A lot has happened in the two decades since James Cameron said he was “King of the World.” In place of obsessions with terminators, aliens and Na’vi, superhero franchises have taken over the pop culture landscape. And as we await four “Avatar” sequels from Cameron, he’s had plenty of time to throw some shade at some of our more recent movie landmarks. He most recently said this past weekend that he hopes we all get “Avengers” fatigue very soon, but he’s also had criticisms for “Star Wars,” “Wonder Woman,” “Iron Man 3” and more.
3-D Conversions in “Man of Steel” and “Iron Man 3”
The craze to make movies in 3D was real after the wild success of “Avatar.” But films like “Man of Steel” and “Iron Man 3″ weren’t shot in 3D, just converted to it. Cameron took notice. “One thing is shooting in 3D and another is to convert to 3D,” he said in 2013. “If you spend $150 million on visual effects, the film is already going to [look] spectacular [and] perfect.”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Maybe he was just sore that “The Force Awakens” took over “Avatar’s” throne. But Cameron chided director J.J. Abrams for the film’s lack of “visual imagination.” “I have to say that I felt that George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before,” Cameron said in 2016. He added that Abrams took “baby steps” with new characters but was excited to see where they would go with it.
“Titanic” Fan Theories
Cameron broke a lot of hearts when he debunked a popular fan theory about his film “Titanic” that suggests Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jack might’ve also been able to fit on the floating door along with Kate Winslet’s Rose. “Here’s the answer: it says in the script on page 147, Jack dies,” Cameron said on “The View.” “So maybe we made the door a little too big when we made the movie, but Jack’s always going to die, folks! There’s no other version of reality.”
Cameron disputed whether Gal Gadot and her iteration of “Wonder Woman” should be held up as feminist. “All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over ‘Wonder Woman’ has been so misguided,” Cameron said in August of 2017. “She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie, but to me, it’s a step backwards.” He defended his “Terminator” heroine Sarah Conner as not a “beauty icon” in the way he said Gadot is, and he even doubled down on his criticism, earning a sharp response from the original Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter.
Between the Cannes vs. Netflix feud, we know what side Cameron falls on. Cameron took issue with the streaming service’s day-and-date release strategy. “I’m not into it — I think it’s a stupid idea. The sanctity of the theater-going experience is something I never really want to see go away,” he told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper (via the Toronto Sun) in August 2017. “I actually don’t think it will go away, but people shouldn’t be denied the option of seeing a film on the big screen.”
Upon announcing a new sequel to “Terminator,” Cameron revealed that the film would be an updated continuation of where “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” left off. Well, what of the three “Terminator” sequels since then? “We’re pretending the other films were a bad dream,” Cameron said in September of 2017. “Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse.” Not a Christian Bale fan are we?
Cameron’s critique of Marvel’s “The Avengers” and the superhero genre more broadly required a dictionary to understand. “I’m hoping we’ll start getting ‘Avenger’ fatigue here pretty soon,” Cameron said this weekend. “Not that I don’t love the movies. It’s just, come on guys, there are other stories to tell besides hyper-gonadal males without families doing death-defying things for two hours and wrecking cities in the process. It’s like, oy!” A “gonad,” for those playing at home, is a sex gland such as a testicle.