Blah, Gasbag

Earlier today Movieline reported the Jim Cameron vs. Mark Canton battle over Piranha 3D, which Cameron basically feels is a sleazy and essentially worthless piece of shit.

“I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus,” Cameron said last week, “but Piranha 3D is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip.”

At the beginning of Canton’s nearly 1400-word response, he says that Cameron’s comments “are very disappointing to me and the team that made Piranha 3D,” blah, blah. “Cameron, who singles himself out to be a visionary of moviemaking, seems to have a small vision regarding any motion pictures that are not his own,” blah, blah, blah. “It is amazing that in the moviemaking process, which is certainly a team sport, that Cameron consistently celebrates himself out as though he is a team of one.

“His comments are ridiculous, self-serving and insulting to those of us who are not caught up in serving his ego and his rhetoric,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Cameron is right, of course, and Canton is just trying to prop this one up so more people will go see Piranha 3D.

41 thoughts on “Blah, Gasbag

  1. DiscoNap on said:

    It’s my understand that Piranha was not converted in post production. In that case, it should have Cameron’s support. For that matter it’s by all accounts a fun movie. What’s going to kill 3D again is shit like Clash of the Titans, starring his boy Worthington.

  2. James Cameron already preparing to put out three versions of Avatar less than a year after its release isn’t “blood from a turnip?” Really? And Piranha 3D was great. Every intelligent movie fan I know loved it.

  3. Love James and agree with him. However, he makes himself an easy target for the hypocrisy charge when he uses the “blood from a turnip” line.

    Adding 9 measly minutes to Avatar is justification to RE-release it, and in IMAX or 3D theaters only? And his talking about how if Alive in Wonderland hadn’t opened around the same time that Avatar could have made some more money.

    Again I agree with Cameron that the fish movie hurts this cheap, overused gimmick –er, I mean this valuable storytelling tool, but he should have worded his charge a little more carefully.

  4. Piranha could’ve easily done without the 3D, again it added nothing. All it did was enhance the feel of a bad-cheapo horror flick. I loved the film, and many other critics seemed to agree but Cameron is exactly right to say they 3D is just silly.

    On a related note this got me thinking, shouldn’t Cameron have gone out of the way of this and come up with a new name entirely for his technology. I can’t come up with something now but it sure would’ve made it a hell of a lot different because if he chose an original name for his product, others couldn’t leech upon it.

  5. We’ve seen a lot of terrible movies in 3D this year. Out of all of them, Piranha 3D has some of the best reviews. Cameron needs to shut his mouth.

  6. Cameron wanted to get Avatar back in theaters because he believes (and not without cause) that it would have kept running strong in IMAX were it not for the contractual obligations of theaters to replace it with Alice in Wonderland. Obviously it’s about ego (and money) on one level, but I think Cameron has at least talked himself into believing that he is giving everyone who wants to see it a chance, and that the movie’s run should be allowed to conclude naturally, rather than because theaters couldn’t keep it.

    I know a lot of people with obligations, kids, etc, who really wanted to see Avatar at the local IMAX (the real one, I mean, at the Science Center) in Seattle, but never did. They’re happy to get another chance.

    As for Piranha 3-D, Cameron is obviously right…how could he not be? Is someone going to argue that the film, as clever and cool as it may be, is not simply exploiting 3-D in the basest, tits-and-blood way possible? It may not be as nakedly pernicious as Titans (and that’s really the movie Cameron should have thrown under the bus), but it’s still dragging 3-D back into the realm of frivolous novelty.

  7. Piranha 3D did have a post-production conversion. But Cameron didn’t hate all the 3D films this past year. He did give props to How to Train Your Dragon. He said the 3D in that was excellent.

  8. Disconap, I believe that Piranha 3D was shot in 2D with the intention of converting it to 3D down the line. A lot of the 3D conversion issues still exist, although I’ve heard the image brightness wasn’t that much of a problem in this case. Conversely, I’ve heard that Tron: Legacy was shot using the 3D cameras used for Avatar.

    You probably already know this but Clash of the Titans, Alice in Wonderland, etc. were shot in 2D with the intention of releasing them in 2D until Avatar came out. Those 3D conversion jobs were apparently done hastily to capitalize on the 3D craze post-Avatar release.

  9. Cameron is the usual gasbag of self praise. The point of it all is 3d is not the enormous runaway success that Cameron and Hwood thought it would be. In a way Piranha is the normal film for 3d, whereas we really do not need comedies and dramas in 3d. Stuff it Cameron.

