The last time we heard from James Cameron, he was saying words about Wonder Woman and everyone was like, Take Diana’s name out of your mouth. Well, James Cameron is saying words again, but at least this time he isn’t talking about Wonder Woman. He is hyping those Avatar sequels he’s finally making,the return of Titanic to theaters on its 20th anniversary, and how excited Kate Winslet is to swim around for a couple months and get paid millions of dollars.
The Avatar sequels have long existed in “believe it when I see it” territory, but now that they’re filming, I guess I accept that these are real movies that exist. Except that even Cameron himself notes that “if Avatar 2 and 3 don’t make enough money, there’s not going to be a 4 and 5.” So maybe Avatar 4 and 5 don’t exist yet. I don’t see how Avatar 2 doesn’t make money, but Avatar 3? I think they’re going to find this to be a case of diminishing returns. Avatar was released into a world where 3D and motion-capture was special and unique. Now, every movie is released in 3D and we see mo-cap characters all the time. The actual story is going to have to be compelling to propel Avatar to FIVE movies, and no one describes Avatar as “compelling”.
What we learn of Kate Winslet’s character is that she’s playing a space fish monster named Ronal, and her people communicate with sign language. This is Winslet’s first collaboration with Cameron since Titanic, and I wonder how hard she sighed when she realized she wasn’t getting another Titanic but is instead part of Space Aquaman. Cameron says she is “very excited” about it, but she is also an award-winning actress. And the special Oscar for pretending to be excited about working with James Cameron goes to Kate Winslet! (Never forget that Cameron’s reputation is such that a joke about him and torture got a huge laugh from his peers.)
Cameron also tells us about a time he got in Harvey Weinstein’s face at the Oscars for maiming Guillermo Del Toro’s movie, Mimic, in editing. Weinstein was so well known for re-cutting director’s works he was called “Harvey Scissorhands”, and it was always super annoying that Harvey Weinstein thought Harvey Weinstein was better at making movies than some of the world’s greatest filmmakers—he also edited/ruined films by Wong Kar-Wai and Bong Joon-ho—but that’s a completely separate issue from the sexual abuse/assault/harassment that has now been confirmed. The two issues have nothing to do with each other, and Cameron really doesn’t add anything of value to the actual conversation we are having right now, except that one time he yelled at Weinstein for something completely different.
And he says more words about Titanic’s most enduring legacy, which is how Rose committed manslaughter because she couldn’t move over. Cameron explains—again—how he dedicated actual time and brain power to calculating how big the flotsam would have to be support ROSE AND ONLY ROSE, so that Jack could die tragically at the end of Titanic. He’s not wrong that, story-wise, Jack needed to die and that the lingering Door Debate is a sign that people are so invested in these characters that they care to this day that Rose couldn’t roll over even a few inches to let Jack at least get his core out of the water, thus possibly preserving his heart beat a little longer.
He is wrong that his explanation satisfies anyone, because that door is OBVIOUSLY big enough for two people, and there were survivors who did bob around in the water for all three hours before being rescued, so SURELY a couple of YOUNG AND IN LOVE KIDS could float only a little bit submerged and survive. I honestly wonder if the reason blockbusters today are so petrified of permanently killing off popular characters is because twenty years ago James Cameron did permanently kill off a popular character and he psychologically scarred an entire generation as a result. This is James Cameron’s true legacy, and the only thing he should ever talk about.