Industry Immaturity: James Cameron vs. Piranha 3D Producer

Published 5 years ago by

james cameron vs piranha 3d Industry Immaturity: James Cameron vs. Piranha 3D Producer

James Cameron, the man behind the two biggest theatrical releases of all time, and arguably the one person responsible for the recent onslaught of 3D films hitting cinemas, is not shy about sharing his opinion. Ever since his long-in-development blue pet project Avatar hit theaters, we’ve seen countless other movies get the 3D treatment. However, most of these films were not shot that way and have been converted in post production for the simple (financial) reason of garnering higher ticket prices.

A few days ago, Vanity Fair interviewed James Cameron to talk about the re-release of Avatar in theaters, with a few extra minutes of never-before-scene footage. The interview sparked a bit of controversy when Cameron was asked about the release of Piranha 3D and whether or not the Alexandre Aja directed remake sparked any sort of nostalgia in him – considering his history with the franchise.

Mike Ryan of Vanity Fair raised the well-publicized fact of Cameron’s distaste for rushed 3D post-conversion and asked him how he felt about the matter now – considering this phenomenon is in existence in large part due to his vision and the success of Avatar.

“Yes, but that’s not my fault. We worked for four-and-a-half years to make Avatar what it is. There are a number of good movies that are being natively authored in 3-D that are coming out. But what you saw was sort of the gold rush. After Avatar, people tried to cash in. Or, in some cases, like Alice in Wonderland and How to Train Your Dragon— especially the latter, which I think is excellent in 3-D—they were films that were in the pipeline for some time. They weren’t cashing in, they were just coming out. You’re going to see the whole market kind of stabilize and redefine itself over the next couple of years. Look, it’s caveat emptor as well. The consumer needs to be aware that just because a movie is in 3-D doesn’t mean that it’s good. And they can find out online or the media can talk about it. Was it shot in 3-D or was it converted to 3-D? And even conversion itself is not necessarily bad if it’s done right.”

I think most moviegoers can agree that, aside from animated features, we’d prefer movies to be shot in 3D rather than be subject to poor and rushed 3D post conversion, which has never looked good or enhanced a film (think The Last Airbender and Clash of the Titans). However, James Cameron isn’t altogether dismissing post-conversion, since he’s converting his other “biggest film of all time,” Titanic, into 3D.

“Yes, we’re going to prove that point with Titanic. We really want it to be the gold standard of how you do a conversion.”

Due to the difficulties and logistics of actually shooting live-action in 3D, conversion is likely to be what we can expect from the industry going forward, especially for summer tentpole movies. All of your big action blockbusters and superhero comic book movies will be in 3D but many of them will not be shot using 3D technology. In fact, it’s already happening as we speak with Marvel Studios’ Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Thor finished principal photography weeks ago and are deep into post production, yet they have until next May before the film comes out. With eight full months of time to work on the film, we can only hope that they perfect the post conversion 3D – to enhance the moviegoing experience.

avengers 3d Industry Immaturity: James Cameron vs. Piranha 3D Producer

The next part of the interview is where headlines started getting made. Cameron was asked about Piranha 3D and if it brought stirred up any nostalgia in him. The first feature film Cameron ever worked on as a director was Piranha 2, back in 1981, although he wasn’t on the project for long.

Cameron’s answer?

“Zero. You’ve got to remember: I worked on Piranha 2 for a few days and got fired off of it; I don’t put it on my official filmography. So there’s no sort of fond connection for me whatsoever. In fact, I would go even farther and say that… 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 a film 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.”

On one hand, I completely agree that the 3D effect has been abused quite a bit in 2010. We’ve seen so many studios tack on 3D post-conversion for the sole reason of inflating ticket prices. It’s not an artistic or creative decision, it’s 100% financial and that’s not how a film should be treated (if we lived in a perfect world).

Through the outcry of journalists and moviegoers, we have seen a bit of change for the better. Some studios are taking more time, planning in advance for 3D. Films such as Drive Angry and Resident Evil: Afterlife pride themselves on actually shooting in 3D from the start, and others are avoiding 3D entirely, simply because it wouldn’t work to enhance the creative vision (think Jon Favreau on Cowboys and Aliens).

piranha 3d poster 280x415 Industry Immaturity: James Cameron vs. Piranha 3D Producer

James Cameron shows his teeth against crappy 3D

Where James Cameron goes wrong here is in his arguably insulting comments about creativity. Comments like: “When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity” for example. As a fellow-filmmaker, there’s no reason to bash the talent or creativity of a project, especially when you have nothing to do with it. Cameron is super successful at everything he does and, as a result, gets to do whatever he wants. Does he really need to cast stones at the creativity or talent behind Piranha 3D? Taking shots at the use of 3D is one thing, a point I actually agree on, but knocking down the movie when it’s clear he hasn’t seen it, that’s something entirely different.

