It’s not much of a secret that creativity has all but left the building known as Hollywood. Besides just terribly unoriginal movies, there are too many sequels, too many remakes, and too many movies about toys, roller coaster rides, and board games. Indeed, this has been the state of things for the majority of the past decade (2007 notwithstanding).
Leave it to James Cameron then — who, in addition to being a billionaire blockbuster filmmaker, has recently taken up film criticism — to state the obvious point.
In an interview with the German website Spiegel Online, Cameron was rather blunt about badmouthing the upcoming Battleship film, based on the Hasbro board game of the same name.
Check out the quote below:
“We have a story crisis. Now they want to make the Battleship game into a film. This is pure desperation. Everyone in Hollywood knows how important it is that a film is a brand before it hit theaters. If a brand has been around, Harry Potter for example, or Spider-Man, you are light years ahead. And there lies the problem. Because unfortunately these franchises are become more ridiculous. Battleship. This degrades the cinema.”
This isn’t the first time James Cameron has taken to openly criticizing movies by fellow filmmakers. Previously, Cameron called Piranha 3D an example of bad 3D filmmaking:
“I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3-D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the ’70s and ’80s, like Friday the 13th 3-D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. And that’s not what’s happening now with 3-D. It is a renaissance — right now the biggest and the best films are being made in 3-D. Martin Scorsese is making [The Invention of Hugo Cabret] in 3-D. Disney’s biggest film of the year — Tron: Legacy — is coming out in 3-D. So it’s a whole new ballgame.”
Cameron neglected to mention that Piranha 3D was actually satirizing those movies from the 70s and 80s. Whether or not it did a good job of it, that’s up for debate — though it did get generally positive reviews.
First of all, as I said before, I totally agree with Cameron that Hollywood has a story crisis on their hands. The past year, while peppered with gems, was pretty rough for the American cinema. That said, while Avatar made approximately a googol dollars at the box office – and was mighty fine entertainment to boot – it wasn’t exactly an original tale. Mix one part Pocahontas, one part Dances with Wolves, one part Aliens, twenty parts Fern Gully, twenty-eight parts Call Me Joe, and one part The Blue Man Group, and you’ve essentially got Avatar’s story.
Also, it’s not unheard of for a movie based on a board game to be good. For example, the 1985 film Clue is a movie I can watch ad infinitum – thanks to a great cast and great writing. Who’s to say Battleship won’t be the same? The director, Peter Berg, has proven himself to be fairly capable with movies like The Rundown and Friday Night Lights, and it’s not as if the plot is going to see actors Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsård, and Rihanna just sitting around playing the actual board game (though that could be good, too).
Battleship is America’s all time favorite game for a reason, people!
I’m not saying I expect Battleship to be good, I’m just saying – give peace a chance, James Cameron. Give. Peace. A chance.
Battleship, which may or may not be about the US Navy’s response to an alien invasion, hits theaters May 18th, 2012. Only time will tell if (gulp) James Cameron will enjoy it. Though one would assume that, due to the movie taking place primarily in the ocean water, he would?