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James Cameron Defends ‘Avatar 2’ Runtime: It’s as Epic as ‘The Sopranos’

"People say, 'Oh my God, a family story from Disney? Just what we want,'" Cameron said. "This isn’t that kind of family story."

Avatar: The Way of Water, The Sopranos

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” “The Sopranos”

Disney and HBO

James Cameron is bringing some gabagool drama to Pandora.

The “Avatar: The Way of Water” director defended the label that the long-awaited “Avatar” sequel is a typical “family story from Disney.” With a whopping three-plus hour runtime, Cameron explained that the film dives deeper into the parental dynamics between Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their shared civic duty with Pandora. The couple are now also parents to five children, a mix of biological and adopted kids.

“People say, ‘Oh my God, a family story from Disney? Just what we want…'” Cameron told Total Film. “This isn’t that kind of family story. This is a family story like how ‘The Sopranos’ is a family story.”

Cameron continued, “The goal is to tell an extremely compelling story on an emotional basis. I would say the emphasis in the new film is more on character, more on story, more on relationships, more on emotion. We didn’t spend as much time on relationship and emotion in the first film as we do in the second film, and it’s a longer film, because there’s more characters to service. There’s more story to service.”

Lead star Saldaña added that her character is now “compromised on a much deeper level,” saying, “When you have children and you care for their welfare, different emotions creep in.”

Oscar-winner Cameron previously told The New York Times that the action in “Avatar: The Way of Water” is rooted in the reality of being torn as a parent.

“In the first movie, Sam’s character leaps off his flying creature and essentially changes the course of history as a result of this crazy, almost suicidal leap of faith,” Cameron said. “And Zoe’s character leaps off a limb and assumes there’s going to be some nice big leaves down there that can cushion her fall. But when you’re a parent, you don’t think that way. So for me, as a parent of five kids, I’m saying, ‘What happens when those characters mature and realize that they have a responsibility outside their own survival?'”

Cameron summed up, “When I look at these big, spectacular films — I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC — it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college. They have relationships, but they really don’t. They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”

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