Weekend Roundtable: What Should I Say to James Cameron?

This Tuesday, I’ll be attending the Blu-Con convention in Los Angeles to moderate a discussion panel on Blu-ray interactivity. James Cameron will be the keynote speaker at the event. Let me be clear: James Cameron will not be on my panel. There is very little chance that I will speak to him, and basically no chance at all that I would use any of your suggestions if I did. But, just for fun, what would you have me say to him?

Bonus points if your suggestions are horribly rude. To give you some ammunition, I was not a big fan of ‘Avatar‘ at all.

For my part, if I have the opportunity, I think I’ll beg Cameron not to recolor any more of his movies teal and orange the way he did to ‘Aliens’ on Blu-ray.

This week, we’re also joined by Aaron Peck, who many of you will recognize as one of our site’s Blu-ray reviewers.

Dick Ward

“Mr. Cameron, my name is Joshua Zyber, and I’m here on behalf of, well, everyone frankly. I, or rather we, would like you to stop. We note that you haven’t directed a truly great movie since 1989, and you haven’t been involved in anything watchable since ‘Titanic.’ No, documentaries don’t count. You’re drowning in a metaphorical pool of undeserved credibility and could easily drown in a literal pool of your own money. You’ve done everything you can do, and it’s only going to go downhill from here. It’s time to give back to the people you’ve taken so much from. It’s time to go out like a hero, Jimmy. It’s time to stop. Just stop. We’re asking nicely. Please, for the good of cinema, just stop.”

I went through a few iterations, but settled thusly. For best effect, you should tackle him to the ground* as he’s on his way out of the men’s room to get him scared, so you can get straight to the man instead of having to talk through the air of smugness.

* Dick Ward does not endorse the actual tackling of James Cameron and is not responsible for the consequences of any such action.

Drew Taylor

Let us first ponder for a moment our friendly neighborhood Zyber. He’s sitting there, at this Blu-ray conference, taking in fascinating panels like “Cute Sound Effects That Accompany Pop Up Menus – Love Them or Leave Them?” and “Some Movies Deserve To Look Sort of Crummy.” Then the big moment comes: a speech given by James Cameron who will, in the coming years, no doubt be responsible for scrubbing all of his earlier features clean and releasing them on Blu-ray (since, as the recent announcement of ‘Avatar 2’ & ‘3’ confirm, the dude really, really loves money). Josh raises his hand, revealing digits bejeweled in regal gems, and asks a question – a question supplied by one of us.

Because I don’t really have anything pressing that the man can answer (besides: “Will Sigourney Weaver really be coming back to ‘Avatar’ via the tree?”), and since Cameron’s recent comments about ‘Piranha 3D’ struck me as unnecessarily dickish, I guess I’d lob something fairly innocuous in his direction. So my question (through Josh) would have to be: “Did you find Nimrod Antal and Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Predators’ to be a flattering homage to what you attempted to do with ‘Aliens’? Or, like the rest of the country, did you simply skip it?”

Aaron Peck

Mr. Cameron, since we’re going to get (for some unexplained reason) a reissue of ‘Titanic’ in 3-D that we never asked for, I want to know exactly how big Kate Winslet’s boobs are going to appear. Are they going to jut forth from the screen with such stunning 3-D clarity that I’ll find myself speechless? Or are they going to look weird and oblong due to a retro-fitting of the 3-D technology? I couldn’t care less about what the boat is going to look like as people fall from it when it sinks. Are the boobs going to get a fair shake?

Speaking of 3-D, is it possible that we just get re-releases of all of your movies in the format? When ‘Avatar 2’ comes out and breaks all the records you set with ‘Avatar’, it will be the perfect time to sneak in a couple of your old 3-D features to piggy-back on the ‘Avatar 2’ sequel’s success. ‘True Lies’ in 3-D – now that would be a hoot!

One last question, Mr. Cameron: How does it feel to have an ex-wife who makes better movies than you do?