  10. Did anyone ask him why he challenged global warming realists to a debate then kept changing the rules of the debate and then finally backed out like a coward? Cameron is a douche, 3D is a gimmick, and Avatar was a fucking abomination. What a bore-fest.

  11. Cameron may need to lighten up a bit, but you can understand, particularly given the economics, why he might feel this way; asking people to pay 17 bucks for something as knowingly cheesy as “Piranha 3D’ is certainly counterproductive to the industry vision for the stereoscopic experience, as it were. Canton, on the other hand, has ever been a gigantic tool. So I don’t know where I come down here. Mongo confused.

  12. “Is someone going to argue that the film, as clever and cool as it may be, is not simply exploiting 3-D in the basest, tits-and-blood way possible?”

    Yes, if only it was about a quiet, contemplative hit-man hand-making sniper rifles and dodging Swedish assassins in Italy, whenever, of course, he’s not boinking a gorgeous, much younger prostitute. That’s serious, high-minded cinema, right there, not pulpy or focused on sex & murder at all. Just slower, and harder to hear. Gimme a fucking break.

    I swear, you guys make me feel young & full of life.

  13. Thunderballs, you said it. He’ll never come clean about the debate debacle because it shows him up as the pernicious hypocrite he is. All this wind being spent slamming Piranha when it was on Cameron’s direct recommendation that one of his vfx supes got the job directing Final Destination 5?? I believe his actual words to New Line were: “You’d be stupid not to use him.”

    Cameron’s an ass. A talented, class-less ass.

  14. “but Piranha 3D is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3D. ”

    But if they released Piranha 2 in 3D, you’d bet I’d be all over it! Did you see that CBS special where I felt it was good enough to receive recognition alongside Aliens and Terminator?! That’s because unlike these hacks, I have pride in my work! I’m the guy who discovered a talented actress like Jessica Alba, after all. Who the fuck cares that my only legacy now will be more theatrical price-gougings?!

    I’m so rich, I can travel to Latin America to wear war paint so I can feel so much fucking superior to everyone else, while polluting the planet with discarded old editions of Avatar dvds you’re stupid enough to buy now, rather than wait for the definitive version a few months later! And it’s all because you’re still lying to yourselves that my movie isn’t a mediocre piece of shit and that you didn’t just blow a chunk of your savings on a bad Final Fantasy/Star Wars fan-fic. Suckers!

    “When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip.”

    Says the guy whose follow-up to Titanic ripped off both Dances with Wolves and Ferngully. Oh, and the guy who debuted with a movie which plagiarized an Outer Limits episode.

    Spuji: “others couldn’t leech upon it.”

    You might have a point there. It’d be harder for Cameron to crib off Ellison if that episode was also called Terminator.

    Abbey: “I know a lot of people with obligations, kids, etc, who really wanted to see Avatar at the local IMAX (the real one, I mean, at the Science Center) in Seattle, but never did. They’re happy to get another chance.”

    Yeah, you can totally see that phenomenon playing out with Avatar’s huge weekend take. Oh, wait!

    Glenn: “asking people to pay 17 bucks for something as knowingly cheesy as “Piranha 3D’ is certainly counterproductive”

    As opposed to 15 bucks for Avatar?

  15. Can we vote for DZ 2.0 switching to “all links, all the time” instead of this new thing where he ONLY does his patented Asperger riffs?

  16. As someone around here said once, you can always rely on Cameron to stick his foot in his mouth every time he opens it.

    I loved “Avatar”. Saw it in the theater four times. Remembered seeing the first teaser in the theater, then hearing the mixed reviews from the Comic Con footage, then reading all the nay-sayers in the trades. And I thought to myself that this whole story was playing out exactly the way “Titanic” did 12 years earlier. Then the film went on to shatter just about every box office record that mattered.

    That being said, Cameron should really shut his piehole. “Piranha 3D” is one of the most purely entertaining films this year. It’s everything that great exploitation should be, but rarely is. You’d think someone who got his start on films like “Galaxy of Terror” in which is a voluptuous female crew member is attacked and subsequently stripped nude and stimulated to orgasm by a giant, lubricated space maggot would remember this.

    I realize that Cameron did almost all of the heavy lifting required to start the new wave of 3D with the R&D on his IMAX documentaries, and that he doesn’t want to see cheap imitations poison the well. But he didn’t seem to possess these same high-minded ideals when he worked for Roger Corman.

