Let’s dissect James Cameron’s ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ critique

06.29.16 1 year ago

James Cameron thinks Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a little redundant. Guess what? I agree! Here”s his critique of the film, offered during a video interview conducted by Hannah Litchfield:

“Well, George Lucas is a friend of mine, and he and I were having a good conversation the other day about it. I don”t want to say too much about the film. I also have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams, and I want to see where they”re taking it next, you know? See what they”re doing with it. I have to say that I felt that George”s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters. So for me the jury”s out, I wanna see where they go with it.”

Ok, there”s a lot of reading between the lines required here. Let”s take it section by section:

“Well, George Lucas is a friend of mine, and he and I were having a good conversation the other day about it.”

Fair enough!

“I don”t want to stay too much about the film. I have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams, and I want to see where they”re taking it next, you know?”

It seems reasonable to assume that if Cameron had loved The Force Awakens, he would have stated that he loved it rather than dancing around the question. The line “I have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams, and I want to see where they”re taking it next” could theoretically be extended thusly: I have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams, so I don”t want to openly bash his film on camera and I hope the subsequent entries in the franchise are better than The Force Awakens.

“I have to say that I felt that George”s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters.”

This quote approximates a critique leveled by myself and a number of other moviegoers and critics that The Force Awakens felt a lot like a retread of the earlier films in the series, but Cameron softens the blow by offering that Episode VII took “a few baby steps forward with new characters.” This echoes the sentiments of many who were similarly critical of the film, who hope that said “baby steps” will be parlayed into something more novel in the next movie.

The part of this quote that”s likely to draw the most attention is when Cameron opines that George Lucas”s “group of six films (i.e. Episodes I-VI) had more innovative visual imagination” than The Force Awakens, which will strike many as an endorsement of Lucas”s widely-reviled prequels over Abrams” movie. But note that he speaks only of the “innovative visual imagination” of the first six movies, not their overall quality. Cameron never says he thinks the prequels are better films. 

Remember also that Cameron goes on record stating that Lucas is his friend, so including the prequels in the estimation of the original films” “innovative visual imagination” relative to The Force Awakens could be an attempt to skirt any suggestion that he subscribes to the widely-held opinion that Lucas botched Episodes I-III. Whether he actually believes that or not is open to interpretation.

“So for me the jury”s out, I wanna see where they go with it.”

This strikes me as a relatively straightforward soundbite. In summary: I have yet to be convinced of the merits of Abrams” vision, but I”m willing to withhold any grand opinions on it until I see what he has in store for future installments.

You can watch Cameron's full interview with Litchfield as well as a breakout of his The Force Awakens comments below.

[via IndieWire]

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