I Gotta Agree with James Cameron on This One….

11 Jan

by Chris Petersen

I am kind of known for having a dislike of James Cameron. While he has created some of the most entertaining films of the last 20-25 years, he is kind of a snob and seems to have completely disconnected himself from being a human. I was not a fan of his comments about Piranha 3D, which you can read about here, because he was trashing a director about production quality, particularly 3D, who didn’t nearly have the millions upon billions that Cameron could call upon. Plus, he just completely missed the point that the film was a satirical homage, and so on and so forth.

But, while I despise him, I have to agree with his recent comments in an interview with the German website, Spiegel Online, about the upcoming Peter Berg  film, Battleship, which is based on the Hasbro board game. Here is what he had to say about it:  

We have a story crisis. Now they want to make the Battleship game into a film. This is pure desperation. Everyone in Hollywood knows how important it is that a film is a brand before it hit theaters. If a brand has been around, Harry Potter for example, or Spider-Man, you are light years ahead. And there lies the problem. Because unfortunately these franchises are become more ridiculous. Battleship. This degrades the cinema.”

 

 

        

  

Next- Scrabble: The Movie

 

Yes, it does, Jimmy. Films that are attached to brand are far more likely to get the greenlight and the funding than original projects. Great directors and filmmakers really have to prove themselves over the years, with little to no funding, before their projects find the light of day and receive recognition. Hollywood knows that the average moviegoer is going to stick to what they know, they are like sheep, following a name they recognize, rather than branching out to find truly great films. If they see a brand they know, they are going to go to it, even if it lets them down time and time again, complain about it, and then fall prey to the same scheme as before.

Even with all this criticism of Hollywood, it will probably not change until the average moviegoer stops rewarding them for their dastardly schemes. It is getting to the point where not only are people not smart enough to stop giving Hollywood their money for crap, they are starting to believe that the cinematic garbage is actually good. Did you see the People’s Choice Awards? How can Grown Ups and Twilight Saga: Eclipse actually win Best Comedy and Best Picture? This wasn’t just the MTV Movie Awards, this was the People’s Choice Awards. The people are dumb enough to think that this stuff is actually good, probably because they didn’t go to see anything that actually was, because it wasn’t familiar or flashy.  

Yup, this is quality entertainment.

Even though I agree with James Cameron this time, I have to pause and question his originality as well. He is making an Avatar 2/3, and he made a sequel to Terminator, and only tried to improve on Ridley Scott’s success with Aliens. Also, Avatar wasn’t really original either. Yeah, it looked great visually, but just look at this mash up of the story of Pocahontas vs. the story of Avatar.

What are your thoughts about Cameron’s comments? Is he right? Or should he just keep his mouth shut?

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8 Responses to “I Gotta Agree with James Cameron on This One….”

  1. Jeremy Petersen January 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    You haven’t considered the merits of Battleship from the national security angle. Supposedly this movie will be the surface warfare community’s Top Gun (this is according to the Chief of Information actual–ADM somebody or other). Do you know what that would mean for recruiting and the self-respect of surface warefare officers everywhere? If we can credit Top Gun and Tom Cruise’s volleyball team with ending the Cold War, shouldn’t we celebrate this movie so that we can end the War on Terror? National security should trump artistic integrity every time. Case closed.

    • Chris Petersen January 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

      Haha. I stand corrected and I am also standing to salute the flag.

  2. Brian Pac Sostak January 11, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    I agree with Cameron’s statement to a degree but have an issue with it as well. I don’t necessarily hate the idea of relying on a brand to draw viewers as long as the product is in good taste. Take “The Dark Knight” for example, that film has essentially raised the expectations for all superhero films that proceed it. Furthermore, Cameron has not seen “Battleship”, no one has, so what right does he have to condemn a film he hasn’t seen. I think this comment was expressed in the same vanity as the Piranha comment and though I agree the idea does not sound great, Peter Berg has a pretty good directorial track record. Also, keep in mind that in 1985 a film titled “Clue” was released based on the popular board game and turned out to be a pretty good film (70% on Rotten Tomatoes).

  3. vshrew January 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    He wasn’t talking about originality but integrity. Avatar was a new brand, regardless of whether it has generic classical story tropes shared with tens of other stories, it was new and people went to see it for it’s originality. How many films and stories have alien invasion stories where aliens dress up as humans? It was refreshing to have humans be the technologically advanced ones dressing up as the aliens. Yeah the implementation wasn’t great, but what Avatar deserves huge credit for is creating a world. They had an immersive biological and cultural alien world. You never get that in films, not even in video games where you get really unrealistic biology and culture.

    • KungFuFichgtin January 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      Sorry, but no.

      Avatar was kind of original in that it created an immersive experience/graphical substitute for an alternate reality. But it wasn’t original nor did it create “an immersive biological and cultural alien world.” The cultural aspect and plot aspect is literally taken from Native Americans and Pocahontas. Replacing indians with aliens isn’t original. Also, the biological aspects of the film were completely not thought through. Half of the ‘new life forms’ were earthlike creatures with six legs. An extra pair of legs isn’t really something that would be beneficial to life forms that live in a habitat similar to that of our own rain forests and jungles, otherwise we would see our owninstances of mamalian or reptilian creatures with six legs.

  4. 2blu2btru January 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    I think most people will be quick to come to Cameron’s defense because they like to ooh and aah over pretty colors that make them think this isn’t the story we saw a million times before. He takes familiar things and colors them, rather than taking familiar things and expanding/stretching their limits, like a Chris Nolan. While I personally have no desire to witness any grown man acting out “you sunk my battleship,” I can’t condemn a movie I haven’t even see a trailor for or know who has written the script/will be starring in it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it’s kind of rude to bash someone’s art that you haven’t seen, let alone use it to bludgeon us over the head with “this is what’s wrong with film today.” If it’s that bad, make your own really great movie that does none of those things, and let the movie going public decide.

    • Chris Petersen January 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

      You’re right, I haven’t seen it and I can’t say it won’t surprise me somehow. I do like Liam Neeson, and he is attached to the project (can’t say that I am thrilled about Rihanna, but we’ll see). Anyway, I guess I am more venting my frustration about the lack of quality ideas that come out of Hollywood that people buy into, while other, better projects sit somewhere in the darkness. Eventually, I hope to make my own films, however, I am stuck in the Navy for the time being and my passion for film has been diverted to this blog. Thanks for reading and for the honest feedback.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I Gotta Agree with James Cameron on This One…. (via Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood) | The Calculable - January 12, 2011

    […] I Gotta Agree with James Cameron on This One…. (via Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood) Posted on 12 January, 2011 by Jarle Petterson by Chris Petersen I am kind of known for having a dislike of James Cameron. While he has created some of the most entertaining films of the last 20-25 years, he is kind of a snob and seems to have completely disconnected himself from being a human. I was not a fan of his comments about Piranha 3D, which you can read about here, because he was trashing a director about production quality, particularly 3D, who didn’t nearly have the millions upon b … Read More […]

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