Writer, director, and producer James Cameron had made a lot of beloved films through the years, including movies like Terminator, True Lies, and The Abyss, three of my favorites.
He’s got a new one out now, a sequel to Avatar which made a buttload of money, then pretty much everyone forgot about Dances With Wolves In Space.
But the new one is getting plenty of press, in part because of Cameron. It seems that he removed 10 minutes of the film because he didn’t want to encourage the fetishization of guns.
Director James Cameron cut ten full minutes from his latest film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” — which still clocks in at a lengthy three hours and 12 minutes — because he was afraid that scenes featuring guns would “fetishize” firearms.
Cameron made the comments during an interview published by Esquire: Middle East, saying that he had struggled to find the line between preserving the film’s necessary action sequences and adding scenes that were more gratuitous and included firearms.
“I actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie targeting gunplay action. I wanted to get rid of some of the ugliness, to find a balance between light and dark,” he said. “You have to have conflict, of course. Violence and action are the same thing, depending on how you look at it. This is the dilemma of every action filmmaker, and I’m known as an action filmmaker.”
Now, on one hand, I have to give Cameron some credit. Too many in Hollywood will demonize guns even while profiting off of them at the box office. It’s a hypocrisy they’ve been hammered with more than once through the years, one Cameron seems to be trying to sidestep.
But on the same token, he’s really full of himself if he actually thinks he has that much say in the public mind.
Yet he does. He goes on to argue that if he were to make Terminator today, it would be very different, and that’s kind of a problem for me.
See, I’ve written a number of novels through the years. I’m a storyteller, and one of the most important things you do when you tell a story is tell the story. You use whatever you need in order to do that.
What Cameron is basically saying is that he’d subvert the story because of his own political agenda.
Now, he’s not the first to do so, but it’s an egregious sin that really makes me not want to watch Avatar: The Way of Water. After all, what other ways did he subvert the needs of the story in order to push a narrative?
Then again, it’s not like Cameron is all there.
Recently, he made headlines for claiming that testosterone was a toxin that needed to be purged from the human body.
As such, it’s no wonder that so much of his work lately has been crap.
But what about removing gun fights? Is that really an issue?
Look, every film has to cut footage that doesn’t advance the story. That’s why you get deleted scenes when you buy a DVD. Some of those scenes are individually awesome, but they don’t advance the story enough to justify them.
So Cameron cutting 10 minutes of footage doesn’t bother me.
It’s the fact that he singled out the gunfights that is concerning.
See, Cameron thinks that he has some sway over the American people, that movies like Terminator somehow drove the gun culture to even exist. So, he’s going to alter his own work to somehow try and undermine that.
Frankly, James, you’re giving yourself too much credit.
Now, understand that there are some bits from many of his movies that get recycled by gun folks. That’s inevitable when you create an action movie that enters the cultural zeitgeist to some degree. Yet he’s overestimating just how deeply that goes.
Sure, a few people thought the lever-action shotgun in Terminator 2 was pretty dope, but a look at shotguns for sale makes it clear that there aren’t many of them available. That’s because it was cool on the screen and that was that.
And don’t get me started on the whole “fetishization” thing. Guns are not fetishized by anyone. We respect them and enjoy them, but they’re not an object of obsession or part of any sexual gratification. All Cameron is doing is using buzzwords to make it sound like he’s a responsible filmmaker and trying to prevent violence in the real world.
Yet he doesn’t grok that by doing so, he’s implying that Hollywood actually is responsible for things like mass shootings. He’s opening the door for still more blame to be leveled at him and his buddies the next time someone who liked one of his movies shoots up a school or a church.
He’s essentially accepting responsibility for violence.
Maybe he shouldn’t have purged that testosterone. The lack of it is clearly screwing with his ability to think.