James Cameron knows a thing or two about movies that take place in and under water. The man made Titanic, after all, and has spent years working out how to bring the world of Avatar beneath the waves. Heck, he even “made” an Aquaman movie in the world of Entourage. So of course the real life Ocean Master would have an opinion or two on the box office smash that is DC Films and Warner Bros.’s actual Aquaman blockbuster.
Speaking with Yahoo, Cameron delivered a rather backhanded compliment to the film and its director, James Wan. He said he found it “great fun,” adding that it was a film he “could have never made.” That’s not because it involved some sort of technical wizardry or storytelling craft that the man behind Aliens and The Terminator couldn’t handle, however, but because it was so damn unrealistic.
“I could have never made that film because it requires this total dreamlike disconnect from any sense of physics or reality,” Cameron explained. “… People just kind of zoom around underwater because… they propel themselves mentally? I guess? I don’t know. But it’s cool. You buy it on its own terms.”
The man has a point, of course; it’s nice that Wan made it so everyone pukes up water whenever they enter the open air, but how the hell do they “swim”? And, while we’re at it, why in the world does Mera know how to play a flute — a wind instrument — if she’s spent her entire life underwater?
It’s that wobbly relationship with deep water physics that stopped Cameron from fully immersing in Aquaman. “I’ve spent thousands of hours underwater,” he said. “I’m very literal about my underwater. It needs to look like it’s real. And while I can enjoy that film I don’t resonate with it because it doesn’t look real.”
Tangible believability wasn’t the acclaimed director’s only issue with the film, either, as he thought it could have done much more to touch on environmental issues. “It doesn’t help us with our issues of actually understanding the ocean and exploring the ocean and preserving the ocean — though they did throw in a couple things like whales and things like that to remind us we are using the ocean as a garbage dump, so I applaud the film for that.”
Cameron hinted that he plans on his quartet of Avatar sequels having “such a different feel,” both mechanically and socially. We’d expect no less from the guy who made 3D relevant again while telling a story about the preservation of native lands. As Entertainment Weekly points out, he developed an entirely new technology (as is his wont) to shoot motion capture scenes underwater, as opposed to the postproduction work done on soundstage-shot scenes in Aquaman.
We’ll see how well he pulls it off when Avatar 2 finally finds its way into theaters late next year. Watch Cameron’s Aquaman comments below.