    Cameron: Sir, I feel I must raise an official objection to your tarnishing the memory of “Jaws” with your tawdry little rip-off called “Piranha”. This kind of thing cheapens our industry and debases us as a people.

    Corman; So you’re not gonna work on “Battle Beyond the Stars”?

    Cameron: When the fuck did I say that? Have you seen Sybil Danning’s tits? Motorboat! Motorboat!!

    There’s so much to love in “Piranha 3D”: Richard Dreyfuss’ cameo as Matt Hooper; the nearly three-minute nude, underwater, lesbian idyll scored to Delibes’ “Lakme”; the panicky idiot who tries to escape the carnage in a speed boat and ends up killing more people than the fish. If I was a straight, 14-year-old boy, this movie would be like fucking “Star Wars”.

    Everyone, please do yourselves a favor. Gather your friends, get liquored up and enjoy this beautiful, big-breasted, wet, bloody fart of a movie. It will probably be the most pleasurable experience you have this summer.

  17. The 3-D in “Piranha 3-D” was irrelevant. That movie would have been a piece of shit in any dimension for all the usual reasons: script, direction, acting, etc. Just an all around witless, cheap-looking turd

  18. Douche move on Cameron’s part, but probably douchey like a fox. Remember: In two weeks, “Resident Evil 4″ comes out in 3D, and he’ll probably be giving it some level of props because it was shot with “his” Avatar technology. This gives him a “B-movie in 3D done WRONG” reference-point.

  19. Canton is putting out a thin-skinned over-reaction here. This over-worded response hits the right notes for drama, but comes off completely knee-jerk and unnecessary.

    Canton’s whole response and personal attacks on a relatively benign Cameron comment feels like a shrill Barnum stunt.

  20. When I got the email this morning, the first thing I thought was “Who the fuck cares about what Mark Canton thinks, besides Mark Canton?” Now I realize it was a brilliant move. Canton hasn’t gotten this much press in years.

  21. It’s funny that Cameron attempts to legitimize his vision for the future of 3D while also disparaging Piranha’s use of it by bringing up the fact that Martin Scorsese is making use of the technology in Hugo Cabret when Thelma Schoonmaker has said that Scorsese wasn’t particularly impressed with its use in Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. In fact, from what she has said, it seems like Scorsese’s film will utilize the technology in a way that more closely resembles Piranhas than Avatar.

  22. 3D will be dead by 2013

    Mark my words.

    Ticket sales are down already. 3D TV sales are poor.

    I, for one, will dance on 3Ds grave – enemy of immersive storytelling that it is.

    Was.

  23. Hey, Jeff, watch the delete button – you got my post with the spam.

    Canton has always been a useless executive, but the town has a soft spot for him because his dad was Hitch’s rep.

    For me, he will always be the guy who turned down his wife’s pet project, only to watch it become one of the biggest box office and cultural hits of the 90′s. Now THAT’s talent.

    And why is it half the time you find someone who bitches about Cameron it turns out they or a friend worked for him. Me too and I’ve heard 2nd hand just how much of an asshole he is (“You Can’t Scare Me – I’ve Worked for James Cameron” as the T shirts say). But he is a talented asshole who makes Grade A crowd pleasers and has a rep as being generous to other filmmakers.

    Not to mention, he’s right. They are destroying 3D as fast as they can and he should have said something a long time ago.

  24. DTG: Yeah, he’s so talented, he has to rip off Ellison. And I don’t recall Abyss being a crowd-pleaser. As for destroying 3D, why the hell do I care? I want good scripts again, not a gimmick.

  25. I saw Piranha 3D and it sure as hell had its 3D done in post. There were some effects shots where they tried to do a little more with the 3D like when they went scuba diving, but they just took a flat cutout of the divers and put some CG around them and it looked SO fake. Whenever there was a fence or grass up close on the screen the fakeness of the 3D stuck out like a sore thumb.

  26. Daniel, take the ADD shtick somewhere else. Or at least get new material. Or at least agree to never address any of my posts and I’ll agree to never vote to ban you (which I didn’t, btw). I understand you have some sort of condition, but I’d appreciate it if you treat HE as a party and we’ll get along fine if you Stay. The. Fuck. Away. From. Me.

    Everyone else, sorry – bad work day and I’m in a crappy mood. Hate to kick the site puppy, but….

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