James Cameron asks "What’s wrong with commerce?"

James White, for the Empire Blog and in Off the Wire writes about James Cameron dicussing the upcoming Titanic 3D April 2012 release:
And if you’re a sceptic when it comes to 3D films, Cameron has words for the doubters, too. “I don’t care about them. If you could wave a magic wand and give everyone in the world an orgasm simultaneously, there’d still be cynics looking for a way to criticise that. First of all, what’s wrong with commerce? What’s wrong with making jobs for people in movie theatres around the world? What’s wrong with entertaining people? If people don’t show up, then we were wrong. If people show up, we’re giving them what they want and if they show up again? We’re really giving them what they want, because they’re willing to pay for it twice. So it’s really just a gamble that the film has the same impact on audiences now. And that’s an experiment. Every movie is. It’s business. It’s art and business put together and I have no problem with that whatsoever.”
The irony to all of this is what Cameron believes is ‘first’ – namely, commerce. I understand the business model of studios and how making money is the priority but the fact that Cameron is so blatent about his intentions makes me feellike a mug if I paid for the viewing. The fact that Michael Bay could say the same thing – Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen was released, rushed and not properly executed because the first priortity was ‘commerce’. The priority was not equality of sex’s – with Megan Fox pretty much playing a porn-star-who-keeps-her-clothes-on and the priority was not sensible script for clearly-African-American robots … it was a simple case of Make Film, Make Money. Unfortunately, it did, and therefore set in motion other films that will continue to misrepresent races and gender and crucially, producers will not see the neccessity of a good script for a film. Bottom line is that it made money and thats the ‘first’ priority.

I’m going to throw something out there – I don’t thing James Cameron is a good filmmaker. Granted Aliens is alright, but it hardly has the artistry of Alien and the characters within the film are completely 2D – knuckle-head marines who hold big guns. Big Deal. The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day are similar affairs, lots of special effects but hardly anything more than eye candy: Big guy with gun … shoots people. Avatar, in terms of story, was nothing new… and simplified a potentially-interesting story about patriotism and identity. Other than the special effects, Cameron has very little. In fairness, he can shoot Special Effects too … but in terms of telling an interesting story? He clearly understands the priority of commerce being the ‘first’ priority – but to what extent. Does he know – or care – that his own lack of story and lack of characterisation is devaluing scriptwriters? Does he consider the knock-on effect of his filmmaking ‘prioritisation’ and how it damages cinema in the short term (Consider all the awful 3D conversions…) The fact that the whole model of converting films into 3D is actually stopping people going to the cinema?

A quarter of the survey’s respondents cited 3D as something that put them off going to the cinema. Other reasons for not going to the cinema included ticket prices, the constant glut of remakes and reboots and other people playing with their phones during films.

Read the full article by Stuart Heritage on The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/nov/11/cinema-3d-video-on-demand

Yes, we know that the business of cinema is the business of product – creating something that will sell. But I think Cameron is simplifying the concept of money-making-cinema to a point that it is damaging cinemas integrity and, ultimately, the quality of the product. He is the man turning the restaurant into a McDonalds whilst cineastes and film-lovers are desperate for the restaurant to be 5-star – serving high-quality, meaty food that takes time to prepare and is delivered by outstanding-service. We want to remember the experience and think about what was in the food – we don’t want to wolf it down and worry about how bad it is for your health.
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2 comments

  1. Wow, this was the last straw – I feel let down by Cameron now. I used to think he made movies because he had visions and ideas, and that his main goal was to express his… I don't know, creativity? That man has a lot of money! He shouldn't re-release a film just to make money.

  2. Damn straight. I know that Hollywood is built on the idea of capitalism and commercialism – not merely 'art for arts sake'. Reality is, it should be a balance/conflict between the two. The studios ensuring that the art is accessible to all whilst the artist strives to bring quality to the film … it shouldn't be the artist and the studio working in tandem to simply rip off the audience in the best way possible

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