James Cameron on the lack of imagination in 'The Force Awakens,' how 'Alien: Covenant' was great and why Zack Snyder inspires him

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Okay, lets be honest here. James Cameron is a visual director. Of course he's going to admire Zack Snyder and George Lucas. Cameron broke box office records 2-3 times, not through story but through path-breaking visuals. Take for example his take on Snyder:

Directors that continue to inspire me…Ridley Scott. I mean, I’ll go to any Ridley Scott movie, even the ones that bomb, to me, are great, because the fabric of the filmmaking, you know, just the way he sees, and the way he places the camera…Zack Snyder and Robert Rodriguez, guys that were just creating their own cinematic language… A friend of mine, who was a visual effects guy just directed Deadpool, and I went to see Deadpool. And the opening credits sequence, I was like, ‘Damn, nobody ever thought of that. Do a fake credit sequence!’ How brilliant is it?” 

The video evidence can be found HERE

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I think he's talking about the visual experience, not the story. And Snyder's visuals are amazing - anyone who denies that is nailed to a cross. But this praise is not surprising at all. Whether or not you like Snyder's stories, his visuals, if not realistic, always look gorgeous. It is a great validation of his visuals, but that's something we already know."

Batman v Superman felt artificial. Which doesn't mean Snyder doesn't have a unique visual style. I mean he's original enough that most people could automatically tell it's a Zack Snyder film from the opening frame. I just haven't really liked any of his films. Not my style and feels almost cartoonish.

With all that being said it is still not a surprise that James Cameron thinks "Alien: Covenant" is a "great" movie. After all, earlier this year, Cameron praised Zack Snyder for "creating a new cinematic language" and mentioned the "Batman vs. Superman" director inspires his own work. That's fair enough, I can see why he would see that in Snyder. Now, he's praising "Alien: Covenant," which feels a little closer to home for him since he directed what many consider to be the last great movie of the franchise, the 1986 classic "Aliens." In a Facebook Live interview, the director had these kind words to say about Scott's film:

I thought that "Alien: Covenant" was a great ride. It was beautiful. I love Ridley’s films and I love his film making, I love the beauty of the photography, I love the visceral sense that you’re there, that you’re present."

However, he did go on to elaborate that it wouldn't have been the kind of movie he would have done:

"It’s not a film that I would have made. I don’t like films where you invest in a character and they get destroyed at the end. I would not have made that film. I can’t comment on where Ridley is going with it but I think he is obviously trying to create a greater universe around it and more backstory with the Engineers and so on. I’ll show up for the next one, absolutely.

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Now, say what you will about Ridley Scott's "Prometheus," but, at least, that movie had balls. Here was a big budget Hollywood movie with ideas, a philosophical brain if you will, and, yet,  Scott gave in recently and admitted that he regretted the way he made the film and that he "got it wrong." He should have stuck to his guns, "Prometheus" will age well in time whereas "Alien: Covenant" ... "Alien: Covenant" was a disappointment. The way it went back to the narrative structure and survival games of the first two movies were too easy and uninspired. Scott decided to feed the masses and give them what they wanted, a sort of "greatest hits" compilation of the first two films, but it fell flat.  Scott always had a flair for staging atmosphere and thrills, but in "Alien: Covenant" the thrills feel empty, just for the sake of entertainment, nothing wrong with that, but we deserved better. Some of the movie did work, Michael Fassbender's brilliant dual performance as David and Walter brought frightening perception to artificial humans. The fireworks that sparked between the two robots, in the few scenes they were together,  were the clear-cut highlights of the film and something Scott should have expanded on in his narrative.

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Cameron's outspokenness isn't anything new. He doesn't mince words when talking about current cinema, you will always receive a clear cut, honest, passionate response from him. Last year he even said "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" lacked imagination and that he preferred George Lucas' prequels to the JJ Abrams film. 

Well, George Lucas is a friend of mine,” he prefaced. “I don’t want to say too much about the film because I also have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams and I want to see where they’re taking it next." “I have to say that I felt that George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters,” Cameron said. “So for me the jury’s out.

Whether you agree or disagree with him, it's refreshing to hear an iconic director's opinion on his comrades that isn't watered-down or playing nice to the crowd. Hopefully, he can back up all this talk with a great movie of his own, more specifically when his much-delayed sequel to "Avatar" hits theaters in the near future, whenever that may be.

Do you agree with James Cameron on "The Force Awakens," "Alien: Covenant" and "Zack Snyder? Let us know in the comment section below!
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