Director of the Week: James Cameron
By Sadira Sittampalam
Ceylon Today Features
James Cameron is a Canadian filmmaker known for making science fiction movies as well as epic, big-budget Hollywood movies. He holds the achievement of having directed the first two of five films in history to ever gross over US$2 billion dollars.
Cameron is also a noted environmentalist and has dedicated himself to the cause, being an activist for climate change, creating lots of documentaries on this subject and running several sustainable businesses. Here are the top films from James Cameron:
1. Titanic (1997)
This epic romance film is one that will likely be remembered and watched many many years into the future.
Based on accounts of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, this movie follows Jack and Rose as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage.
Being a truly glorious epic that is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed and just generally spellbinding, there is no doubt that Cameron is a very skilled director. This film must have been a nightmare to shoot as evidenced by the level of detail that was present in the final cut.
There is just an endless array of stunning visuals combined with some good old fashioned melodrama that provides one of the most heartbreaking conclusions even though we all know how it will end. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet also offer themselves up as the romance at the centre of the movie, dedicating themselves to each other but also to the devastation that lies ahead. Overall, this is a near-flawless film that is one of those instances where popular entertainment also happens to be a serious masterpiece, and a film that will forever incite debate over whether Jack could have fit on that door.
2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Sequel to the 1984 film The Terminator, this film follows Sarah Connor and her 10-year-old son John as they are pursued by a new, more advanced Terminator while a second less advance Terminator is also sent back in time to protect John. This film features a host of thrilling action sequences combines with astonishing visual effects. However, what takes this film to the next level is the depth of the human characters, making it one of the best crafted Hollywood action flicks. Every scene manages to set up the next like a series of gears clicking through each riveting action and drama sequence. Cameron really has an eye for depicting grandeur and beauty in a way that doesn’t seem excessive but rather, lyrical. Thus, this is one of those sequels that truly outshines its predecessor.
3. The Abyss (1989)
When an American submarine sinks in the Caribbean, the US search and recovery team works with an oil platform crew, racing against Soviet vessels to recover the boat when deep in the ocean, they encounter something unexpected. Cameron has a well-known fascination with the deep sea and this comes through so well with this film, as the tension and suspense is built up so well enhancing the atmosphere of mystery that surrounds this vast and unknown territory. This thriller tip-toes the line between claustrophobic and gripping, while also managing to be so spectacular in its visual effects and with the interesting cast of characters involved in the recovery. This movie truly had the makings of a masterpiece, however its pay-off leaves us with much to be desired, and while it doesn’t take away from the completely glorious craft, it does make this movie’s rating a few points lower.
4. True Lies (1994)
Based on the 1991 French comedy film “La Totale!”, this film follows US Government agent Harry Tasker who struggles to balance his life as a spy with his familial duties. While this movie doesn’t reach the level of other Schwarzenegger-Cameron collaborations, it still has enough action and humour to distract from its pretty absurd plot. While this film may not have aged well with certain subject matter being mildly sexist and even prejudiced at times, it still has some phenomenal set-pieces along with a great cast. Overall, this film is just one that was made for pure entertainment purposes, and delivering exactly that; it is a fun action movie that has laughs, scares and thrills around every corner.