Spotlight on the Stars: James Cameron

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For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to take a look at one of directing’s biggest A-listers of them all. The filmmaker in question? Well, that would be James Cameron, of course. A filmmaker who also does his best to literally change the world, Cameron is pretty special. In many ways, he really is the king of the world, so it’s only appropriate that we take a look at him in this particular article series. In any event, here we go now.

Cameron got his start working behind the scenes on low budget exploitation before being given a chance to direct Piranha Part Two: The Spawning. He was fired from that project, but still has a credit. If ever there was an outlier on a resume, it’s that one. From there, he set out to make a true first feature, one that turned out to be none other than The Terminator. Basically from there, he was on his way to becoming an untouchable. The Cameron we all know was born once The Terminator was a hit.

Of course, he went on to make a succession of insanely popular and technologically advanced films, starting with the high octane Alien sequel Aliens. From there, he was allowed to push the visual effects envelope with The Abyss and then make a sequel to his own work, which resulted in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Next up was a bit of a change of pace with True Lies, but then came the monster that was Titanic.

In crafting that flick, Cameron not only won Oscars, but crafted what was the highest grossing film of all time, at least until he got behind the cameras again for a narrative feature and broke records all over again with Avatar. Between those two, he directed a pair of documentaries. They are Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep, both hybrids of The Abyss and Titanic. They showcased his interest in the ocean and also technology, something that continues to this day.

This weekend, Cameron has another doc hitting screens, one called Deepsea Challenge 3D. He didn’t direct this one, but he’s basically the star in all other ways. It’s an interesting look both at his real life work and also the man as well. At the very least, it’s a good delay before he gets back into fantasy land with sequels to Avatar.

Beyond films, he’s also someone who has done his part to make the world a better place. His technology that he’s developed has real life applications, so he’s literally in the business of saving lives as well. I just had to give him a quick shout out for that. I’m sure you all would have done the same as well. Glad we’re on the same page there.

Overall, Cameron is quite frankly one of the biggest filmmakers on the planet. He’s an Academy Award winner and as powerful as anyone else in the business. In the upcoming years, he’s got a trio of Avatar sequels in the works (yes, get ready for Avatar 2, Avatar 3, and Avatar 4) as well as his long gestating adaptation of Battle Angel Alita, which will simply be called Battle Angel. Two other changes of pace are on his to do list as well, and they are the drama The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back and the thriller The Informationist. Whatever the next decade or so brings, it’s hard to deny that Cameron is someone you really have to pay attention to. When spotlighting stars in Hollywood, you really have to acknowledge Cameron in a big way…

Stay tuned for another look at an A-lister next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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