(Editor’s Note : Meet Katie Crocker, kids! She’s a Los Angeles-based film student who, I’ve discovered over the past month or so, could give a Wikipedia a run for its money when it comes to rolling off film facts and information. Here’s the first of Kat’s ‘Spoonful of Kat’ columns – love it, the gal speaks her mind! – that you’ll be seeing throughout 2010 here on Moviehole. Make her feel welcome, y’all!)
The Importance of Being Cameron
There comes a time in every film fanaticâ€™s life when you begin to realize that the relationship between a filmmaker and yourself can no longer be defined as something objective but instead as some sort of twisted personal relationship. For some, this may entail loving every single film or project released by a favorite director or talent. Yet for others, it becomes a matter of knowing the director like you know your best friend. You come to realize their strengths and weaknesses, their style, timing, and all the other boring shit that nobody really cares about except me. Needless to say, this type of love affair can quite simply describe my unaltered love and admiration for Mister James Cameron. While his talent is unquestionable and his art of visual storytelling almost perfection, over the years Iâ€™ve come to see his flaws, and as painful as they are for me to acknowledge, it still doesnâ€™t keep me from wanting more from the temperamental movie mogul himself.
Cameronâ€™s greatest strength has and always will be his ability to make an audience believe where heâ€™s taking them. In my eyes, James Cameron not only created but mastered this art of filmmaking. Be it a story involving aliens, robots taking over the world, or lanky blue creatures, this filmmaker can slap you right in the middle of his make believe and he can keep you there, mind you, for however long he wants. This fact alone can quite easily supersede the flaws, no matter what they are, whether its unbelievable dialogue or an awkward scene, I believe what heâ€™s selling and trust me, itâ€™s not cheap. The easiest example of this would be his new release â€œAvatarâ€ and while Iâ€™d like to ramble on and on about the perfection of â€œAliens,â€ this is a dissection of the filmmaker himself and not of his greatest but of his everything, including the good, the bad and the ugly. So, take â€œAvatarâ€ for example, now, I have to admit, I was a little doubtful about the believability of Pandora and the phrase â€œI donâ€™t know about thisâ€ could often be heard muttered through my skeptical lips after watching the trailer for the hundredth time in a row. Yet walking out of the movie theater I realized that Cameron can make me believe in anything, even blue creatures masking as Indians as Pocahontas and John Smith fall in love all over again. It didnâ€™t matter that the beginning of the film was way too quick and came off as awkward. It didnâ€™t matter that some of the dialogue was stilted and just didnâ€™t sound natural. It didnâ€™t even matter that I stifled a giggle as I watched a blue creature hold the human form of Jake Sully. It didnâ€™t matter because I believed in Pandora and I liked being there, for nearly three hours mind you! Maybe it was the beautiful scenery; maybe it was the well developed personal relationship within the Mother Nature loving planet, who knows! All I know is that when I peeled my ass off of that red sticky chair, I felt like I had been skyrocketed back down to planet earth and found reality a little unsettling.
While making me a believer may be the directorâ€™s greatest strength in regards to filmmaking, there is also something appealing about his gritty personality that makes him all the more attractive. Sure, we all know his personal short comings, his temper, his ability to not only make you cry once but to sign up for it again and his painstakingly perfectionist obsession. Yet, within all this lies a sort of affection for his flaws, because without them, he probably wouldnâ€™t have insisted on taking shots through a 2-D lens for a movie that he knew would make him more money in the 3-D audience with 3-D tricks. He threw aside the idea that 3-D would determine the story of his film and instead used it to develop the experience of film viewing. This speaks volumes of his respect for his profession and in my eyes, more of a respectable filmmaker. His hard ass reputation and control freak like demeanor also enables him to know exactly what he wants, when he wants it, only serving his audience another favor by delivering only what he thinks we should experience and to what extent. Combine all these with his determination and talent to boot and you have the recipe for what will almost always produce great feature films.
And letâ€™s face it, doing it his way, is what almost always works.
So, while at times, I may roll my eyes at an occasional line or two or perhaps even raise my eyebrows over a cheesy scene, the importance of being James Cameron is his ability to make me believe in his world and well, isnâ€™t that his damn job?
- Kat Cordova