You might think that James Cameron, the man who wrote and directed the two biggest global box office blockbusters in history, Titanic and technologically groundbreaking Avatar, hardly needs defending. Yet, amidst all the denunciations of Avatar by neoconservative such as John Podhoretz and David Brooks, who are annoyed that the evil Earthling mercenaries use terms like “shock and awe,” and the more persuasive criticism from science fiction aficionados that the auteur dumbs down his movies for the mass market, it’s worth pointing out that the Cameron glass is half full, too.Like many guys of a certain age, I’ve nurtured a love-hate attitude toward James Cameron that goes back a quarter of a century to a point about five minutes into Terminator. That’s when it started to dawn upon me that the man behind this cheesy, low-budget time travel flick starring that muscle man who talks funny was the most ambitious and accomplished hard science-fiction filmmaker ever.Yet, if Cameron had so much talent that he could make the movie of my dreams, then it is easy for me to assume that he should make it. And when he doesn’t, I tend to take it personally.
Nevertheless, Cameron deserves some vindication. For example, rather than being the America-hating leftist of neocon fulminations, Cameron is a worthy successor to the greatest American science fiction writer, Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988).