James Cameron has achieved some modicum of success with AVATAR and Titanic – films that, according to a few key metrics, made fat stacks. So it’s slightly amusing when Cameron, arguably the most successful director of all time, takes potshots at the work of other filmmakers. But that’s exactly what he did when he chatted with LA Times regarding the writing process for his AVATAR sequels:
“I’m writing it as separate stories that have an overall arc inclusive of the first film,” Cameron said. “I don’t want to suffer from the ‘Matrix 2′ problem, where it just ends, like, what the hell? It’s gotta end. There’s gotta be a sense of conclusion, but also a sense that the journey will continue, and that’s a fine line.”
I don’t think Cameron’s being purposely malicious, and there’s more than a ring of truth to his comment. But it seems kind of unnecessary on the part of Cameron to shit on The Wachowskis given that AVATAR is no more satisfying a film than The Matrix Reloaded. In terms of pure visual spectacle, I’d take Lana and Andy’s dazzling Speed Racer over the drawn-out, emotionally hollow experience that is AVATAR any day. Cameron continues:
“It was this kludgy prototype the first time,” Cameron said, borrowing an engineering term for clunky. “We always knew as we were going along, this isn’t really working, but we’ll fix it for the sequel. The first film just about killed us, and now we’re gonna try to do twice that much.”
The first film is not without its fans. And while I think “AVATAR money” is out of the question, “AVATAR 2 money” will still be nothing to sneeze at. Cameron’s made films that I actively love, but these days it feels like he’s inventing technology and techniques for better filmmakers to employ later on. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing but I can’t help lamenting the storyteller that gave us Aliens and Terminator feels long gone.