On a slow news day, it’s always nice to have James Cameron around to spark some controversy. Last year the outspoken director voiced his opinion on Piranha 3D, saying that “it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s.” Now this week he was asked for his thoughts on originality in Hollywood, and he certainly did not hold back, even calling out Peter Berg’s board game movie Battleship as an example of the ongoing “story crisis” in the industry. Keep in mind, the following quote was translated from German, so it may not be 100% accurate:
“We have a story crisis… Now they want to make the Battleship game into a film. This is pure desperation. Everyone in Hollywood knows how important it is that a film is a brand before it hit theaters. If a brand has been around, Harry Potter for example, or Spider-Man, you are light years ahead. And there lies the problem. Because unfortunately these franchises are become more ridiculous. Battleship. This degrades the cinema.”
I wonder how he feels about McG going from directing a Terminator sequel to a Ouija board movie? Either way, I don’t think many people would disagree with what he says, although it’s difficult to see Cameron as a shining beacon of originality when Avatar has been accused of regurgitating classic story elements from movies like Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves. On the other hand, at least he was able to pull a new franchise from thin air, which is not something many directors have the freedom or ability to do nowadays. What do you think, is Cameron throwing stones from a glass house, or is he on the money here? Did movies like Avatar and Inception succeed because they were original, or because the directors are essentially brand names themselves?
If you can read German, you can check out the full interview over at Spiegel Online.