James Cameron Slams ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: It Lacked ‘Visual Imagination’

James Cameron slams Star Wars
Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock

It’s safe to say that James Cameron isn’t the biggest fan of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The “Titanic” director tiptoed around answering a question about what he thought about the sequel before taking a dig at the film.

“Well, George Lucas is a friend of mine,” he prefaced. “I don’t want to say too much about the film because I also have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams and I want to see where they’re taking it next.”

But the rest of the “Avatar” helmer’s answer hints that he was not impressed.

“I have to say that I felt that George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters,” Cameron said. “So for me the jury’s out.”

Still, the director said in the interview, which recently surfaced on YouTube, that the original “Star Wars” films majorly influenced his career.

“It was fun, it was exciting,” Cameron said about the 1977 original. “It was a big revolution and I wanted to be in on it.”

The director said the “Star Wars” franchise shifted his career from passionate fan to aspiring practitioner. “‘Star Wars’ was the film that made me want to go actually do it.”

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  1. Jan24 says:

    He´s right. The “older” movies of GL was new, magic, innovation, SciFi…..Star Wars-feeling. With the prequels (Episode I till III) GL took Star Wars in a new dimension of CGI, special effects etc. Sure, the prequel wasn´t as good as the first triology, but I have to say the prequel was much more than better as TFA. The movie only be special cause of CGI effect. The story was not convincing, the same with the new cast. The dialogues were more than…simple not really a profound view of the new actors/actresses and in the end only a copy of GL “A new hope”. Sorry but part VII has Star Wars- feeling no more. It´s only in…Disney-style.

  2. Jeff T says:

    As stated many times over, The Force Awakens brought nothing new to the saga. In my opinion it should not have been produced. I’m fearful of what’s to come.

  3. Sean Connery says:

    That’s not a slam. A Slam is what I did to you mother last night, Trebak.

  4. “Know the truth you will, Free will it make you! Yes!” – Yoda quoting John 8:32. James Cameron tells it like it is! It wasn’t Star Wars at all. It was a movie with Star Wars characters that tried to reboot A New Hope. It was bland. Han, Leia, Chewie, C-3PO, BB-8 & R2-D2 should have ALL went after Luke, and fought alongside Maz Kenata, Finn, Rey, & Poe, and they should have ALL survived the movie. Luke should have stopped his nephew Kylo Ren from killing Han and then they all should have gone after Snokes, & Hux. Luke couid have then already been training Finn & Rey in the ways of the Force on their way to stop the villains and the Starkiller. Then, Finn, Rey, & Poe could have continued their own stories alongside the original heroes. That would have been a logical extension after Return Of The Jedi. Fortunately though, there is still the original Expanded Universe that those in Mouse-ville have rebranded Legends, which are far closer to the mark than this very crude and failed cinematic experiment.

  5. Gage says:

    Clickbait headline much? Way to blow it out of proportion.

  6. Paul says:

    For me Star Wars 7 was a non event. It felt like a paint by numbers run of the mill movie. Nothing special, nothing new. It wasn’t bad…. It was just, well, very average. It needed to be more. It should have knocked my socks off. But it didn’t. I guess ultimatly I felt nothing. I just didn’t care about anything I was watching. And that is a very sad place to be for a movie like this.

    • HiHat says:

      You’re absolutely right. The audience would go wild during the original trilogy. Lucas’s second trilogy and the new movie — you could hear a pin drop. That’s not what Star Wars should be…

  7. Master Chief says:

    Star Wars has definitely jumped the shark.

  8. Emil says:

    Personally, I love the Star Wars Universe. I’m thankful that George Lucas’ creativity expanded my own imagination & was an important part of my youth. I also enjoyed The Force Awakens. I think J.J. Abrams had to walk a tightrope, balancing between pleasing loyal fans, (adhering to the formula) while introducing new characters/story lines. I, was not disappointed & am looking forward to Rogue One, particularly because Donnie Yen is in it.

    My only disappointment is, to this day, I can’t understand why George Lucas kept ‘tweeking’ the original trilogies, should have left them the way they were.

    Just my opinion…

  9. Jessi says:

    Absolutly right view from Mr. Cameron. I´m a great Star Wars fans, from the movies(I till VI) and the novels. George Lucas created a new, exiting world back there with SW I till VI. The first part of the Saga (part IV till VI) was great development for that kind of SciFi movie in that time. Classic story from the “country lad” who reached the impossible and became in the end the greatest Jedi in the universe. The pre-triology (I till III) with the development of the character of Anakin Skywalker to the evil Darth Vader, with more digital effects, the greatest battler between Star Ships above Coruscant in Part III, ; phenomenal. George is a REAL visionary and a great director.
    What was the positive result of the episode VI? Can´t answer that question. Only a mix/ retake from episode IV, back in the end of the 80´s. Sorry but with that movie Disney/ J.J. Abrams destroyed the whole Star Wars universe, the fantasy, expectation for the fans. J. J. Abrams hasn´t any new ideas, which he can used his own. Only a copy of a great movie from a REALLY director. Story: boring, Development of the characters: don´t see any development. characters weren´t convincing. Especially the character Rey, played by Daisy Ridley are totally overload, in the past they have had a balance between the characters (Han, Luke, Lea); now only concentrated to Rey character. Don´t know why the other two (Poe and Fynn) were in the movie, because Rey could do everything on her own: great pilot, great mechanic, great Jedi- without jedi training…… sorry but I don´t except anything from the other two movies. Only hope, that it will come to an end, ASAP.

