James Cameron just opened Pandora’s box.
The “Avatar: The Way of Water” director defended the original 2009 film in an interview with Empire Magazine, slamming online “trolls” for criticizing the film’s basic plot, long running time, and “forgettable” characters, including Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). “Avatar” is being re-released in theaters September 23, ahead of the sequel’s premiere December 16.
“The trolls will have it that nobody gives a shit and they can’t remember the characters’ names or one damn thing that happened in the movie,” Cameron said of the backlash to the original film. “Then they see the movie again and go, ‘Oh, OK, excuse me, let me just shut the fuck up right now.’ So I’m not worried about that.”
Its sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” reportedly has a running time of approximately three hours, which Cameron says is no issue for audiences in the era of streaming and binge-watching.
“I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch [television] for eight hours,” the writer-director explained. “It’s like, give me a fucking break. I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row. Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: it’s OK to get up and go pee.”
“The Way of Water” tells the story of the Sully family — Jake, Neytiri, and their children — as their land in Pandora becomes torn apart. Cameron directs the feature and produces alongside Jon Landau.
However, Cameron hinted that he may not be helming future installments “Avatar 4” and “Avatar 5” due to the “all-consuming” nature of the epic storytelling.
“I think eventually over time — I don’t know if that’s after three or after four — I’ll want to pass the baton to a director that I trust to take over, so I can go do some other stuff that I’m also interested in. Or maybe not. I don’t know,” Cameron shared.
The “Titanic” director continued, “Everything I need to say about family, about sustainability, about climate, about the natural world, the themes that are important to me in real life and in my cinematic life, I can say on this canvas. I got more excited as I went along. Movie four is a corker. It’s a motherfucker. I actually hope I get to make it. But it depends on market forces. Three is in the can so it’s coming out regardless. I really hope that we get to make four and five because it’s one big story, ultimately.”