Avatar director James Cameron is not a man who is known for his subtlety. Look no further than his work in film for proof. As the guy behind the two top-selling releases of all time — Avatar and Titanic — thinking big and making a splash wherever possible is simply how he rolls. So when he castigated the concept of a movie adapted from the boardgame Battleship in a recent interview, it was really no surprise when the eyebrow-raising comments started to fly.
It should be noted from the outset — the following quote is translated from a German source, so some of the wording might not be exact. What is clear is the point Cameron was making:
“Everyone in Hollywood knows how important it is that a film is a brand before it hits theaters. If a brand has been around, Harry Potter for example, or Spider-Man, you are light years ahead. And there lies the problem. Because unfortunately these franchises are becoming more ridiculous. Battleship. This degrades the cinema.”
Ouch. Not that he doesn’t have a point. Personally, I like to give every movie the benefit of the doubt. As a fan of ridiculous plots and good-bad film, I think there’s plenty of room for the outlandish alongside Serious Cinema. But from what we know so far, Battleship is a Peter Berg-directed action adventure about global naval forces taking on space aliens — exactly how does that have anything to do with the board game? I’m still curious to see where Berg takes his creation, but I can’t disagree with Cameron’s statement. A good movie doesn’t need to have a brand slapped on it to succeed. It’s good or it isn’t. Maybe people don’t discover that until after a home video release is available — and hell, maybe it goes bust… filmmaking is always a risk after all — but I think tacking on a brand to a story that it simply doesn’t fit with is only going to hurt public perception of the property as a whole.
Case in point.
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