We are just over a year and a half away from the 10-year anniversary of the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar. Several weeks ago, James Cameron started to publicly discuss his plan for a return to Pandora. According to Variety, Cameron has plans to expand the movie to five more. More specifically, Cameron mentions that it will be more of a family drama, similar to The Godfather series. This is exciting news, except they will suck.
Why, you ask? Well there are many reasons. The easiest way to explain them is taking a look into some of the other series that have made their mark in history. First, let’s start with the comparison to The Godfather. One of the things that makes the drama in The Godfather movies so compelling is the extent of Mafia madness in order to resolve conflict. Such violence, language, etc. comes with an R-rating. Something that we’ll venture to say Cameron’s following movies won’t have. Sure, there will be some killing, but not to the extent or for the reasoning that has made The Godfather movies the best of all time.
It’s not just about the rating of the movie. There are plenty of shitty R-rated movies, plenty of PG-13 movies that are more raw and serious than it’s R-rated companion. There are other aspects that aren’t in favor of Cameron’s follow ups, which mainly stem from time.
Time will not do Cameron any favors. Let’s think back to the first Avatar. The story was interesting, but not completely original. What was original was different creatures, a different world, and a different way of life. These differences thrived due to its graphics and vivid colors. As much as we hate to say it, James Cameron was a bit of a pioneer in that regard. However, time has continued. Graphics have gotten better in nearly every genre, especially in fantasy and sci-fi. Graphics alone can help a movie, but not carry it entirely.
The most obvious challenge that time presents is a lack of continuity. Now, Cameron does benefit in the fact that the main characters of the original are on contract and therefore, will be back for the sequel. That is a benefit that is rarely seen in such revivals. However, the continuity of the story is what struggles. One would assume steps will be taken to revisit the original which will more than likely be 10 years old by the time of the new release. But, is this enough?
One of the biggest series in the world doesn’t give us too much hope. Star Wars has been king of making movies, stopping for 20 damn years, then popping back up. You may be thinking, “All of the movies have made tons of money.” You’re right, but we’re talking about the movie itself. Go back and torture yourself by watching the prequels. Without Ewan McGregor, they’re a pile of shit. Then we move into the more recent movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Again, the movies killed at the box office. However, the critical response to The Last Jedi was mixed and the audience reaction was quite critical.
Different from Star Wars is the fact that Cameron is still in charge, unlike George Lucas giving his property over to Disney. Aside from the lack of continuity, what about the fact that the story just may not be that great? It seems that Cameron has great ideas in their conception, but he loves to drive them into the ground. For example, waste your time by watching Terminator Genisys.
Our last point is brief and it comes directly from Cameron’s mouth. Cameron admitted that he may be taking creative risks saying, “This could be the seeds of utter damnation and doom for the project…” If James Cameron is prefacing a movie coming out 10 years after the original’s release by stating it could be the seed of utter damnation, then what the hell is he about to try and pull off? We think it will probably be something extremely over the top.
So let’s wrap it up. Cameron has the benefit of having his stars return as main characters to Pandora. Ballsy enough to compare the follow up movies to The Godfather is something only the delusional would say. Which makes it even more frightening that he himself notes the creative risk he is about to take. The graphics and images of Pandora will capture our eyes and melt our hearts with hysteria. After that, the force of a story trying to continue what was so successful a decade before will fall flat… in our opinion.