Piranha 3D is an over-the-top gimmick film and it totally works as such. It completely lives up to what it presents itself as, without taking itself seriously, and that’s why the gimmicky 3D works here – it’s a campy and fun experience. Hell, even most critics are behind it, and despite the film’s graphic violence and nudity, it’s doing fantastic on Rotten Tomatoes, currently sitting at 75% fresh.

In response to Cameron’s comments, Mark Canton, producer of Piranha 3D felt the need to defend his colleagues and sent out a very public response.

Continue to Page 2 to read Canton’s letter in full…

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  1. I still like Cameron and respect his opinion though i disagree with him about Piranha 3D. For one thing, i think it’s silly to bash a movie if you havn’t seen it. And he may not been completely behind Piranha 2 100% but his name is still under it whether he likes it or not and i only seen that movie once and so far its one movie of Cameron’s i didn’t like. Maybe he just can’t stand people enjoy Piranha 3D more than his so-called Piranha 2. When i first went to Piranha 3D, i know i noticed people jumped for sure at a few scenes, not sure if it was because of the 3D. I thought of the film as a carnage candy flick and wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel in hopes it will be good.

    • Research, Cameron had virtually no involvement in Pirahna 2 at all

  2. I saw Piranha 3D with my girlfriend. Yes we knew it was going to be extremely stupid, we watched it just to laugh, and it was pretty funny, lol. But it is pretty stupid and the post-process 3D is pretty crappy…

    But anyway, we all already knew that James Cameron is kind of an a-hole. I’ve been saying that for years, lol. Still love most of his movies though…

      • “About time someone stood up to him”. Ha! Anthony its not like he fedel castro or something lol!

    • this one exploits that and more to a whole new level and fans know about that going into the film

    • @rogue

      LMAO, yah, I thought the whole idea that they survived for millions of years cut off from all food sources through canibalism alone was hilarious… :-D

    • C’mon Lake Placid 3 was better than this!! It had to be! LOL!!

      • The only redeeming factor that Syfy Films have over cinematic crapfests in the multiplex is this: You didn’t pay what, $10-15 a head to take the family to see a movie while wearing sunglasses in a dark theater.

        “I wear mah su-u-unglasses at night…”

    • Escaped mutants was certainly good enough for the original. The “deserted, spooky old lab” scene from that even has a brief shot of a stop-motion failed-experiment fish with legs wandering around. As they do.

  3. I still don’t quite get the hype over Avatar. Sure, the 3D technology was impressive, but as far as it being a movie goes, it’s kind of like Giant Monkey Smurfs meets Dances With Wolves. Not that great, and in plenty of scenes, the 3D, while impressive, is still a gimmick. It was a movie to showcase a new technology more than it was a movie made to tell a story. Cameron is overrated…

  4. Marshall. You obviously haven’t watched any of camerons other films.

  5. Sorry Matt but her having talent isn’t fact it’s more fact that she is talentless than she has talent. People don’t hate her because she is different people hate her because her music sucks and is a bad influence on humanity.

    • Is that what everyone thinks or just how YOU think?

      • Actually daniel she does have talent. She went to juliard and writes and produces her music and writes for other artist as well. Doesn’t mean i lke her stuff cause i don’t like pop music.

  6. Lady Gaga, is an act. She’s a tool being used by the corporate media.

    She’s just the latest VH1 fad, put out there like a street whore to sell sex to young women who can’t escape the click world they are influenced by in school and on tv.

    She’s a perfect device to dumb down young girls and lure them into that kind of false reality.
    She’s fake, screams fake. Fake hair, fake nails, fake talent.

    • I’m not gonna disagree with you 790 that her music isn’t good (IMHO) but she really does have a music degree. But she does look like a giant tampon most of the time.

    • arent all these newest “atrists” fake?

  7. @ Ken J

    Lol i couldn’t believe this couple had these two kids watching it, i could tell the mother didnt expect it to have so much nudity & gore cause i notice her covering her youngest son’s eyes once during a nude scene. I rather enjoyed the film,Jerry o’connell was kinda funny in it.

    • Ok R-rated Spring Breakfest Pirahna buffet, she knew, she’s just ignorant like the rest of parents who take their kids to r-rated flicks before screening it themselves, and then saying oh but I didn’t know the bikinis would come off in an r-rated film like this

  8. Was Piranha 3D intended to be connected to Lake Placid when that lady mentions about how baby alligators were bred as babies and left in a lake by people?

    • It’s more a connection to Alligator than Lake Placid, besides that was a Croc in lake placid ;)

      • I forgot, been awhile since i seen Lake Placid but never seen the sequels since they were straight to dvd sequels and i most straight to dvd sequels i didnt enjoy. I didnt even know there was a Lake Placid 3. I been meaning to rent the 2nd film since it has John Schnieder in it. Never saw Alligator cause video store here doesnt have it on dvd.

  9. @ Rob Keyes or Vic

    Do any of you know who or where i could send drafts of movie ideas for a X-men 4, 5, 6 as trilogy? I had few people look over what i had and liked some of the stuff i had in mind.

