The comparison that kept leaping to my mind was not Dances with Wolves or even Cameron's other works, though the marks of both were clearly there -- it was King Kong. (The original 1933 version.)
Originally Posted by kries
Kong is another movie whose plot, characters, and dialogue are utterly unsophisticated; which features questionable racial politics about indigenous cultures; and whose "message" is pretty ham-fisted. It is, however, a work of such passion, joy, and sheer inventiveness that it seldom fails to draw me in. Until I saw Avatar I could only imagine what it must have been like for a 1930s audience to see something as new and wondrous as King Kong when it represented the cutting edge of film technology. Now I know what it must have felt like. (And I do think the 3D helped that; it's tough to impress people with FX technology now; Cameron uses 3D subtly enough to pull me past my cynicism toward the all-CG extravaganza and into the film.)
So I'm willing to give the other stuff a pass, at least after the first viewing. I don't think it's Cameron's best work by a long shot, but it's really nice to see his return to the screen. After years of Michael Bays and Gore Verbinskis steering the FX megapictures, Cameron's visual storytelling is a welcome presence in the blockbuster universe. (Hell, the use of color alone is a welcome change. I'm pretty sick of the "gritty" monochrome style.)
Brian G. Hartz
Actor, Director, Sound Designer, etc.
"Standing ovations have become far too commonplace. What we need are ovations where the audience members all punch and kick one another." - George Carlin