Piranha 3D Producer Responds to James Cameron's Criticism
09.01.10 by Ryan
James Cameron has always been an outspoken director, but in a recent interview he took the time to mention movies he thinks are belittling the great artistry that is the 3-D format. Cameron targeted Piranha 3D as an example of "what we should not be doing in 3-D" because the movie "cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the '70s and '80s."
Cameron's comments did not find an advocate in Piranha 3D producer Mark Canton, who issued a statement claiming that Cameron "seems to have a small vision regarding any motion pictures that are not his own," and that
Cameron's comments about Piranha 3D were "ridiculous, self-serving and insulting to those of us who are not caught up in serving his ego and his rhetoric."
Jim, are you kidding or what? First of all, let’s start by you accepting the fact that you were the original director of Piranha 2 and you were fired. Shame on you for thinking that genre movies and the real maestros like Roger Corman and his collaborators are any less auteur or impactful in the history of cinema than you. Martin Scorsese made Boxcar Bertha at the beginning of his career. And Francis Ford Coppola made D[e]mentia 13 back in 1963. And those are just a few examples of the talented and successful filmmakers whose roots are in genre films. Who are you to impugn any genre film or its creators?
My sense is that Mr. Cameron has never seen Piranha 3D...certainly not in a movie theatre with a real audience. Jim, we invite you to take that opportunity and experience the movie in a theatre full of fans - fans for whom this movie was always intended to entertain. Does Mr. Cameron have no idea of the painstaking efforts made by the talented young filmmaker Alex Aja and his team of collaborators? Clearly, and this one is a good bet, he has no clue as to how great and how much of a fun-filled experience the audiences who have seen the film in 3D have enjoyed.
Let’s just keep this in mind Jim...you did not invent 3D. You were fortunate that others inspired you to take it further. The simple truth is that I had nothing but good things to say about Avatar and my own experience since I actually saw it and didn’t damn someone else’s talent publicly in order to disassociate myself from my origins in the business from which we are all very fortunate. To be honest, I found the 3D in Avatar to be inconsistent and while ground breaking in many respects, sometimes I thought it overwhelmed the storytelling. Technology aside, I wish Avatar had been more original in its storytelling. We have to inspire, teach and mentor this next generation of filmmakers. It is garbage to suggest that any film or any filmmaker who cannot afford to work to your standards should be dissuaded from following his or her craft by not making 3D movies or not making movies like District 9, for example, which probably cost the amount of Avatar’s craft services budget, but totally rocked it in the movie theatre and in the marketplace. In that case, it was not a 3D movie. But had it been, it certainly would not have been any less original or impactful. The enormous worldwide success of Avatar has been good in all respects for you, your financiers, your distributors and the industry, as well as for the movie going public.
Jim, there is a difference between Maestro which is a word that garners respect, and Dictator or Critic which are words better left for others who are not in our mutual boat or on our team. You are one of the best, it is reasonable to think that you should dig deeper and behave like it. Young directors should be inspired by you, not publicly castigated by your mean-spirited and flawed analysis.
Canton went on admit that Piranha 3D "has not achieved a boxoffice that is on the level of many of Mr. Cameron's successes" but that the approval rating the movie received at Rotten Tomatoes (currently at 75%) was evidence that "critics and many, many others have embraced and celebrated Piranha 3D for the fun and entertaining — and even smart — movie-going experience that it is."
Canton finished his statement by pleading with Cameron to "rethink" his comments.
While we are all awed by your talents and your box office successes — and I compliment you on all of them — why don’t you rethink how you address films with which you are not involved? You should be taking the high road that is being traveled by so many of your peers, and pulling with them to ensure that we, as an industry, will have a continuum of talented filmmakers that will deliver a myriad of motion pictures both big and small, with 3D or any other technologies yet to come that will entertain audiences throughout the world. That is the challenge that we face. That is the future that we should deliver.
Both Piranha 3D and Avatar: Special Edition are currently playing in theaters. You can read Canton's entire statement here.