Welcome everyone to the conclusion of our favourite director countdown. In this series we have been writing about why certain directors mean so much to us and cinema, not specifically for directors who have changed the world with their high moral and thought provoking pieces but more so directors who have brought an unparalleled amount of entertainment and enjoyment to our lives.
Canadian born filmmaker, James Francis Cameron got his first break directing in 1981’s Piranha Part Two: The Spawning. I haven’t seen that movie so I’ll skip forward to his first breakthrough performance with his 1984 The Terminator. The Terminator starred seven time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger who ended up cultivating a great working relationship with Cameron. The Terminator was a great science fiction horror movie that in the wrong hands would have ended up being a cheesy horror B movie but with Cameron’s ingenuity and creativity as well as the imposing physique of Arnold with Stan Winston’s stop-motion abilities it all came together to give us a thirty year old movie that holds up to this day.
With the success of The Terminator under his belt, Cameron stepped into the great shoes of Ridley Scott to create Aliens, the sequel to 1979’s Alien. Cameron took a different approach, instead of the suspense driven horror of the series first installment, Cameron instead chose elements that helped make his The Terminator so successful, blending action and suspense with a relentless enemy and a relation between man and woman to survive the horrific experience.
In 1989 Cameron created The Abyss, perhaps this is the movie that started his lifelong fascination with the ocean or maybe he has always had that, regardless it’s a fantastic film and was very experimental and the techniques used in created the alien was later used in the creation of the T-1000 in Cameron’s greatest movie (in my opinion) 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Arnold is back but this time is the protagonist protecting John Connor from Skynet thus saving humankind from a nuclear death. Unfortunately this was the last time Cameron would direct a film in the Terminator franchise and it has hurt each subsequent films greatly. He set the standard for cybernetic organisms and left on a high note. I could be wrong but I think he gave the franchise to Linda Hamilton after their divorce. The rights revert back to Cameron in 2019, I won’t hold my breath but could you imagine? At that time he should be finished with his Avatar franchise and could slip back into the franchise that put him on the map…everyone please cross your fingers. Cameron took a little step back, not in production and not saying the movie isn’t good, it is, it’s real fun, just the scale of it doesn’t match his other films in my opinion. The movie that I’m talking about is True Lies, another film starring Arnold. It’s a very fun spy movie and we have been teased for years with a second installment.
in 1997, Cameron released the Titanic, it broke all sorts of box office records and women loved it, that’s as much as I know since I haven’t watched it and don’t think I will…too much romance for this alpha male. Over the next decade Cameron stayed away from blockbuster theatrical releases and created a few documentaries, a television series, a Universal Studios theme park attraction for T2 3-D: Battle Across Time which was amazing by the way. When Cameron made his triumphant return to cinema he did so with the groundbreaking, genre defining, 3D improving and awe inspiring 2009 Avatar. This film took viewers to a different world, a moon actually and unlike his dark and gritty films Avatar is the exact opposite. It’s filled with light, it’s filled with hope and morals. Everything about this film is beautiful, from the spaceships solar panels to the jungles of Pandora. This was really the first movie that utilized 3D properly and I believe that Cameron had technology created specifically to make the 3D impressive. So impressive that almost every movie created afterwards use his tech and force 3D on movies that don’t always need it…Thanks Jim. Avatar smashed all records previously broken by his last film the Titanic and this reviewer thanks him for the three sequels this movie is spawning as we speak. Will each subsequent film break it’s predecessors records or will the general audience grow weary of Avatar? Keep an eye on 2017 when Avatar 2 is released in theatres.
Thank you for reading my fluff piece on the technical marvel that is James Francis Cameron, I hope you have enjoyed this series of articles as much as I have writing them and i’ll cya next time…Brandon “Thunder Lips” Taylor.