Every James Cameron Movie Ranked From Worst To Best, Including Avatar: The Water Sense


When it comes to directing blockbusters that draw audiences and make money, James Cameron has honed his technique down to a science. Cameron is one of the highest-grossing filmmakers in history, despite having directed a relatively small number of films over the past few decades. However, you can’t argue with his track record.

Now that Avatar: The Water Sense has finally hit theaters, we review the nine films of James Cameron (till the date). Where do the Avatar movies rank on the list? Which is better: Aliens or Terminator 2? Let’s settle the debate once and for all.

9. Piranha II: Vampires of the Sea

We doubt that many moviegoers would object to placing Piranha II at the end of Cameron’s work. Even Cameron would support that option, since he seems as eager as anyone to forget the existence of this low-budget horror sequel.

Piranha II tries to outdo the original by introducing flying variations of the man-eating fish. Suffice to say, that didn’t help the film rise above the sea of ​​Jaws wannabes of the late ’70s. It also didn’t help that newcomer Cameron (who landed the job after working under B-movie legend Roger Corman) had constant feuds with executive producer Ovidio G. Assonitis and struggled to communicate with a team that was made up of mostly by Italian speakers. In fact, there is some conjecture as to how much of the film was actually directed by Cameron and how much was Assonitis’s own work.

It’s not the most auspicious start to a directing career, but Piranha II has at least a couple of things going for it. The prosthetics helped set the stage for some of the creature effects in Aliens (1986). Not to mention, Piranha II kicked off a long and fruitful collaboration between Cameron and actor Lance Henriksen.

8. Avatar

In a world of non-stop Marvel movies and Star Wars spin-offs, Avatar remains the highest-grossing movie of all time. It’s clear that Cameron knows how to fill seats without the need for a pre-existing franchise.

It’s not hard to understand why Avatar resonated so deeply with viewers in 2009. The film featured the beautiful alien world of Pandora, a place where all creatures coexist in great ecological harmony, and a world threatened by the insatiable resource hunger of humanity. humanity. Viewing Avatar is like taking a guided tour of the most visually stunning safari in the universe.

Unfortunately, Avatar suffers quite a bit from its cast of mostly bland and forgettable characters, and from a story best summed up as “Dances with Wolves meets Fern Gully.” But simplistic as it is, Avatar is a visually stunning movie that remains the only compelling argument for having a 3D TV.

7. Abyss

Human beings are fascinated by the ocean. The ocean is as intriguing as it is terrifying. This dichotomy forms the basis of Abyss, Cameron’s 1989 science fiction film that contains a great premise whose execution is somewhat unsuccessful. In Abyss, an American submarine sinks after colliding with an unidentified object. With the Soviets closing in fast and a hurricane about to ruin the Navy’s rescue efforts, a small team of SEALs is sent to help a group of scientists recover the missing submarine.

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The best thing about Abyss is that it creates three-dimensional characters out of the underwater thugs, and we feel something for each of them, especially Ed Harris’ Bud and Mary Elizabeth Masterantonio’s Lindsey. The viewer feels the psychological torment of being trapped in a confined space with endless liters of water surrounding him on all sides. They also experience the wonder of discovery when the characters encounter an unexpected alien presence at the bottom of the ocean. As with many Cameron films, the music does a great job of drawing the viewer in and setting the mood.

In addition, it is the first time that CGI has been used to create a photorealistic character. The Pseudopod’s tentacle led to the creation of the liquid metal villain from Terminator 2.

Abyss may have been a long and sometimes heavy movie, even before the director’s final cut, but it’s still a quality genre movie with more going on than a regular movie about alien visitors and those they visit.

6. Avatar: The Sense of Water

Avatar: The Sense of Water is the first in a long series of sequels to Cameron’s 2009 smash hit. This sequel opens up the world of Pandora in a very literal way, as Jake Sully and his family meet a tribe of Na’vi who lives in the water and renew their fight against a greedy and bloodthirsty human army.

Water Sense doesn’t necessarily fix any of the problems inherent in the original. It remains a very direct blockbuster marked by an underdeveloped cast of heroes and villains. Also, it lasts an hour longer than the plot actually demands.

But even more than the first film, Avatar: The Water Sense draws on the power of its world and the impressive creatures and environments it evokes. It’s one of the most expensive movies ever made, and every penny of that huge budget shows up on the screen. The Sense of Water is a sumptuous visual feast that has enough heart to make up for its narrative shortcomings.