  10. Sully, a musical degree is meaningless…

    • Well with that mindset 790, so is a degree in design, creative writing, anything in film. I take you don’t play any musical instruments?

  11. @ 790

    I never listened to Lady Gaga but seen pictures of her. To me, she seems she wants to be the next Madonna for this generation.

  12. Sully if you want to stand by that point fine. I guess anyone with a degree is talented.

    I guess Mcg is talented because he went to film school.

    • hahahha

  13. 790, she writes and produces her own music, not very many pop stars do that. weather you like it or not does not dictate talent. If you have better music that you’ve writin I’d love to hear it. I’m not saying I like her music but I respect the fact that she does what she wants. Espescially in this day and age where producers run most creative processes in all media forms. Look at Metallica, now thats a bunch of talent less hacks, They can’t do crap without a producer and every album changes with the change of producers.

  14. Sully does Lady Gaga burn and sell her albums exclusivley on her website? Is she self produced? Has her own distribution company?

    You don’t think Lady Gaga has a production company backing her every move, directing her on her every public apperance. Advising her on what to wear so that’s she stays on the cutting egde of pop culture.

    Acts like Lady Gaga are totally controlled manipulated media performers.

  15. Actually 790 I have no idea. But most recording artist don’t have production companys backing them, It’s usually just a record lable that controls them. But I’m sure you can buy her music off her website. Most artist have the freedom to do that. It also depends on the record label you’re on. Some are very out of the control room some aren’t. Nut really I’m just talking about her music production. Image and clothes mean nothing to me in music. Do you think someone tell Tool how to dress? No. They do what they want. And they’re on a major label.

  16. @Flashback, he’s an Elitist,,,

    • not to mention a d-bag

      • I find it funny that you keep complaining about Cameron’s personality, but on threads about Mel Gibson you get upset when people mention he’s a racist. Talk about hypocrisy.

          • @flashback

            I don’t think Matt was talking about you seeing that he replied under anthony’s name…

            • he wasnt talking about me, as i dont recall getting upset over people saying he is a racist lol.

              • @anthony

                Well, either his comment was directed at you or 790, but flashback isn’t even a possibility…

                I don’t know who said what or whatever, just looking at which comment Matt K replied to… I’m neutral in this discussion, lol.

                • well he needs to attach a name, i know ive commented on posts below certain names, only to have it at the bottom like his seems to be lol. either way, like i give a damn. i dont recall getting over upset at mels antics haha, not getting upset over ANYONE calling him a racist.

              • ” knew someone couldnt comment here without bring up the race issues ”

                Your exact words.

                And since I pressed the “reply” button under YOUR name, then it should be OBVIOUS that I’m replyin got you. I seriously can’t believe I had to explain that. Even a child could get that.

                • so point out how upset i was getting on the mel racist cards being played, totally missed it, because thats not getting upset lol

  17. Right or Wrong, 3D or half-ass 3D, he’s f#*$in James Cameron and until someone terminates him off the top of the list, he can do and say whatever he wants in Hollywood. Also remember, ladies love cool James. ” I’m rich James b*tch”

  18. @ Michael – out of reply buttons again so I’ll have to post this down here.

    As stockbrokers are neither producers nor consumers of the product, it’d be surprising if they DID regard it in anything other than abstract terms. That’s fair enough though – I see the point you were making!

  19. @Ken,,,

    Yeah its tough when somebody has nothing to say and they don’t even know how to direct a comment.

  20. Who does Lady Caca write music for?

    Can’t wait to read this,,,

    • She has written for Britney Spears, Akon, Fergie, and The Pussycat Dolls.

  21. 12 year old tweens write songs as well doesn’t make it good.

  22. @Michael,,,

    “Britney Spears, Akon, Fergie, and The Pussycat Dolls are all corporate acts. They all have the same corporate affiliations.

    What I mean is that those acts all play the game of faux role models to young women. That’s what keeps the on the charts.

    I was looking at the tween magazines the other (as I picked up my Xbox mag) and I noticed Lady Gaga was all the rage with Teen Beat etc. One of the magazines even had a look a like contest going on.

    She’s nothing but a corporate music hoe.
    When lady gaga starts writing songs for the Eagles or any real band, let me know. 8-)

    • The Eagles? Really? ;)

  23. Well what works for you Michael?

    Let me know when she’s writing songs for Public Image Ltd. Perhaps Rush? Maybe when she pens U2′s next big hit. :-)

    • I think it’s rather impressive that she can write witty lyrics for herself. You just don’t like her music but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have good lyrics. Her music is catchy without being annoying to the majority of people. I don’t know why it isn’t good enough that she writer’s her next big hit, plus 3 or 4 other artists’. I agree Rush is a great band, U2 is a great band, both of them could write Gaga’s next song while she could write theirs, I’m positive of it. Your argument has no need to exist.

  24. It’s a shame that Cameron now believe he is a god, he is ego is really high, so now on I won’t see his flims, I hate people like him.

    • Sorry I mean his ego