James Cameron Compares Avatar Work to Trench Warfare

October 15, 2008
Source: Variety

James Cameron

It's about that time again that we had another update from James Cameron on Avatar. Our last update from Cameron was dated August 9th, so I'm glad we've finally got some new quotes. This time he makes an appearance on the Canadian talk show "The Hour" for a brief interview (you can watch the video below) and obviously talks about how challenging the post-production work is on the film. By the time we get to the December 18th release date next year, he'll have been working in post-production for over two years on Avatar. Not only is that an impressive feat on its own, but Cameron compares it to "trench warfare."

"We finished with the actors…. We're just in this kind of CG hell - trying to create a world from scratch," Cameron explains. "It's like trench warfare. We're working with computer-generated characters that we want to be photorealistic. Its been tough. We've set the bar high. We're just now getting the confidence that it's really going to work." Like Kevin Smith, I really love hearing Cameron talk about almost anything, because he's an absolute genius. Not only is he a great filmmaker, but he's brilliant with cinematic technology, too. While this is obviously grueling work that has "consumed all [his] life," Cameron admits that "its been simultaneously the hardest and the most rewarding film project" he's even worked on.

For the sake of comparison, Cameron throws out this statistic. In Terminator 2, there were 42 CG shots with characters, while in Avatar there are over 1700. They're "of creatures, and characters, and this whole world, an entire alien rainforest and ecosystem." I'm personally very excited for Avatar. But I'm also worried that those who aren't necessarily die-hard James Cameron fans are getting a bit tired of hearing about all this CG content in Avatar over and over. Not only are they concerned that this much CGI might hurt the film, but it's hard to get excited without actually seeing any photos or imagery at all.

Watch the complete interview with James Cameron on "The Hour" below (thanks to Anne Thompson). It's great to watch if you're a Cameron fan, otherwise stick with the quotes we've provided above.

What a better way to finish up this update on Avatar than with a bit of filmmaking wisdom from Cameron himself? He reveals that "I'm pretty passionate about what I do and try to inspire the other people working with me to give 100%… Deriding them doesn't work." That's a belief that everyone should stick to when working on anything. And while you might not necessarily think leadership is important for filmmakers, Cameron assures us that it is, even admitting that he's not the best leader himself. "I think I'm a good filmmaker, but I'm not a natural leader. I've had to teach myself that as I go along." Even if he's not the best leader, he still makes some great movies, and in the end that's what we really want to see the most.

Find more posts: Hype, Movie News, Opinions



It is hard to continuously (not just from FS) lsten to how magical and spellbinding Avatar is going to be without seeing any footage, nay not even a picture, from the film. Maybe im just not trying hard enough but im guessing its just going to look like a cleaner 'Beowolf'.

Marcus on Oct 15, 2008


its james-fcking-cameroon........ its enough to sell.....

evilnik on Oct 15, 2008


This movie is going to be efffin awesome. This guy is, without question, a genius! From Aliens to Terminator, which have been historically amazing films.

big r on Oct 15, 2008


For his sake and for the sake of the movie, I think Cameron needs to stay out of the media for a while. A high-profile, expensive, time-consuming project using cutting edge CGI? Avatar has HUGE potential to be over-hyped, which is death to a project like this. Just remember - people were excited to see WaterWorld once too. *shudder*

Peter on Oct 15, 2008


Am I wrong in thinking that Terminator 2 changed the way we viewed special effects? I think this is going to be a lot like watching T2 for the first time where everyone's going "Oh. Well that's amazing. Lemme pick my jaw up first."

fuelbot on Oct 15, 2008


Titanic would look great in 3-d.

darrin on Oct 15, 2008


Titanic was absolutely horrible! The Titanic was a ship. That's it. The love story thrown on top of that was silly. It was a true chick flick that would have been better if only it had a different title.

Corbw24 on Oct 15, 2008


#7 Apparantely not because it holds the record for... u already know so.

Big r on Oct 15, 2008


I sure hope Avatar is going to be more than another CG cartoon, another Final Fantasy or Beowulf. This style of film making dates fast IMHO. And 2 years of CG is a lot of effort if the storyline doesn't carry it. The visual balance between CG and live action in 300 or LOTR is more appealing to me.

nef deppard on Oct 15, 2008


Wow...I can't believe someone would bluntly say Titanic was "horrible"...A person with a true love of film would never use such a black and white adjective to describe such a masterpiece... Cameron will continue to amaze us as he truly understands the relationship with CG and story structure and is one of the few film makers that does in this transitional age of technology in film.

Peloquin on Oct 15, 2008


I also just saw that Cameron helped write the new Terminator Salvation which gives me a lot more hope for that movie...

Peloquin on Oct 15, 2008


Ummm Hello?! Many of us knew "Waterworld" was going to suck. Cameron WILL NOT fail us!

D-9 on Oct 15, 2008


I liked waterworld there i said it! Jim will make this film awesome and Sigourney is a champ!

werdnafaz on Oct 15, 2008


Waterworld wasn't THAT bad, but I didn't see one cent of the money they spent on it. In Titanic, The Abyss and T2, the money is right there on the screen. Almost every image in those films are priceless. Hell, Aliens was made for 18 million dollars (considerably less than most blockbusters of that time). He knows how to make movies into masterpieces without a Titanic budget. That is why I have my fingers crossed for another James Cameron masterpiece. Then again, I have to stay negative or skeptical. That's how I went into Titanic. I was concerned that Cameron couldn't deliver. And the critics and tabloids didn't think so either. HA! The joke was on us. I came out of Titanic feeling as though I had never really seen a film before and haven't felt the same way since. So, maybe too much hype is bad for a James Cameron film.

Luke on Oct 16, 2008


It is James freaking Cameron though. The man is probably capable of overcoming any obstacle. BUT, how we'll people go into the theater? Will they have this pre-conceived notion that Avatar has to change the way they look at film? Or will they do what I plan to do, which is to let Avatar speak to me on its own terms?? If you see a film, expecting it to be the single greatest thing that you have ever seen... a God among any and all films... that's a lot to live up to. I've got my fingers crossed that Avatar will be the best thing I've seen since Titanic... but that's not really hard given how much crap we've seen over the past decade.

Luke on Oct 16, 2008


Avatar and Watchmen are 2009. winners. Still, I cannot wait for Star Trek even though I'm not a big fan, this looks MOVIE-GEEK-COOL. I'm in love with Movies...even more in Films.

m4st4 on Oct 17, 2008


what`s wrong with water world the only reason it went down is Kevin Costner?

hasan mukaddim on Oct 28, 2008


AVATAR TECHNOLOGY isn't like beowulf.. look that..

Valerio on Nov 2, 2008

New comments are no longer allowed on this post.



Subscribe to our feed -or- daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main account on twitter:
For the latest posts only - follow this one:

Add our updates to your Feedly - click here

Get the latest posts sent in Telegram Telegram