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Is he in it for the money?

Now that there's talk of Avatar being re-released after the summer blockbusters, there has been a lot more vocalization from haters that Cameron is only in the game for the money. It's hard not to see why they might think that because who wouldn't be satisfied with 2.6 billion dollars. And now he's going to re-release Titanic? As if he didn't need any more money right?


The rationale behind re-releasing Avatar was because it got muscled out too early by Alice in Wonderland, a movie which, lets face it, had a tremendously shallow plot, exploitive 3D visuals, and sub-par acting: coincedentally all the things that self-centered and overpaid "critics" have bashed Avatar for. For those who didn't understand what Avatar was trying to say, I say to you "How the hell could you understand anything Johnny Depp said?" More over, James Cameron has little influence over the distribution of the film. The hands that crank the cogs of distribution are at 20th Century Fox, and let's face it, studios have never tried to hide that their primary motivator was money, money, money.

Then of course is the issue of at 3D Titanic release. It's already the second highest grossing film of all time, why bring it back just for more money? Two reasons: most importantly, it will be the 100th aniversary of the ship's sinking. What better way to remember those who perished than one of the most beautiful films of all time? Secondly, by re-releasing a film in 3D that was once only 2D, it can show the world of film that 3D is not just a gimmick anymore, but a wave of the future that can be applied to even the great classics! Imagine Dorothy and Toto skipping down the yellow brick road, which actually appears to continue off into the horizon, or the Wizard's head floating, no longer just a cheap mirror trick. Now a lesser person might think I would repaint the Mona Lisa, but I'm merely speaking abstractly. Cameron reinvented film not to destroy the past and remake the future in his own image, but to pioneer a new way of touching audiences, just like surround sound, and technicolor. To give them the freedom of choice on how best to make their film and no longer be restrained by classical or traditional means.

Cameron was once the darling of the Academy. Titanic walked away with an unprecedented 11 Oscars. They loved him, adored him, idolized him, and to them, he took that and snubbed them. To them he thumbed his nose at them. He left film at what some call the height of his power, to spend time with his family and go deep-sea diving, his other great passion. Cameron, through his millions did not weild power, as was expected of him, but instead held ultimate freedom. The success after Titanic gave him the freedom to walk away from the industry that was licking his heels, and pursue what made him happy. That is freedom. But today they do not want to see the titans survive. Like the Greek gods they tear them down at the height of their power and replace themselves on the pedestals. After nearly 10 years of virtual seclusion, James Cameron returned to spend more than 2 years chasing a dream he had almost two decades ago: Avatar. What resulted was one of the most visually stunning, powerful and beautiful films ever created. It gave us a message of hope, peace, and how we ought to live our lives, without a single syllable of preaching. And for those first few weeks, we held our breath, because we fell in love, but wanted to see it make money, not for the benefit of Cameron, or the studio, but because as the box-office gross rose and rose, we knew that more and more people were seeing it, and that is what mattered, that like the Na'vi, they would be able to truly see it for what it was: a message.

And then it came time for the second half of the gauntelet, the accolades. Would Avatar, like Titanic, be both a financial hit and a critical success? We rejoiced as Avatar came out with 9 Oscar nominations. Not quite the 14 that Titanic had gotten, but a powerful number still. And again we held our breaths, but this time with less optimism. The critics from the beginning, even before the movie aired, resented such a drastic fantasy and ficticious film. They did not want to be raised up, off their dirty planet. They did not want to see Pandora, a pristine view of what the Earth once was, and a testament to how horribly we have desecrated it. Like the sky-people they did not see. But what is worse is that they WOULD not see. They had found their pariah. Why should Cameron enjoy both financial and critical succes? they said. So instead they idolized a different animal in the film jungle: The independant film. Surley, they cried, Avatar is only so popular because it had 200 million dollars to make it! So they reached up, into the floating Halelujah Mountains and pulled it back down to the grime. They wanted to see Avatar brought to the level of Transformers: nothing more than a flashy, expensive, and critically panned film, no matter how much it made. They shouted, it made all its money in 3D and IMAX. They try to justify a reason beyond the scope of the movie why it made so much money, forgetting that people go to see a film because it is good, or because they like it.

Then, like the terminator, came Judgement Day, the Oscars. And we sat in front of our screens, with a fleeting hope that perhaps they would change their minds, that they would see. Then we watched as they turned their words around, praising Avatar and Cameron, but we could tell that their words were tainted. Then, the last of our hopes dashed as Avatar was denied all but 3 awards. I will say this, the Hurt Locker was a fine film, and Kathryn Bigelow is a talented director. However I do not need to state the indignity of the events in the Oscars. But we need to remember the example we have before us, in Cameron. While we screamed on web blogs and chat sites, while we posted scathing remarks on our Facebook status, while we argued with people who justified the loss by saying "special effects don't make a good movie", Cameron was still, calm, and collected. This was not out of some pride or hubris and chose to remain silent, but because he knows that it does not matter what the Hollywood parasites think, each climbing on the shoulders of the other and claiming they are giants. What matters in the end is the number. Not in dollars, but in people, who saw the film, and truly saw what it was. Undeterred, he began work on the next film, because the story is not over, and there are more sky-people who must be taught how to see.

This is my first blog, on any site, about Avatar. I saw the film 7 times, each time in IMAX 3D. I followed the blogs, I heard your voices, and like Eywa we are all connected. On this site,I knew I would find ears to listen to my opinions. This is my first blog and I wrote it also to be my last, unless I am called to speak again, by any who enjoyed what I have written. I hope the length of this blog did not deter you, and if you have made it this far I am grateful. To conclude I will say this: we must remember that Avatar, in time, will become more than just a film, but an ideal, a statement, and a message. If we truly love it, then we must make sure that it does not o the way of Star Wars. I trust Cameron enough not to sell his soul like Lucas, but we have a role too. Endless sequels and sindicated shows will only diminish the message. Films must die too, but wilbut they live on in memory. But will it be remembered as a flashy, expensive blockbuster that spawned a sickening franchise? Or will history remember that it was the film that woke us out of our stupor, and opened our eyes, to help us see.

Thank you for listening.

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