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

It didn’t take long to get to the point where I hear people groan whenever the voiceover booms “Coming to theaters in 3-D” attached to a movie trailer. Comic-Con audiences repeatedly erupted in applause whenever a director mentioned that his next flick would be in 2-D only. Some of this I’m sure is because of lousy 2-D to 3-D conversions, and some of it may just be the ubiquity. Do you think it could just be a matter of another ‘Avatar’-like success for audiences to fully embrace 3-D once again, or is the damage that’s been done irreparable? Should 3-D be used sparingly so that each release is viewed as a sort of “event,” or should it be an option in a filmmaker’s toolkit like any other?

Mike Attebery

You know, after I spent the better part of a weekend last spring preparing interview questions for a confirmed Q&A with Mr. Cameron that was ultimately scrapped at the very last minute without any apology or explanation, I kind of lost interest in picking the man’s brain. For the sake of the Roundtable, here are three questions:

  1. Before you spend the next five years plugging away on those ‘Avatar’ sequels, could you just take six months and give us some Blu-rays for ‘True Lies’ and ‘Titanic”
  2. Any chance the idea for ‘Avatar’ was something you ripped off from Roger Corman at a brainstorming session in the early ’80s?
  3. Seriously, why did you cancel our interview?

All right, now it’s your turn. Give it your worst!


  1. Josh: Mr. Cameron, how does it feel to now be compared to George Lucas with what you are doing to your movies, and hated almost as much?

    James Cameron: Both Lucas and myself are still producing blockbuster movies that make more in day than you will make in a lifetime.

    Josh: But what about the fans that perfer the original versions of your films, and hated Avatar?

    Cameron: You know that you will buy whatever crap I will turn out, no matter how bad it is. You know that you will go see both Lucas’s Star Wars, and my Titanic in 3D, no matter how much you claim you hate it. You will pick up every single home video release of Aliens, no matter what I do to it. And when Avatar 2 comes out, no matter how much you said you hated the first, you will go see it, then see it again with your friends, then see it again with your brother-in-law. Point is, no matter how much you say you hate my movies, you are still part of the machine that makes me one of the richest directors in movie history! Any more questions?

    Josh: Um, what do you think about annoying sound effects on menus….

  2. Mike

    Josh, I’m really scared you’re gonna run into Cameron now. Have you heard the childhood stories about him cutting the branches out from under his enemy’s treehouse? He’s ruthless Can you arrange for some bodyguards?

  3. “dear mister Cameron- can you please stop? just fucking stop? just make new technology so people who actually make good movies can do their thing with it.”

    “what are your thoughts on na’vi porn?”

    “are you the guy who made the na’vi porn?”

    “do you have to pay royalties to the creators of the films that avatar so blatantly ripped off, you ***********?” (only censoring this one because the word i’m using will NOT go over well with our readers, for a FACT)

    “is there any chance you could be any less connected to what people want?”

    “hey James, did you read my avatar review on highdefdigest.com?”

    “do you, in secret, long to be a tall blue person who can copulate with a weird thing hanging off his head?”

    “have you ever watched the last samurai, fern gully, or pocahontas?”

  4. Jane Morgan

    Mr. Cameron, years ago you optioned Steven Pressfield’s novel, ‘Last Of The Amazons,’ which was an incredible book with an impossible-to-film dramatic structure.

    Did Mr. Pressfield’s half-naked warrior girls inspire your half-naked blue warrior cat girls?

    And why cat girls?

    When I play Oblivion with the nude mod I play a lizard girl thief. Are you going to make Avatar 2 have half-naked teal warrior lizard girls? Maybe Avatar 3 could have half-naked orange warrior dragon girls right after The Hobbit 2 comes out and sucks because it won’t be in 3D.

    Like you, I am a professional screenwriter, may I give you my screenplay?

  5. when you re-master terminator 2 , could you make john sound a little less squeaky?.

    he seems like a nice guy and all but are you really going to work with tom arnold again?

    teal til the cows come home but could you put true lies on blu ray soon?.

