Today sees the launch of James Cameron’s 1997 epic, Titanic, now post-converted to 3D. This conversion came of the back of the unbridled successes of Avatar 3D, which will released on Blu-ray 3D in October, but surrounding all this, Cameron has been talking more and more about his upcoming sequels to Avatar.
2009 saw the decade long project of Avatar come to fruition. Back in 1999, talk of James Cameron’s next project, after Titanic, was vague, as he only discussed the pitch and banged on about the technology not being ready.
And he wasn’t talking about 3D either, he was actually developing the motion capture technology, which would quite rightly become one of the most important technical developments to hit filmmaking in years.
The 3D was the selling point but that fad will and already is passing by, leaving the film’s true accomplishment, Mo-cap to herald the movie as a cinematic achievement.
The story was nothing spectacular, often given nicknames leaning towards the films derivative narrative, such as “Dances With Smurfs” and “Smurfahontas”! But it was a huge financial success, it was very well shot and it looked great. A sequel is well deserved but two, really?
Nothing good comes from back to back sequels as the story becomes contrived and episodic, (take The Matrix and Pirates Of The Caribbean for examples), but Cameron is now saying that, “[he] is only in the Avatar business for the foreseeable future”, and that a fourth feature could be on the way, and in fact be a prequel!
Is it just me, or is this getting a bit ridiculous? Earlier this week, I read an article, regarding Peter Jackson, as his stretching of The Hobbit, which was a much smaller book that The Fellowship Of The Ring, the first book of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, to THREE films.
The question which was being asked, which I agreed with 95%, was has Jackson got anything left to offer, as he is now revisiting, ringing the franchise dry in the process, his past successes. King Kong (2005) didn’t work and suffered from being drawn out, so the concept of dragging out The Hobbit which was one book in to a movie trilogy smells strongly of cynicism, greed and artistic laziness.
Is Cameron going the same way? Was Avatar good enough to warrant two, or three more films? Will we care about Pandora by the time he finally makes them all?
Personally, Avatar is a good film but it is not the masterpiece that some believe and Cameron has lost the plot in more ways than one. It also remains to be seen whether Jackson is going the same way.
Maybe though, this December with The Hobbit and in 2015 with Avatar 2, the pair may just surprise me and justify their lust for sequel making beyond the quest for making money over art.