James Cameron may be one hell of a filmmaker, but there’s something about his real world adventures that are starting to get on my nerves. In the years between the release of Titanic and Avatar, Cameron took on all kinds of macho excursions available only to a famous director with all the time and money in the world. He turned some of his undersea dives into documentary films, but let’s face it: it was all just an excuse to live out his own dreams of becoming an explorer. Now that Avatar is finished, he is at it again, and he has suddenly thrust himself into the middle of a battle between the government of Brazil and the indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest.
Cameron is trying to stop the construction of a huge hydroelectric dam that would “flood hundreds of square miles of the Amazon and dry up a 60-mile stretch of the Xingu River.” This week, a judge ruled that bidding on the contract would be temporarily halted. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with Cameron’s sudden interest in saving the environment, but these photos of him visiting the indigenous people wearing jeans and war paint almost seem offensive. It comes off as a privileged Hollywood big shot sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, just because he’s some kind of delusional adrenaline junkie.
Clearly it’s a good cause, but with all the problems in the world that he could be helping to solve, is this really the most important one? As Avatar heads to DVD and Blu-ray next week, it’s hard not to see this as a bit of a publicity stunt — not that the movie really needs any extra marketing help. He even brought a copy of Avatar to screen for the natives, although unfortunately I don’t think they got to see it in 3-D. I hope he at least showed it in high-def! What do you think, is James Cameron full of crap, or is his trip to the Amazon worthy of our admiration?