5. Titanic

Titanic is concrete proof that it is never worth doubting James Cameron. What many feared would become an overpriced insanity became a box office monster, tying Ben-Hur for the most Academy Award-winning film (later tied by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). ). Cameron wasn’t exaggerating during his infamous Oscars speech. He really was the king of the world in 1998.

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Titanic demonstrates Cameron’s ability to combine epic with human drama. The film hooks audiences from the start thanks to its loving recreation of the infamous ocean liner and the Romeo and Juliet romance between Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack and Kate Winslet’s Rose. Then comes the harrowing third act, in which we see the magnificent ship come down and the desperate fight for survival breaks out.

It’s impossible to watch Titanic without feeling emotionally drained. However, that didn’t stop viewers from returning to the theater again and again.

4. Risky lies

James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger are the peanut butter and chocolate of Hollywood. They may have only made a handful of movies together, but each one of them has to be among the best action movies of all time.

In Risky Lies, Cameron ditches the high-concept narrative of the Terminator and Aliens in favor of a more classic Hollywood action flick. It may not have the personal touch of Cameron’s other work, but it certainly gets what he sets out to do. Schwarzenegger is in his prime, and Risky Lies also earns points for its strong portrayal of Jamie Lee Curtis’s character. It’s also Cameron’s funniest movie, even if the marital conflict subplot doesn’t quite stand the test of time.

Looking back, Big Lies seems like the end of an era for Schwarzenegger’s career in action movies, and for Hollywood action movies in general. They’re not done like that anymore.

3. Terminator

“I will be back”.

In 1984, viewers didn’t know how prescient Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line would be. Before the Terminator became a franchise and a household name, it was a simple, gritty sci-fi action movie.

The premise of a killer robot sent back in time to assassinate the savior of the human race could have made for a nice but simplistic shooter. Instead, Cameron extracts all the emotional value of the concept. Even as Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese run from the unstoppable Terminator, they strike up a believable romance that ultimately leads to a tragic but uplifting denouement.

The Terminator is still technically impressive even 25 years later. Although the climactic stop-motion sequence of Terminator vs. Sarah is a bit crude by today’s standards, Cameron’s vision of post-apocalyptic Los Angeles is still a sight to behold. Reese’s dreams of the future add context and depth to her struggle. And Arnold’s Terminator is one of the great villains of modern cinema. Who didn’t gasp when he gunned down dozens of noble LAPD officers or cringe when he nonchalantly gouged out his own eyeball in a filthy hotel room?

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Although Arnold’s Terminator would eventually become a hero, this machine inside the shell of a man is still a nightmare.

2. Aliens: The Return

Aliens is a movie that packs the perfect amount of character development, horror, and action into a story that could have been weak in the hands of a lesser director. This sequel chronicles the return of Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ellen Ripley, to LV-426, the planet where she first encountered the Xenomorph in Alien (1979). That barren world is now home to a colony of workers and their families, who are basically ringing the dinner bell for the Xenomorphs and their monstrous Queen.

If the first movie is one of the best claustrophobic horror movies of all time, Aliens manages to take a turn towards more action-oriented sci-fi. While in keeping with the franchise’s roots, Aliens continues to deploy a “less is more” approach to showcasing the deadly battles between the voracious xenomorphs and the elite squad of Weyland-Yutani Colonial Marines.

Cameron’s decision to keep Ripley and her young protégé Newt at the emotional core of the film makes the growing threats that surround them all the more conducive to putting us on the edge of our seats. That, coupled with James Horner’s epic score, is why Aliens is not just a great Cameron movie, but one of the best movies ever.

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

There was a time in Hollywood when sequels weren’t trying to recapture the magic of the original film, but to hop on that bandwagon for as long as it could stay on the tracks. Forget trying to improve the formula. But there is Terminator 2: Judgment Day, perhaps the best example of a sequel that surpasses its predecessor.

Cameron had more experience and a lot more money to spend on Terminator 2. Building on the innovative CGI work used in Abyss, Cameron and his team were able to bring to life a shape-shifting villain made of pure liquid metal. If you thought a hulking cyborg with an Austrian accent was terrifying, wait until you see Robert Patrick’s relentless T-1000.

More than any Cameron film before or since, Terminator 2 manages to combine incredible action scenes with moving emotional drama. The story of the first film exists as a closed loop, in which the future affects the past. Terminator 2 breaks that loop and reminds us that the future is only what we make of it. It humanizes Schwarzenegger’s character, exploring whether a machine programmed to kill turns into something else. We can’t even blame the numerous sequels that followed for not living up to this sequel’s example. How can you beat this?

How would you rate Cameron’s filmography?