James Cameron

For Cameron’s expertise in atmosphere, research, and camerawork, he certainly lacks in characterization and storytelling. His weakness in that area was hidden in his early movies that focused almost solely on action, at which he’s a master. But with Titanic and (from what I’ve heard, Avatar), he really is in over his head.

True Lies: The first time I saw this I had a temperature of 104 and thought I was going to die. From strep throat, not the movie. There’s some good action here in the vein of Die Hard, and Jamie Lee Curtis is just about perfect. But Tom Arnold is pretty obnoxious and the scene with the horse lost me completely. I wish it had gone for either complete farce or complete seriousness.

Grade: D

Titanic: DiCaprio and Winslet are amazing actors but not even they could save one of the worst romantic plots I’ve seen. It’s a tragedy, since Cameron does a fantastic job with the actual ship and the actual people on the ship. He is able to evoke a decent amount of emotion with the stories of the crew and those in the lower classes. But the script for the added characters is a complete hatchet job. Billy Zane is so sneeringly evil you wonder why he wasn’t given a twirly mustache.

Grade: C

Aliens: I don’t like this as much as Ridley’s film as I prefer a more slowly building tension, but it’s still an example of a good action movie. Good acting and shot well.

Grade: B

The Terminator: The perfect role for Schwarzenegger, and good casting with Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton. It’s nice to have a heroine who is strong but actually seems like an every day person. Good tension. I love the way Cameron keeps things dark and generally slower-paced for most of the movie. Special effects lack at times. I’m also crazy about the soundtrack.

Grade: A- 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Much like the sequel to Alien, T2 is less about suspense and more about action. When I saw this in 1991 I was blown away by the special effects and they still hold up every well to this day. In fact, “liquid metal,” instantly became a new thing in the vocabulary of most people I knew. Exceptional casting with Robert Patrick; he absolutely kills it as the villain and the movie isn’t the masterpiece it is without him. Eddie Furlong’s first acting experience, and despite some troubles with projecting, I think Cameron directs him well. I believe this kid and his emotional turmoil. And talk about a transformation for Linda Hamilton.

Grade: A+

Other James Cameron Movies You May Have Seen

Avatar
The Abyss
Piranha Part Two: The Spawning

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5 thoughts on “James Cameron

  1. I never cared for the romantic part of The Titantic, and especially DiCaprio’s roll in it. I think the director threw that all in because the people who buy the most TV tickets are those who are at the romance stage of their lives, who love a good love story. However, I still loved the movie, especially the reenactment of the ship hitting the iceberg, and then how thereafter it affected the crew of the ship and all its passengers. My favorite part of the movie was when the crew were trying to keep the engines running when the water reached the bottom level of the ship, and I also liked parts before they struck the iceberg, the history of talking about it reenacted, as in this ship will never sink . . . famous last words.

  2. We have a completely different opinion of True Lies. I love that movie, especially Bill Paxton.

    Also, do see The Abyss. Do not see Avatar.

    • I think True Lies has a pretty strong standard deviation. Most people either love it or hate it, even among people’s whose opinions I respect.

  3. I wish it had gone for either complete farce or complete seriousness.

    I do think it went for complete farce. True Lies is one of the most complete action movies I’ve ever seen for this reason. I don’t know if there’s a more self-aware movie.

    Titanic was a total joke. Characters were awful, script unreadable. Ugh.

    Avatar, amazingly, is worse. The villain is more one-dimensional and says a lot of things that made me laugh out loud. I think it’s the worst movie I’ve seen in the last ten years.

    Alien and the Terminator movies, of course, I love. Cameron is…something. He’s a douchebag, but he knows how to shoot an action scene.

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