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Is James Cameron a messiah? Or just an everyday hero?

June 2, 2010 |  1:11 pm

James Cameron, as we are all aware, has already saved pop culture and moviegoing as we know it. So an oil spill should be no problem.

The Web has been alive with stories today about how the director of  "Avatar" was part of a government "listening session" that had officials in the Environmental Protection Agency meeting with a host of scientists about ways to solve the BP oil-spill crisis. As a leaking well an exploded oil rig sends hundreds of thousands of gallons gushing of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day, the government is eager to hear   -- well, anything.

Cameron's inclusion on the panel is easy to mock -- cue jokes about BP executives donning 3-D glasses -- and makes one think about whether other directors could be used (or not used). Roland Emmerich is not the first guy you'd call if an environmental calamity seemed imminent. And you probably wouldn't want to take a sick pet to the veterinary minds behind "Marmaduke."

But Cameron has some bona fides. In addition to directing both documentaries and fiction films about underwater worlds, he owns a fleet of submarines and has invented small machines that can plumb the ocean at a mile deep, the kind of deep-sea equipment that may have a shot of solving the problem. And absent any viable alternatives, making a tech-head like Cameron part of the discussion isn't a bad idea. It certainly can't do worse than Top Kill.

It's interesting to note in all this that another film presence, Kevin Costner, has jumped in. The "Waterworld" star and his scientist  brother Dan have volunteered their patented machine, called "Ocean Therapy," which basically functions as a giant vacuum cleaner, sucking up water and cleaning it. The technology didn't seem to solve the problem, which leads one to an interesting conclusion: If your nautical movie didn't work in theaters, your nautical technology probably won't be able to solve a real-world problem.

Which, in a weird way, kind of gives us hope for Cameron.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: James Cameron in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: Jung Yeon-je / AFP/Getty Images

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Comments () | Archives (6)

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Its a national acknowledgement for those of us that have opened our eye's, that we are moving into the end of time. The coming of Christ. Judgment day!!!
This disaster is just another (but huge) conformation of fact that greed and corruption is going to finish us all. We have now slay-en "the Earth it self" and she is bleeding to death.
Wake up people! Its to late to save us but not to late to save yourself. Make peace with your Maker for you shall see him much sooner that you know!!!

Continuing his Avatar theme of environmental protection, Cameron's Avatar 2 will replace the military idiots with greedy corporate idiots. His 3D cameras are currently shooting the Gulf disaster, above and below, for future use.

Nice try Steven, there is a problem with your entirely too eager explanation for this absurd move on the part of the Obama administration. The idea that of all 300 million Americans in this country, a Hollywood director/friend of Obama and dues paying member of the liberal elite is somehow uniquely positioned to be on this panel to stop an oil leak, really strains credulity.

Sure, Cameron has a fleet of subs. So do the oil companies, yet we haven't really enlisted any help from BP's competitors, something that any astute business man dealing with a crisis would do in a heartbeat. What do we expect from a President whose entire resume, both before and after November 2008, consists of getting elected President.

This is yet another indication that what we have is a celebrity in the White House and not a real president. McCain did warn us, unfortunately too many in this country were confusing American Idol with the American presidency.

Funny how people mocked Avatar for being anti-corporate, which it was, but for good reason. Avatar is not anti-military, considering the villains in Avatar are a corporation (RDA) hiring mercs to solve security problems. You'd think by now, people would get the point he was trying to make, considering this is almost identical to the movie's greedy corporate drilling on precious environmental areas.

First of all, first commenter, your end-times ideas are the mark of someone mentally ill. Seek help.

Second of all, WHY is anyone seeking help from James Cameron? He's a filmmaker, not an oceanographer or a marine biologist or a geologist.

Good post Steven. Why mock someone who has about a dozen dives to twice the depth of the oil spill, has had a longstanding fascination with the deep sea, knows heaps of people both scientists and deep ocean explorers alike, and has a team of deep ocean engineers working with him at various times on different projects? That Jim Cameron organized a team comprised of scientists, engineers, and explorers to meet at EPA HQ with the notion that they might contribute something valuable seems an excellent idea to me. Good for him! This crisis needs all hands on deck, especially those with experience at that depth.


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