Big budgets, ambitious ideas, and game-changing technology are just some of the traits associated with one of Hollywood's most important directors. If you find the time, take a look at James Cameron's resume outside of film-making, He's an environmentalist, a philanthropist and, as a few of his documentary films will tell you, an explorer. The guy doesn't stop.
This means that his impeccable contribution to the sci-fi action movie genre in the 80's and 90's is, in the grand scheme of things, only a fragment of his career. Going forward from there, his role in the director's chair led to more elaborate, painstaking and money-making projects, which were a mental and physical strain for his actors and crew, but a giant shining diamond for Hollywood.
And there's still more to come. By all rights, the new swathe of Avatar movies, whenever we get to see them, should be something special. In the meantime, here's a rundown of his directorial work, most of which is great, but a big portion of which is better than great.
10. Piranha 2: The Spawning (1982)
Well, you have to start somewhere.
James Cameron's directorial debut is a tough one to mark because throughout the movie's production, he was nudged out of the loop by higher powers in the studio. However, seeing as this is a film about flying killer fish, its most Cameron-esque moments are still the most inadequate of his career.
As a kink-oriented teenage gore fest, it's kind of fun. The very concept of airborne piranha ramps up the entertainment value, but the execution is dubious at best. The flying fish, with their visible wires and barely moving body parts are consistently terrible throughout the movie. The blatant dubbing and wooden performances add to the swill of badness. It just happens to sit in a genre where such dire traits tend to be celebrated rather than criticised.
While acknowledging that Piranha 2 is a rough piece of work, nobody will ever say it's disappointing. It is what it is. To say that James Cameron was destined for bigger things is planet Earth's biggest understatement. If nothing else it hinted at his love for working in water.