James Cameron might not be the most prolific of the kings of big screen spectacle, but his filmography is certainly among the highest grossing of all time. Heck, as of right now, the top two highest grossing films at the domestic box office (discounting inflation) are his. “Avatar” remains firmly secure in the number one spot with $760.5M, a full $100M more than his second place “Titanic.” (Because it’s always fun to look at numbers, if you adjust for inflation, “Avatar” drops to 14th, while “Titanic” actually surges ahead of it, coming in at fifth.)
A new four-minute supercut from Vimeo user Martin Kessler showcases why Cameron’s films are so successful, a collective achievement made doubly impressive by the fact that the writer-director has only eight narrative features under his belt, dating way back to “Piranha Part Two: The Spawning” in 1981 (and who could forget that?). Watching the video, Cameron’s knack for out-of-this-world special effects (often literally) is near unparalleled in the industry. Sure, everyone talks about “Avatar” and how revolutionary it was, and don’t think I’m putting it down, but it’s far from the only example of what the man can do when crafting a motion picture.
“Terminator 2: Judgement Day” blew minds when it came out 24 years ago, cementing unforgettable images in viewers’ minds everywhere. That’s two years after “The Abyss” brought audiences to an underwater world unlike any they had seen before. Just as important are the films that came before them — namely “Aliens” and the first “Terminator.” Cameron’s ‘Judgment Day’ follow up, “True Lies,” is remarkably tame by comparison. Which brings us, naturally, to “Titanic,” a film that sunk the unsinkable ship in jaw-dropping fashion, but did so against the backdrop of a cinematically historic love story.
Therein lies a truth, and on that, Kessler’s tribute does a brilliant job reminding us. Cameron’s films work because of their spectacle, but not solely so. The explosions and effects and visuals are certainly noteworthy, but it is the heart he infuses his stories that audiences relate to. The tender moments in Kessler’s supercut are no accident; they’re proof of an essential ingredient in Cameron’s body of work.
Cameron’s last film, “Avatar,” came out in 2009, but the director has a very crowded slate coming up, including three sequels to that film (currently slated for 2017, 2018, and 2019), followed by an adaptation of the manga series, “Battle Angel.” This last work sounds exactly like cinema of flesh and metal. The manga — created by Yukito Kishiro — tells the story of a cyborg discovered in a garbage dump who becomes both a crime fighter and extreme sports star.
Watch Kessler’s video below. [via Live for Films].