I suppose this news has been coming now for a while now, but it still stings. James Cameron directed two of my earliest film obsessions, Terminator 2 and Aliens. Recent years have seen his directorial output slow as he has shifted his focus to documentaries that an area he is particularly interested in, underwater exploration. In fact, the only feature film (that he has directed) since Titanic back in 1997 has been Avatar.
In a recent newspaper interview (click here to check it out), Cameron clearly stated that the remainder of his career would be focussed on documentaries and the continuation of the Avatar universe, as he develops and directs parts two and three and possibly even part four. He is quoted as saying:
‘[The] point is I think within the “Avatar” landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way.’
Now I enjoyed Avatar for what it was, an ambitious yet fairly straight-forward science-ficton movie, with some stunning effects and some great action, but not much else. Aspects such as story, characterisation and plotting fall short and certainly don’t live up to the directors previous efforts (which, of course, I also recognise were largely action-driven eye-fodder, but at least the stories were compelling). I think it is a big claim to suggest that the film (and future incarnations) might provide a platform for social commentary. If they do, its unsubtle commentary that lacks any kind of depth.
Yet I’m not suggesting that we are losing one of our cinematic social commentators here, just that it is a shame that the man who gave us some movie classics in the eighties and nineties, has decided to limit himself to such a shallow franchise (I have not seen his documentaries, though I am sure they are worthwhile). While he will no doubt continue to add more to the movie industry, in terms of the advancement of technology and the setting of new benchmarks in special effects, it would seem that it is now certain he won’t be making any more movie classics. And since his last film that I genuinely enjoyed was True Lies way back in 1992, perhaps this isn’t the end of the world.