James Cameron Continues To Bash Wonder Woman


In a turn of events that will likely surprise nobody at all, the popular press has continued to question James Cameron on his response to Wonder Woman, and the director has continued to dismiss the hit film as regressive.

Despite Patty Jenkins answering Cameron’s original comments with her own rebuttal, The Hollywood Reporter has handed the microphone of public discourse back to the Titanic filmmaker, in an interview to promote the fact that he’s now in production on Avatar 2 and 3, while also preparing to shepherd Terminator 6 as screenwriter and producer.

“Yes, I’ll stand by that. I mean, she was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s. It was all in a context of talking about why Sarah Connor — what Linda created in 1991 — was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time. I don’t think it was really ahead of its time because we’re still not [giving women these types of roles].”

These comments come in answer to a question about his response to the fact that his original remarks were considered “controversial” – but it’s unsurprising that the director has not changed his mind at all in the face of counter-argument. He is, of course, in the process of promoting the return of Sarah Connor to the Terminator franchise in the recently announced Terminator 6, so it’s in his interest to remind us of why audiences should turn out for that movie as much as they did for the smash-hit Wonder Woman.

The interesting point to note here, though, is Cameron’s focus on costume. The fact that, in Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot is an attractive woman who often wears an Amazonian battle suit (which, according to him, resembles a “form-fitting bustier”) is what he finds to be regressive. But, when we look at Terminator 2: Judgment Day, we find the wardrobe choice for the attractive Linda Hamilton is most often a form-fitting, low-cut vest. So, again, it seems that Wonder Woman simply fails to fit neatly into his own definition of what ground-breaking female characterization can be.

Cameron continues:

“Linda looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, she was crazy, she was complicated… she wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film. So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film, and Hollywood, uh, “letting” a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything ground-breaking in Wonder Woman. I thought it was a good film. Period. I was shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement. It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn’t get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they’ve got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18 year old males, or 14 year old males, whatever it is.”

To return to Patty Jenkins’ point about Cameron’s “inability to understand” her film – the point of Wonder Woman lies in the juxtaposition between the titular character’s upbringing on Themyscira (an all-female society), and her experiences upon arrival in ‘Man’s World’ – whereupon she’s expected to conform to patriarchal standards that are nonsensical to her. It’s entirely a film about “will,” and “determination,” because that’s what it takes for Diana to become Wonder Woman.

The movie might well appeal to 18 year old males and 14 year old males, but that is not its purpose – as demonstrated by the demographics of the audiences that turned out to support the film, repeatedly, in droves. Very clearly, this is a project that appeals to women as much as it does men – whether James Cameron approves or not.

The real issue here becomes apparent in the director’s final note on the topic of Wonder Woman.

“Look, it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part, and I’m not walking it back, but I will add a little detail to it, which is: I like the fact that, sexually, she has the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun.”

Here, very clearly, it’s James Cameron that sexualizes Wonder Woman in an attempt to tear down one female hero in service of his own.

It remains the case, however, that female heroes of cinema can take many forms, and it’s for audiences to decide to whom they respond. We can appreciate Sarah Connor, while also appreciating Wonder Woman – one does not negate the other. If we’re to truly strive for gender equality in film characterization, then we should have as many different kinds of women onscreen as we have men.

Sarah Connor – as she appears specifically in Terminator 2: Judgment Day – is indeed a great icon of the action genre, but let’s not take that deification too far. She is, in essence, a re-hashing of James Cameron’s version of Ellen Ripley – as seen in his 1986 movie Aliens. Since, in his criticism of Wonder Woman, Cameron has made clear his desire for truly groundbreaking female characters in action movies, let’s hope he’ll avoid sticking to his hitherto narrow view of female heroism and deliver something fresh and exciting in his script for Terminator 6 – the film of which currently has its release date set for July 26th, 2019.

Source: THR

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