    • Josh Zyber

      You win.

      Better yet, I’ll ask him to sign a copy of Avatar, but then hand him Dances with Wolves and act totally oblivious that anything’s wrong.

      I bet he’d sign it. 🙂

  6. Jim,
    Did you really lose Guillermo del Toro’s notebook that he give you about 15 years ago? Or did you think if I take this he’ll leave me alone!

    Have you talked to Ridley Scott about the Alien prequels?

    Is it not about time we had another HD version of T2. The year is almost over and no release date yet!

  7. Brandon

    Josh: “James Cameron, eo ngenga kllkxem, ohe Skxawng. Tsawl nìtxan nang.”

    (Translation: “James Cameron, I stand before you, Moron. Look How big you are…”)

    Cameron: “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

    Josh: “Tsamsiyu! Txopu rä’ä si! Tsamsiyu! Kivä ko!”

    (Translation: “Warrior, don’t be scared, warrior! Lets Go!”)

    Cameron: “Security!”

    Josh: “Wiya. :/”

    (Translation: Dammit.)

    After Being Escorted Out…James Cameron to George Lucas: “Oel pot tspìmìyang, tsakrr za’u aungia ta eywa.”

    (Translation: “I was going to kill him, but there was a sign from Eywa.”)

  8. Patrick A Crone

    Damn. So many questions. Okay here’s one:
    Mr. Cameron, how many more years past 2015 does your contract with the devil last? You know, the contract that allows you to pass rehashed scripts with half a billion dollars worth of visual effects as your own work and make almost six times it’s money back.

  9. Why do you insist on shooting in Super 35 when 50 ASA looks so much better in HD?


    When will you be filming the Hiroshima movie and how much of “The Last Train From Hiroshima” will it be based on?

    • Josh Zyber

      ASA is a rating of film speed, not a specific stock or process. There are a wide variety of film stocks available for both Super 35 and standard “flat” 35mm.

      Anyway, now that Cameron has moved to digital photography, I doubt he’ll be going back to Super 35 again.

      His fondness for Super 35 was based on the ease of doing “open matte” transfers for TV and video. He supervised the pan-and-scan transfers for all of his movies himself. Super 35 gave him the flexibility to reframe his movies shot-by-shot so that they wouldn’t look too badly cropped on TV, if letterboxing wasn’t available.

  10. Josh: “Mr Cameron! Oh, Mr Cameron! Can you face us instead of the mirror for a moment please? Ahh! Thanks! Anyways, my question…

    “Are the rumours true, that George Lucas hired you to film ‘Avatar’ in order to make the Prequel Trilogy look like superbly acted, incredibly scripted, superbly directed, well thought out stories with nuanced and detailed characters in comparison to ‘Avatar’?”

    “Also, is it true that during audtions, Jar Jar Binks turned down the role of Jake Sully, saying that he couldn’t bring himself to play such a simplistic and cliché ridden character?”

  11. Brent Umina

    Mr. Cameron: Your mind has been on vacation since 1995; has it returned from it’s now 15 year hiatus and if so, does it remember how to direct a good film?

    • You know, if it was only two hours long theaters could have shown it one or two more times a day, which would have been even more money! You’d think Cameron of all people would have figured that out :p

      • Is it just me, or don’t most of his movies run long? Dances With Wolves, Titanic, Terminator? Aliens at least in the theater was only 137 minutes. That being said, I normally like the longer movies. There is nothing worse than getting out of a movie, wishing it could have gone on for another half hour (Surragates comes to mind).

        • Brent Umina

          Dances With Wolves was done by another pretentious director – Kevin Costner….I can see where the confusion comes in, they both think they’re going to make the world go green because they have retarded amounts of money.

  12. Junie Ray

    Josh: Congratulations on your Oscars for The Hurt Locker

    Cameron: My ex-wife directed that movie, not me.

    Josh: Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t realize. I knew she was your ex-wife, but you guys were so friendly, I thought she was just accepting for you. She looked hot!