James Cameron Sinks 'Battleship,' Says It "Degrades" Cinema

by Kevin Jagernauth
January 11, 2011 4:33 AM
11 Comments
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While we've taken our fair share of jabs at Universal's $200 million board-game-turned-alien-invasion-movie "Battleship," leave it to James Cameron, Lord and Commander of all things 3D and blockbuster-driven to deliver the most caustic zinger yet against the film.

In an extensive interview with SpiegelOnline (seriously, James Cameron seems to give more interviews when he's not making movies than when he is; but we digress), the director follows up an extended riff about how soulless Hollywood is (no joke) and gets truly fired up when the topic moves over to the lack of original ideas or stories in Hollywood. Here's Cameron uncut (and apologies for Google Translate's wonkiness):

"Yes. We have a story crisis. Now they want to have to sink ships "from the game" make a movie! This is pure desperation, because now the Sequel Business Hollywood governed or how we call it: the franchise. This means turning from something already successful a sequel, because everyone in Hollywood knows how important it is that the movie before it comes into the cinemas, is already a brand. If a brand has been around, "Harry Potter" for example, or "Spider-Man, you are light years ahead. And there lies the problem. Unfortunately, because these brands are always ridiculous. Battleship! This degrades the cinema."

We find absolutely hilarious that James Cameron is willingly oblivious to the fact that his own "Avatar" is a big branding and merchandising machine itself, not to mention that two more sequels are on the way. But hey, we guess when you make one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, you can say whatever the fuck you want.

No response yet from Peter Berg, but we guess that Cameron won't be getting a Valentine's Day card. In Cameron's defence, "Battleship" sounds like a camp classic in the making with a bizarro cast -- Liam Neeson,Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, pop star Rihanna, Tom Arnold, Hamish Linklater and model Brooklyn Decker -- and it has many hurdles it needs to clear before a) making us believe that Rihanna is in the Navy and b) giving us any reason not to laugh it out of the theater.

We guess that James Cameron won't be in line for "Battleship" when it opens on May 18, 2012.

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More: Films, Peter Berg, Battleship

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11 Comments

  • respighifan | March 20, 2011 6:26 AMReply

    Being a fan of the old naval battlewagons, I think this could turn out to be one awesome film

  • John B | January 11, 2011 9:13 AMReply

    Peter Berg should stay away from this kind of film. He may have turned Hancock into a watchable film but I'd rather see him make more films like The Kingdom. What a sell out. This film sounds so stupid. Save your money! And Liam Neeson is turning into the biggest acting whore on the planet! From Schindler's List to the A Team -- gag!

  • Brian Satchfield | January 11, 2011 9:07 AMReply

    The only storyline Battleship will be taking from the board game is the fact that there are battleships to be sunk. The filmmakers will have to develop the rest of the story unless the entire film is really about two guys taking turns calling out...

    "B6."
    "Miss."
    "D4.""
    "Miss."

    On the other hand, AVATAR is essentially a character-for-character copy of Dances with Wolves. Cameron just set it in space so he could show off his prowess with visual effects.

    Cameron has gotten to the point where he criticizes anyone or anything that was not developed by him or his comrades. He's a joke. A rich, successful joke, but a joke indeed.

    I'm not saying that Battleship will be good; just that Cameron should find better things to do than pan other filmmakers efforts.

  • Greg | January 11, 2011 9:02 AMReply

    While watching Avatar, did anyone else notice the obvious resemblence, (re-telling...re-branding) of the disney script of Pochihonas?

  • David | January 11, 2011 8:56 AMReply

    AVATAR was an original storyline. It will become a franchise when the sequels come out, but that doesn't change the fact that it was Cameron's original story. Cameron is, like all of us, just sick of all the rehashing of existing brands in Hollywood. I'm sick of it. Any movie which presents a new and original story is already ahead of most of the remakes and sequels out there.

  • Ken | January 11, 2011 6:53 AMReply

    Yeah but Avatar is his own original creation. He's talking about brands that are familiar to audiences before the first movie is even made.

  • Papushi | January 11, 2011 6:46 AMReply

    Jesse Avatar is a franchise. Cameron's already spoken of two more sequels.

  • Jesse Kellestine | January 11, 2011 6:20 AMReply

    I more think he's talking about Hollywood not branching out of "Franchise" hits. For example Harry Potter, Superheroes etc are existing franchises and are likely to at least make their money back.

    Avatar, and most recently, Inception, aren't existing franchises and did very well, I'm thinking Cameron was just sick (as are a lot of people) of companies just looking to make a movie based on an existing franchise.

  • Sid | January 11, 2011 6:17 AMReply

    I'm not a fan of everything Cameron does or says, but I see where he's coming from.
    I don't have a problem with books or films becoming brands, franchises, games, or sequels as long as the book/film is the first in the sequence.
    Of course, it's classic big business doing what it always does - trying a shortcut to prevent risk by saving money, time, effort, etc..and fucking it all up in the process.

  • Brendan | January 11, 2011 5:41 AMReply

    I don't know about "camp classic", perhaps if Berg was a less serious-minded director...my gut says this may just be an awkward failure, but if he managed to show a campy side or (even better) deliver something as occasionally transcendent as FNL, I'd be happily surprised.

  • gedn | January 11, 2011 5:17 AMReply

    Well, Avatar had a story crisis too!

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