  10. therealeverton says:

    Wow, what a rubbish, misleading headline!

  11. Andrew says:

    Talk about trying to make news out of nothing– and the headline is misleading. Unless there’s some part of the video I missed, the only impression I got was that Cameron didn’t think the new sequel drove the narrative or world much beyond what the prequels did, and he was waiting to see what subsequent sequels brought. What is the fuss about??

  12. EricJ says:

    That ain’t NOTHIN’ compared to what Avatar lacked…

  13. Corey says:

    It may not be up to his standards for visual imagination, but his films aren’t up to my standards for diversity.

  14. Master Chief says:

    James is correct. I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan since the beginning and they should have stopped at episode 6. I feel like Abrams and destroyed Star Wars with “The Force Awakens”. Episode 7 was just a huge spin off of episode 4 “A New Hope” which give you a glimpse of what to expect on the next couple of films. Hopefully Rian Johnson does a better job on episode 8. Other than that Star Wars just sucks right now.

  15. HiHat says:

    Cameron doesn’t go far enough in his criticism of “Force Awakens.” The film didn’t just lack visual imagination, it lacked imagination. It was, basically, a weak remake of a certain film that blew the world away back in 1977. If I didn’t know better, I would say that the rebooting of the Star Wars, um, brand owes much more to accountants than artists.

  16. FJK1138 says:

    Yes – to his credit, he was far more constructive than the headline lead on.

    The problem is, no matter what happens with Star Wars going forward, someone out there will be unhappy. The cultural impact of the films was made from 1977-83… a fictional universe was established, and people forever have it in their minds how they think it should be. Anything that stays within that universe will be considered a rehash, and anything that strays too far from it will be considered too different and deemed unacceptable. Star Wars is almost cursed by its very own existence. And thanks to the internet, now everyone and their mother can go on YouTube and nitpick every last detail, flaw, or whatever else about anything that ruins their day.

    Disney has done a preemptive strike all on it’s own with doing reshoots for Rogue One for not “staying within the vision of what Star Wars should be” (my paraphrasing). Lucasfilm has officially stated that their original vision of the film (which is darker and more war-themed) will still be released, despite the reshoots. Hopefully, Star Wars will be allowed to evolve in this regard, and some artistic chances will be taken so that movie goers will get to see something new and exciting instead of an edit done just to appease financial expectations.

    Personally, I enjoyed TFA and thought it was a great movie. I saw parallels and “nods” to the original trilogy, but never thought it was a complete ripoff of them. The new characters were cool, and Han and Chewie stole the show any time they were onscreen.

    And it was…dare I say…fun.

    Wasn’t that the whole point of these movies?

  17. Cynykyl Art says:

    This from a man who can’t make a good movie. Titanic = monolithic soap opera bore. So too with that pile of steaming crap Avatar. Why don’t you ask someone who can make a decent flick? Cameron is the king of yawn.

  18. Jacques Strappe says:

    Can’t wait to see how the Avatar sequel(s) perform at the box office. Cameron will probably criticize the move goers for not having refined taste when they reject Avatar 2 as dull and unimaginative.

  19. Jacques Strappe says:

    Sounds like Leon is a closet case gay. Come out, come out, sweet, sweet Leon. We won’t judge you.

  20. Jacques Strappe says:

    Click bait headline. Way to go Variety. You replace all your seasoned professional reviewers with schlock ones and now are using deceptive attention grabbing headlines regularly. Sad that the once respected Variety has devolved into such a forgettable online rag.

  21. jhs39 says:

    I would say that James Cameron’s comments were significantly less aggressively negative than the headline implied.

    • Gregson says:

      Agreed. They’re trying to make something out of next to nothing. Cameron made one fairly light criticism, that’s all.

      And only the creepiest set of no-life fanboys are whining about TFA, because they can’t believe it was a movie made to appeal to everyone, not just obsessives. Star Wars has always been targeted at a broader audience and always will be.

      • Deeg says:

        Actually you are the no life fanboy, attracted to cheesy vomit inducting turdsuck like Vomit Awakens. Real Star wars fans (Not you) know that The Turd Awakens is garbage shat out of the anus of the worse director of all time.

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