Avatar declared greatest film ever
Roger Ebert speechless
Though some elitists, like those of the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, have snubbed the highest-grossing film of all time, James Cameron’s “Avatar”, it recently earned another distinction. When the American Film Institute revised “100 Years… 100 Movies,” a list of culturally significant movies, it placed Avatar at number one, ahead of former favorites like “Citizen Kane,” “Raging Bull” and “Schindler’s List.” Cadenza interviewed director James Cameron shortly after the news, translated here from the original Na’vi.
Cameron first thanked the large production crew, staff and actors. “Everyone pulled together for this film. I had the most innovative artists ever working on ‘Avatar.’ The acting was wonderful! Even though I wanted Kevin Costner for the lead, I was still happy with the results. Heck, this was the best team anyone could have had for $267 million.” Cameron agreed with the Institute’s decision. “I’m thrilled to have Avatar up top. This modern list is about artistic merit, not films only your grandfather remembers. Audiences today don’t care about “Casablanca” or “Vertigo.” They want to buy art; they want gorgeous visuals and computer generated aliens, not intimate portraits of people and examinations of the human condition. Elia Kazan is so outdated.” When asked for details of his next project, Cameron said, “I’m considering putting ‘A Bug’s Life’ on Pandora, unless ‘Pocahontas’ has a sequel I can work with.”
Other reactions have been less enthusiastic. Leonard Maltin said, “This is the worst thing to happen to American cinema since the fourth Indiana Jones movie.” Joe Morgenstern protested as well, saying, “Avatar will entertain today’s audience. But in the long run, it’s like a trophy wife, with short-lived beauty and no substance.” Roger Ebert had nothing to say.
Cameron answered his critics with confidence in the entertainment industry’s potential to expand with technology and adapt to new audience expectations. “I’m confident future generations will remember ‘Avatar’ as the last great traditional movie. My production staff and I developed an entirely new way of capturing stories and projecting them to audiences. ‘Avatar’ is the end of traditional cinema. When photography first started, people called prints of 127 film ‘Kodaks.’ I’m sure the next generation of motion pictures will be called ‘Camerons.’”