James Cameron, the legendary director was interviewed this week by the Guardian. There is nothing amazing about that. What is amazing was what he had to say about Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman movie.
All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!
Dawg, really? I mean yeah, if you are calling out male Hollywood you would know but still, with your record, how are you calling Wonder Woman a step backwards?? Didn’t Wonder Woman earn the audience’s respect because she was a strong hero and not just some woman waiting to be saved by Steve Trevor? While we can dissect his statement to which Patty Jenkins responded by saying that she is unsurprised because James Cameron, “is not a woman”, I think it’s fair to look at his track record. It’s fair because when you consider said track record, nearly all of his hit movies have strong independent women.
Let’s have a quick look shall we?
Terminators 1 and 2
Ok, let’s start off with the movies (don’t worry I will get to the other one in a sec!) that brought you to the dance. So you said Sarah Connor wasn’t a beauty icon? Cool, but I do remember her being the damsel in distress right up until the end of the first movie where it was her that took out Arnold’s T-800. In the 2nd one while she is this close to taking out the T-1000, when she gets cornered, the favor is returned. But come on, we all know that she wasn’t going down without a fight. We can all agree with everything above about Sarah and the character she was. By the way, James, didn’t you marry Linda Hamilton? Granted while you didn’t watch much of the TV show based off of your characters, Sarah Connor was pretty fleshed out as a gritty character…and a bad mom.
So, was Aliens a step back as well? I mean right in between your Terminator movies, you have possibly one of the best action movies of the 80s to not star Arnold nor Sylvester. Ellen Ripley’s claim to fame is that she outlasted a trained Space Marines platoon even rescuing one in the process. Hell, Ellen Ripley was one of the on screen wonder women we got before there WAS Wonder Woman so, considering your statement, this is a headscratcher.
Since we on the subject of women outlasting the men, let’s talk about yet another one of Cameron’s opuses. Now I will tell you this, I never watched this movie in its entirety and I will tell ya why. It’s the TITANIC, you already know how this will end! SPOILER: THE SHIP SINKS! But bottom line, Rose lives and Jack dies. Granted, Kate Winslet’s Rose is not the prototypical woman of action as seen in other movies, the very idea that she rejects a forced engagement is the type of woman that embodies the quality of independence.
I could get into The Abyss where another strong female lead is featured. I could even go into the fact that he owns the rights to Battle Angel Alita which is a manga/anime based on yet another strong female lead. Let’s face it, with the track record of anime/manga movies in America, that movie may be DOA but that is another story for another day. I will still give him side eye on his white savior movie Avatar, in lieu of his statement rebuking Wonder Woman. Bottom line is this, when you are the guy whose career is based off of having made boatloads of money built from strong female leads, it’s hypocritical to call out someone who takes one of America’s most iconic character and does the same. Is it because you didn’t make this movie or is it because a woman outdid you at your own game? Of all the flavors you could have been, you chose salty. Wonder Woman is cut from the same cloth as many of the characters in your movies. At her base, she is a strong fighter, she is compassionate with her only flaw that is shown in this movie is her being naïve. Sorry James, I am not seeing how Wonder Woman was a step backwards. If anything, not only is it an evolution of what we need to see in the super hero movie landscape but it was a necessary step forward for all movies, period.