The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron (英語) ハードカバー – 2009/12/15
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With the release of Avatar, James Cameron cements his reputation as king of sci-fi and blockbuster filmmaking. It’s a distinction he’s long been building, through a directing career that includes such cinematic landmarks as The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, and the highest grossing movie of all time, Titanic.
The Futurist is the first in-depth look at every aspect of this audacious creative genius—culminating in an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of Avatar, the movie that promises to utterly transform the way motion pictures are created and perceived. As decisive a break with the past as the transition from silents to talkies, Avatar pushes 3-D, live action, and photo-realistic CGI to a new level. It rips through the emotional barrier of the screen to transport the audience to a fabulous new virtual world.
With cooperation from the often reclusive Cameron, author Rebecca Keegan has crafted a singularly revealing portrait of the director’s life and work. We meet the young truck driver who sees Star Wars and resolves to make his own space blockbuster—starting by building a futuristic cityscape with cardboard and X-Acto knives. We observe the neophyte director deciding over lunch with Arnold Schwarzenegger that the ex–body builder turned actor is wrong in every way for the Terminator role as written, but perfect regardless. After the success of The Terminator, Cameron refines his special-effects wizardry with a big-time Hollywood budget in the creation of the relentlessly exciting Aliens. He builds an immense underwater set for The Abyss in the massive containment vessel of an abandoned nuclear power plant—where he pushes his scuba-equipped cast to and sometimes past their physical and emotional breaking points (including a white rat that Cameron saved from drowning by performing CPR). And on the set of Titanic, the director struggles to stay in charge when someone maliciously spikes craft services’ mussel chowder with a massive dose of PCP, rendering most of the cast and crew temporarily psychotic.
Now, after his movies have earned over $3 billion at the box office, James Cameron is astounding the world with the most expensive, innovative, and ambitious movie of his career. For decades the moviemaker has been ready to tell the Avatar story but was forced to hold off his ambitions until technology caught up with his vision. Going beyond the technical ingenuity and narrative power that Cameron has long demonstrated, Avatar shatters old cinematic paradigms and ushers in a new era of storytelling.
The Futurist is the story of the man who finally brought movies into the twenty-first century.
"A fascinating journey into the mind of the master, as meticulously detailed and entertaining as Cameron's greatest works. A humanizing and warm look into the man behind the machinery. Rebecca Keegan reveals sides of Cameron never before seen by his public and gives us an intimate, warm portrait of a mysterious genius. A must read for fans and filmmakers alike. This biography will become one of the bibles for all aspiring filmmakers." --ELI ROTH, director and actor
"An empathetic and incisive portrait of the most authentic visionary - and genuine renaissance man - in the movie business." --MARK FROST, co-creator of Twin Peaks
"What a pleasure -- a writer who can really write and a subject we really need, as well as want, to know more about." —JOE MORGENSTERN, film critic, Wall Street Journal
Filled with descriptions of the intensity he brings to each groundbreaking movie, the bio shows a man passionate about making new discoveries. An idealistic visionary fascinated with the apocalypse and new worlds, Cameron brings his artistic skills (he did the drawing of Rose in Titanic) and his love of science and technology to his famously overbudget movies. But he actually has the commitment and ability to deliver on his ambitions, taking huge risks (even risking his life to get the shots he wants), fearlessly pushing the bounds of CGI, and using inventive techniques to pursue his vision. Whether it's a new planet, an alien queen puppet, or a science fiction / fantasy story, Cameron's ability to design and create amazes and inspires.
"'There are two components to any filmmaker,' Cameron says. 'How you picture the movie in advance and how you make it happen in the real world.' Cameron is exceptional both at dreaming up the vision and rallying people around it, assuaging their fears, ndn convincing them they're capable of seemingly impossible tasks." A person who dares to strive for the impossible has a strong personality: Cameron pushes everyone around him as hard as he pushes himself, occasionally causing his crew to freak out or break down.
More of a short hegiography with emphasis on movie production, the book doesn't dive deeply into Cameron's personal life, only briefly mentioning each of his 5 marriages and mentioning his children in 1 line, which I don't have a problem with. Although the book contains more information than a wikipedia article, more quotes from Cameron and others, more excerpts from documents, more analysis, would've improved the book.
This book is not badly written. Well paced with simplistic language it makes for a fast and easy read. It reads, in fact, like an overlong magazine article.
What I disliked was the content, specifically the lack thereof. It has the same amount of information of an exploded Wikipedia entry on the man. After reading all 274 pages of the book, back to front, there is nothing beyond a very short biography, surface deep overviews of each of his movies and snippets detailing James Cameron's undersea explorations.
Every one of James Cameron's movies has enough behind the scenes drama and technical difficulties to fill a books worth of material on each film, so it's extremely disappointing to see only one or two problems from each movie - well known situations that are listed first after a quick Google search. And none of these situations are explored in any depth - Keegan simply explains the problem and how Cameron's innate genius solved them all, usually in the space of a 100 words.
This book is lacking any depth and utterly fails to really get behind any of the difficulties Cameron regularly experiences with his films and the people that work on and fund them. This is a bare bones book which even worse almost comes off as a pure propaganda piece about James Cameron. The opportunities to call him a genius, revolutionary character are never missed and shoehorned in wherever Keegan can find. The whole read you can't help but feel the presence of Cameron over Keegan's shoulder. Cameron is an infamous man when it comes to control and domination of the people around him. Instead of fighting against that and writing an interesting piece detailing the setbacks and failures of Cameron and his measures to cope with or make successes out of them Keegan writes a cowardly, superficial work that goes above and beyond to avoid any controversy. These are the words of a fearful fan girl.
If you're looking for a basic, grade school level explanation of who James Cameron is and what films he has, as of 2011, done then this book may satisfy. However if you're actually looking for anything beyond the simple concepts and few anecdotes offered up then I would suggest looking elsewhere. Only snatch up this book if you can find it for a fifth of the price.