Oh James. No, I’m not a Bond girl pandering to the Spy of Spies. I’m just a movie fan annoyed that Cameron is obsessed with himself. Cameron, you make beautiful films. You need someone to help you write your scripts. I’ll leave it at that.
He won’t though. Take his Vanity Fair interview when he is discussing the re-release of “Avatar.” He also said of “Piranha 3D”:
“You’ve got to remember: I worked on ‘Piranha 2′ for a few days and got fired off of it; I don’t put it on my official filmography. So there’s no sort of fond connection for me whatsoever. In fact, I would go even farther and say that … I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like ‘Friday the 13th 3D.’ When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. And that’s not what’s happening now with 3D. It is a renaissance – right now the biggest and the best films are being made in 3D. Martin Scorsese is making a film in 3D. Disney’s biggest film of the year – ‘Tron: Legacy‘ – is coming out in 3D. So it’s a whole new ballgame.”
First of all, knowing Cameron, the fact that he got fired is a big issue here, and he’s holding it against the piranha films.
Second, while I haven’t seen “Piranha 3D,” I know that it is based off of a spoof of “Jaws.” Look at the posters and you’ll see that this one is also supposed to be a ridiculous B-movie. So Cameron’s attack was an effort to hold a film clearly meant to be a cross between the ridiculously absurd and the horrific to the standards of epic films. I think that’s a little unfair.
The film’s producer, Mark Canton, was pissed. I received his statement today from a Hollywood marketing agency:
“Mr. Cameron, who singles himself out to be a visionary of movie-making, seems to have a small vision regarding any motion pictures that are not his own. It is amazing that in the movie-making process – which is certainly a team sport – that Cameron consistently celebrates himself out as though he is a team of one. His comments are ridiculous, self-serving and insulting to those of us who are not caught up in serving his ego and his rhetoric.”
Fiery, but fun. The excerpts I’ve included here are just portions – his complete response was over 1,300 words long. Almost an epic, but again, wrong genre.
“Jim, are you kidding or what? First of all, let’s start by you accepting the fact that you were the original director of ‘Piranha 2’ and you were fired. Shame on you for thinking that genre movies and the real maestros like Roger Corman and his collaborators are any less auteur or impactful in the history of cinema than you. Martin Scorcese made ‘Boxcar Bertha’ at the beginning of his career. And Francis Ford Coppola made ‘Dimentia 13’ back in 1963. And those are just a few examples of the talented and successful filmmakers whose roots are in genre films. Who are you to impugn any genre film or its creators?”
And Canton is one who can talk. While his films by and large aren’t the stuff that win Oscars, he did produce “300,” and horror master George Romero’s “Land of the Dead.” And what’s wrong with being a genre producer? Plus, isn’t “Aliens” a genre film?
Now, Cameron has a point. Should a movie be made for movie’s sake? No. I don’t like movies that are filled with excessive violence and nudity just to earn an R-rating and bring in horny teenage males. I’m sure that’s what “Piranha 3D” is. In that respect, I’m not a fan, though I originally wanted to see it because of the “Jaws” tie. But Cameron basically did the same thing in “Avatar” by continually ushering scantily clad blue alien women across the screen. He kept the PG-13 rating, but there’s not much left to the imagination.
“Piranha 3D,” for any faults it has, is redeemed because it gave Canton the opportunity to say something that Hollywood has been way too quiet about:
“To be honest, I found the 3D in ‘Avatar’ to be inconsistent and while ground breaking in many respects, sometimes I thought it overwhelmed the storytelling. Technology aside, I wish ‘Avatar’ had been more original in its storytelling.”
Pretty pictures don’t cover up an average story. I’m sure “Piranha 3D” isn’t going to win any awards for storytelling, but when a film is as critically acclaimed as “Avatar,” faulty dialogue and flat characters should be acknowledged.
Based on the re-release’s poor performance at the box office, I’d say a few of the film’s fans recognized the fact.