurfs’…

  2. deadlydolls says:

    On one hand, Cameron is right: 3D is now the go-to afterthought to boost box office solely by ticket price (see, Clash of the Titans). I can understand some friends who bitch about the ticket price, especially when some films don’t show up in 2D otherwise.

    On the other more adept hand, eff James Cameron. Piranha 3D was a joy. Yes, the weakest point about it was the 3D (in my opinion) but the film still used it in a cheerful enough way. I don’t really want more 3D horror, but I’m not going to poop on them simply because I’m king of the world.

    • Point taken DeadlyDolls!! My problem is not that Cameron thinks 3D is currently being overused … it absolutely is. What I think is a douche-tard move is that he believes no one should be using 3D because he suddenly feels like he’s invented it and no one is “good enough” to properly use it. He has “Al Gore Syndrome”: Gore used the internet so much that he thought he invented it. Cameron spent so long making AVATAR that he felt he invented it. Both can go hell themselves 🙂 I use the can a lot but I don’t think I invented the toilet!!

  3. autumnforest says:

    Jeez, Buddy! I’d add something but you damn well said it all. I am in total agreement. Damn shame!

  4. l3pr3chaun says:

    This about sums it all up very well……..

  5. Deggsy says:

    You’re right, Scott, Canton put his reply far more eloquently and maturely than most of us would in his position, but I will add my own two cents (Note to Mr Cameron: a ‘cent’ is a unit of American currency which you probably have forgotten about, as you now most likely blow your nose with hundred dollar bills).
    To me, Cameron is an aberration in film history. He entered the business clearly enamoured of the technical side of filmmaking, but wanting to get into the business by any means necessary, including directing and screenwriting. And he happened to show up at a time when Roger Corman was at the tail end of his career, but was still making theatrically-released movies. And Corman gave him a break, since Cameron’s “I’ll do anything and everything” attitude suited Corman’s penny-pinching policies immensely.
    Had Cameron arrived earlier or later than when he did, he might have just slipped quietly into the background of the business, making innovations and probably still collecting the Nerd Oscars. But he struck lucky with The Terminator. However, I think this has forever connected his technical prowess with his directorial/writing “prowess”, and that he can’t really do one without the other. Few watching The Terminator now might know that at the time, it was so derivative of the works of Harlan Ellison (especially his 1964 Outer Limits episode Soldier, whose futuristic battlefield was virtually copied by Cameron for similar scenes in The Terminator) that Ellison threatened a lawsuit, settled out of court. Cameron would later retcon by saying he was “inspired” by Ellison. Of course you were.
    His subsequent writing credits are seemingly a mixed bag: Rambo II, The Abyss, True Lies, Strange Days, Terminator 2, Titanic. But if you look at the better-written ones, they tend to have had others working on them as well. I never watched his TV show Dark Angel, but what I’ve read of it smacks of pure derivativeness, though I suppose you could make a game of identifying what other, better sources have “inspired” him. And if he ever directed a project for which he didn’t have creative control, I think you wouldn’t be able to tell that it was a ‘Cameron’ movie.
    You wrote that just because a film makes a lot of money does not mean it’s a great film, and that Hollywood often times confuses these two facts. Personally I don’t think they’re confused, I think they genuinely *believe* this. I think that the studios, most of whom are now subsidiaries and sub-subsidiaries of larger, faceless corporations with zero artistic interest, genuinely believe that if they throw enough money towards a project, that will make it good, and that any “little” film which earns critical acclaim but only modest box office is just a fluke. Sadly, the financial success of Titanic and now Avatar seems to support this view, and that one Avatar will still outweigh a dozen District 9s or Moons. It’s not a new phenomenon – some of the Best Film Oscars were undeservedly won by movies made “big” via Cinemascope or a trainload of stars, only nowadays it’s 3-D raking in the money.
    I will concede one thing to Cameron, in that some films don’t need the 3-D treatment, but going on to be so territorial about it is beyond the pale. He’s like the kid in kindergarten who’s made a big castle out of all the class’ Lego blocks, one that everyone’s oohed and aahed at, but now gets petulant when one kid takes some of the blocks and makes a little racing car out of it. Calm down, Jimmy, everyone liked your castle, now let other people play with the toys. Hell, George Lucas has similar problems with a love of technical over creative abilities, but at least he seems to have a sense of humour about his shortcomings.
    Sorry for going on about the subject, Scott. Later, I’ll release this reply in a Special Edition, with added bits that won’t really add to what I’ve already written 🙂

    • Well put Deggsy …. seriously well put!! I remember when THE TERMINATOR first came out reading an article comparing it to Ellison’s SOLDIER episode. I’ve been trying to find that connection for a while but have been unable to find it. I’m glad you brought it up; I thought I dreamt that!!

      There’s no doubt that, like Lucas himself, Cameron is NOT a writer. His characters, like Lucas’, are one-dimensional, cardboard cut outs that have no development. And god forbid you’re a female in a Cameron flick …. he cant write so much as a line of dialogue for a woman. Just look what he did to Ripley in ALIENS and Linda Hamilton in TERMINATOR 2 … he essentially made them men!! Cameron is extremely lucky that he was around when he was. Audiences were starving for some exciting films and he delivered. Unfortunately we’re seeing the “true Cameron” now and just how helling shallow his writing truly is. He’s a geeky technical guy; not a true filmmaker who loves his craft and the art of storytelling.

      And like you I agree; every goddamn film coming out DOES NOT need to be released in 3D. Do we really need STEP UP 3D?? And as much as I loved PIRANHA 3D it definitely didn’t need the 3D. It just didn’t add anything fun to the overall experience.

      I can’t wait to see your special, exclusive Special Edition Deggsy!!