Update: Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has responded to James Cameron's comments.
Legendary director James Cameron has made some eye raising statements about DC's smash hit film Wonder Woman, suggesting the film is not the progressive, feminist triumph it's been widely hailed as, but actually objectifies women.
Cameron is a Hollywood heavyweight, having directed some of the biggest hits of all time, like Titanic and Avatar. He's also no stranger to strong female leads: he helped to solidify the legendary status of Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley in the science fiction horror sequel Aliens, and the transformation of Linda Carter's Sarah Connor from a meek damsel in distress in The Terminator to the battle hardened, world-weary hero of Terminator 2: Judgment Day is perhaps his greatest storytelling achievement.
Yet Cameron was decidedly unimpressed by Diana of Themyscira. In an interview with The Guardian promoting an upcoming 3D rerelease of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Cameron was highly dismissive of Wonder Woman's feminist bona fides, suggesting the film objectified her and didn't equal the nuance of a character like Sarah Connor.
“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!”
This is a pretty bizarre line of reasoning from Cameron. The director seems to be suggesting female characters are only worthwhile when they're fundamentally damaged people, which is not exactly a positive feminist worldview. Also, the claims of Wonder Woman featuring a lot of female objectification seem to suggest Cameron was not paying especially close attention while watching the film. While Wonder Woman has absolutely been an object of sexist objectification over the years, Patty Jenkins' film went out of its way to avoid such pitfalls, and was met with near universal acclaim for its nuanced, earnest portrayal of DC's flagship heroine.
The whole thing is decidedly tone deaf from a director who, in recent years, has become known as much for his temper and unusual opinions as he is for his films, with his long promised cadre of Avatar sequels spending years in development (though they might finally be coming soon). Cameron's comments don't really take anything away from Wonder Woman's success, but they're still a disappointment coming from a man who has shaped some of the most enduring female characters in film history.
Source: The Guardian
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