Home Uncategorized Can James Cameron and ‘Avatar’ wow again? Don’t doubt it.

Can James Cameron and ‘Avatar’ wow again? Don’t doubt it.

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Can James Cameron and Avatar wow again Don’t doubt it
Can James Cameron and Avatar wow again Don’t doubt it

James Cameron has been living on Pandora for a long time.

But 13 years after the original “Avatar” and five years after starting production on its sequel, “The Way of Water,” Cameron is unveiling the long-awaited follow-up to the highest grossing film of all-time. Speaking the day after “The Way of Water” debuted in London, Cameron — back on Earth and self-admittedly out of practice with the hoopla of a red-carpet premiere — describes the experience of finally having the movie out in the world “surreal.”

“You work on these films kind of in a bubble. You create this world around you with your artists, with your casts and so on,” Cameron says. “Then one day you realize, ‘Oh crap, we’re going to have to show this to people at some point.’”

For a long time, the “Avatar” sequel was the “Waiting for Godot” of blockbusters – more theoretical than real, with release dates that kept spiraling into the future. Meanwhile, an unending parade of pieces pondered the original’s curious place in entertainment: a box-office behemoth with little cultural footprint, a $3 billion ghost.

But the first look at Cameron’s “Avatar” sequel has thrown some cold water on that notion. The overwhelming reaction to the director’s latest three-hour opus? Never bet against James Cameron.

“The important thing is that there are people willing to bet on me and on the ideas that interest me and I want to go forward with” Cameron says, speaking by video conference. “It was 20th Century Fox, Jim Gianopulos specifically, who OK’ed this film to go forward. Then we were acquired by Disney. That could have gone south but it didn’t. The word I got from them all the way along was: ‘We want quality. this movie. We want this movie for the theaters. We want to remind people what the theatrical experience is.’”

Can James Cameron and ‘Avatar’ wow again? Don’t doubt it.

With a reported price tag of more than $350 million, a third “Avatar” film already wrapped and two more films planned after that, the Walt Disney Co. is placing a very big wager, indeed, on “The Way of Water.” But regardless of jokes about blue people or Papyrus font, Cameron’s latest — a deep-blue ocean epic of natural splendor, ecological protectionism and family perseverance — is poised to again blow audiences away, and possibly, once more rake in billions.

The film, which opens in theaters Thursday, might be Cameron’s most ambitious undertaking yet — which is saying something for the 68-year-old filmmaker of “Titanic,” “The Terminator” and “Aliens.”

“I don’t want to do anything but big swings,” Cameron says. “I’m going to fall on my ass sooner or later. But if you’re not ready to fall on your ass, you’re not doing anything interesting.”

We’ve been here before. After cost overruns and delays, “Titanic” was written off as a sure-to-bomb case study of Hollywood excess. Then it made $2.2 billion in ticket sales and won 11 Oscars. Not everyone was pre-sold on “Avatar,” either, which resuscitated 3-D after decades of dormancy.

“‘Titanic’ assumed to be a big steaming pile,” says Cameron. “That was a much bigger flip. And we had a similar flip on a smaller scale with the first ‘Avatar.’ People saw the trailer on a little window on their laptop and called it ‘Smurfs’ and ‘videogame cinematic’ and stuff like that. Then they went to see it in the movie theater and went, ‘Wait, wait. It’s pretty cool.’”

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