James Cameron is modern cinema’s consumate hater. A carnival barker for the theatrical experience, Cameron has used his Avatar: The Way Of Water promotional campaign to remind us that every Hollywood spectacle since 2009’s Avatar has sucked. After a decade of people being nice about Disney’s ascendence as a Blockbuster monopoly, le enfant terrible is biting the hand that bought Avatar’s studio. It’s been great to watch. James Cameron should make movies more often.
His latest pipe bomb was hurled at, who else, Marvel, particularly the motion-capture VFX of one Mr. Thanos. “I’m just saying ahead of time that I’m not going to diss the Marvel or DC Universe. Love those movies,” Cameron begins his interview on ComicBook.com before suplexing Thanos from the top rope.
When ComicBook.com’s reporter Brandon Davis asked if Cameron was using any of the techniques developed in superhero movies over the last decade, Cameron chose his words carefully. “The big comic book films have been driving the sheer volume of the industry,“ he said. ”the rising tide of technique raises everybody together. It gives you higher quality artists, more tools and plug-ins, and code [to use]. You’ve got more talented people writing code out there.”
Then, like a snake, he strikes: “WETA Effects, as it’s called now, is the best. Right? Industrial Light & Magic does great work, but when it comes to the kind of emotive facial stuff that we’re doing. Thanos? Come on. Give me a break. You saw [Avatar: The Way of Water]. It’s not even close.”
At the start of the press tour, Cameron criticized his fellow Disney movies. “When I look at these big, spectacular films — I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC — it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college. They have relationships, but they really don’t. They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”
Cameron has spent the last 15 years making 900 blue-cat people movies—that’s opening to strong early buzz and a promise that Kate Winslet learned to hold her breath underwater for seven minutes—and returned to Hollywood to tell everyone that their work sucks. For all the nonsense said about Martin Scorsese, he was so generous to movies that he had no time for. On the other hand, Cameron has no time for bedside manners.
After 13 years, Avatar: The Way Of Water finally hits theaters next Thursday.