Crank of the Week - March 22, 2010 - James Cameron
Fox threw a party for James Cameron and producer Jon Landau to drum up publicity before the pending release of their mega-blockbuster movie, Avatar, on DVD. The gathering of nearly 100 journalists from around the world included a screening of sample video clips from the movie. Not that the people in attendance had never seen Cameron's sexy blue aliens before—the clips were to show the quality of the conversion from big screen 3D to 2D for home consumption. The movie mogul opened the program by pledging an environmental theme to the release of Avatar into the home video market. The video release of Avatar is now set for April 22, which just happens to be Earth Day. And then someone mentioned Glenn Beck.
Cameron almost managed to eclipse the shindig's intended message when he called Fox News channel personality Glenn Beck an “f---ing asshole.” Cameron was apparently upset over Beck's reaction to his 2007 documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, which casts doubt on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “He's dangerous because his ideas are poisonous,” said Cameron. Then, realizing that his remark might be considered a bit over-the-top even in Hollywood, he softened his verbal assault a bit, saying: “I think, you know what, he may or may not be an asshole, but he certainly is dangerous, and I'd love to have a dialogue with him.”
Maybe Cameron was still miffed that his ex-wife's movie collected most of the meaningful Oscars, leaving Avatar the scraps. But his tiff with Beck, who can indeed be an asshole on occasion, is not the reason for this Crank of the Week award. Both Beck and Jesus are capable of defending themselves. No, this award is because the Avatar director next focused his wrath on those who don't accept global warming as fact. “That's right,” Cameron said. “I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads.” All we can say is “name the time and place.”
“Anybody that is a global warming denier at this point in time has got their head so deeply up their ass I'm not sure they could hear me,” Cameron added for good measure (do we detect a bit of anal fixation here?). By making the environment the theme of his home video release plan, Cameron thinks he is sending a message. “Look, at this point I'm less interested in making money for the movie and more interested in saving the world that my children are going to inhabit. How about that? I mean, look, I didn't make this movie with these strong environmental anti-war themes in it to make friends on the right, you know.”
Only those living in the La La Land of Hollywood can believe that a visual confection staring naked blue lion people cavorting in a jungle wonderland conveys an effective environmentalist message. Having seen the film we can report that it is highly entertaining but that the plot, such as it is, is a derivative mishmash of a dozen other Sci Fi movies and novels. Lot's of action mixed with simplistic messages: military guys bad, sexy blue natives good, nature wins over technology in the end. Yo, Jim, it's a fantasy. A commercially successful, highly entertaining fantasy—not a documentary about saving the planet.
A victim of inter-planetary genocide or just another James Cameron fantasy?
Not that the tone of Avatar doesn't lean to the left. The primary antagonist, evil commander Colonel Miles Quaritch played by a menacing Stephen Lang, orders his troops to “fight terror with terror.” By this he means attacking the nature-loving, innocent blue natives, the Na’vi, who ask only to continue living in their treehouse apartment complex which also happens to hold the souls of all their departed. There is no doubt that the soliders are tools of a heartless corporation dedicated to raping the planet, natives be damned. If anyone missed the “subtle” anti-military message, the phrase “shock and awe” is actually used to describe the incipient slaughter.
“This guy is making a billion dollars on a Smurf-murdering movie and he's stewing about a joke that nobody heard on a network nobody watched!” Beck said, referring to his comments about the director made during a CNN special in 2007. “It's time to walk away from the CGI, Jim. Just for a minute.”
Making money off a movie about inter-planetary genocide isn't Cameron's only source of livelihood. Bloody money from older films continues to swell Cameron's personal coffers. Fox is targeting Spring 2012 for the release of the 3D version of Titanic, timed to coincide with the “100 year anniversary of the sailing of the ship.” What a fitting memorial to those who died in that disaster, making millions of dollars more off their personal tragedy.
Sailing in 3D on a sea of bloody money.
Making several of the top grossing films of all time, no matter how exploitative, makes James Cameron a genius of a film maker, but it in no way makes him the final authority on global warming. Still, when your last two feature films have grossed over $3 billion at the box office worldwide, you can pretty much say whatever you want—even if you don't know what you are talking about.
According to the 2007 CNN transcript, Beck said this of Cameron: “Many people believe James Cameron officially has tossed his hat in the ring today and is officially running for anti-Christ.” No Glenn, Cameron is running for your job: dangerous asshole. So congratulations James Cameron, you can add this Crank of the Week to your collection of Oscars™.