Charles R. Acland
In the years between his blockbuster films Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009), James Cameron was an active documentary producer and director. Where many saw these years as a retreat from the mainstream of the film industry, this chapter argues that this period helped solidify his relationship with scientific discovery and the development of cinema technology. Expedition: Bismarck (2002), Ghosts of the Abyss (2003), and Aliens of the Deep (2005) are large-budget documentary films involving deep-sea expeditions, and in which the technology of physical and visual access to the subject matter figures prominently. This chapter demonstrates the thematic and aesthetic links these films have with Avatar. Cameron's persona as a technological auteur shows us how the business of film is bound up with a range of media products, new technological forms, in particular 3D film, and types of intellectual property, revealing the technological imperative lodged in conceptions of the future of cinema.
For many, James Cameron's groan-inducing “I'm king of the world” proclamation during the 1998 Academy Awards broadcast confirmed existing stories of his egomania. His outburst was part of his acceptance speech after winning the Best Director Oscar for Titanic (1997). Just imagine what he must have been thinking when he got up to accept the Best Picture award a few moments later! Though he was quoting a line of dialogue he had written ...