Hollywood box-office kingpin James Cameron is finally back. The Academy Award-winner director is back with the long-awaited Avatar sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, 13 years after the original movie release. Even though he directed only eight movies, with his ninth hitting theaters soon, Cameron has revolutionized the cinematography industry in many ways and set new standards for visual effects, among other things.
Avatar: The Way of Water will take on after the events of 2009’s Avatar, featuring new and never-before-seen aspects of the Na’vi culture. Cameron hopes — and anticipates — it will be a huge box-office success, considering he has already written a few more stories set on Pandora.
We take James Cameron for granted. The man has delivered some of the greatest blockbusters of all time, and still,…
Here’s a list of the best James Cameron movies to rewatch before (or after) Avatar: The Way of Water.
It wasn’t easy to give a sequel to the critically-acclaimed Ridley Scott original 1979 movie that introduced the Xenomorph as the deadliest creature in space. Yet, Cameron worked his magic and even convinced a reluctant Sigourney Weaver to reprise her role as Ellen Ripley, thanks to a solid script. The outcome was one of Weaver’s best performances and a milestone in cinematography history. Aliens follows what happened to Ripley in her convoluted return to Earth. The movie was highly successful at the box office and met the critics’ tastes, piling up seven Oscar nominations — including Best Actors for Weaver — and winning the ones for Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects. Aliens consolidated the success of the original Alien movie, turning the story into a franchise that counts eight films and an upcoming live-action TV series that is in pre-production at FX, among other media.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The nineties were particularly successful and productive for Cameron. In 1984, he came up with an original story in The Terminator, but Cameron unleashed all the potential of the killing machine portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in its sequel. Terminator 2: Judgment Day was the most expensive film ever made at the time, with a production budget of around $100 million. Audiences loved the thrilling story, proof is the $520 million gross. It also set a very high-quality standard for sci-fi movies, thanks to its impeccable visual effects, which were rewarded by the Academy with an Oscar.
True Lies (1994)
The collaborations between Cameron and Schwarzenegger have been both prosperous and critically acclaimed. In their latest work, the pair teamed up for a delightful spy story that also starred Jamie Lee Curtis. Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger) is a secret agent pretending to be a dull computer salesman. Utterly unaware of her husband’s double life, Helen (Curtis) becomes the target of a jihadist organization. The movie was the third highest-grossing film of 1994 and also landed an Academy Awards nomination for Best Visual Effects.
If there’s one movie that can summarize Cameron’s work, then the pick is Titanic. The 1997 blockbuster has everything a good film needs: an all-star cast, fantastic VFX, and a heartbreaking and impossible love story. Titanic launched Leonardo DiCaprio’s and Kate Winslett’s careers, who reached worldwide stardom as Jack and Rose, respectively. The movie earned massive success at the box office and was the highest-grossing film in history before Avatar, and then Avengers: Endgame, took its place. The film won 11 Oscars, including one for Best Director, but none involved DiCaprio. The ensemble cast also featured Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, David Warner, and Bill Paxton, among others. Hands down, Titanic is one of the best James Cameron movies, if not the best.
It seems there is ongoing revisionism toward the director’s biggest blockbuster, but it is hard to argue with the fact Avatar is one of the best James Cameron movies. Cameron worked on Avatar for years, developing the impressive and immersive Pandora and its blue-skinned inhabitants, the Na’vi. Briefly, the story sees an army of colonizers attempting to conquer Pandora to extract its precious minerals. Expect the Na’vi won’t accept seeing their planet exploited. Some colonizers end up falling in love with the Na’vi people and culture.
Before Avatar, no one ever pushed the visual effects and computer-generated imagery to the limit the way Cameron did, besides bringing 3D movies into fashion again for a while. With its $2.923 billion gross, Avatar reigns supreme as the biggest box-office success in history. For the occasion, Cameron joined forces with Weaver in an ensemble cast that also included Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Stephen Lang, and Michelle Rodriguez, among others.