James Cameron reveals a surprising reason he cut certain action scenes from Avatar: The Way of Water, and it doesn’t have to do with its long runtime.
James Cameron reveals why he decided to cut certain action scenes from Avatar: The Way of Water. Set more than a decade after the Na’vi repelled the human colonization of Pandora in the original Avatar, the sequel finds Jakes and Neytiri staving off another RDA invasion, led by a recombinant Quaritch who has a personal vendetta against the Sully family patriarch. This time, Jake and Neytiri have the help of their Na’vi family and the water-based Metkayina Clan. With genre master James Cameron at the helm, the sci-fi film features plenty of exciting action sequences from Spider’s kidnapping during the first act to the climatic Titantic-inspired denouement.
During a recent interview with Esquire Middle East, Cameron revealed a surprising reason why some action scenes didn’t make the final cut for Avatar: The Way of Water, and it doesn’t have to do with the sequel’s hotly-debated three-hour runtime. The Avatar writer/director says he cut about ten minutes worth of scenes from the movie that depicted gun violence, declaring that he no longer wants to fetishize guns due to the rampant gun violence in the United States. Read what Cameron said:
I actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie targeting gunplay action. I wanted to get rid of some of the ugliness, to find a balance between light and dark. You have to have conflict, of course. Violence and action are the same thing, depending on how you look at it. This is the dilemma of every action filmmaker, and I’m known as an action filmmaker. I look back on some films that I’ve made, and I don’t know if I would want to make that film now. I don’t know if I would want to fetishize the gun, like I did on a couple of ‘Terminator’ movies 30+ years ago, in our current world. What’s happening with guns in our society turns my stomach. I’m happy to be living in New Zealand where they just banned all assault rifles two weeks after that horrific mosque shooting a couple of years ago.
Why Cameron Was Right To Cut Certain Avatar 2 Scenes
In the past, Cameron has not shied away from depicting gun violence in his movies, including The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and True Lies. The first Avatar film also featured its fair share of gunplay, with both the RDA and Na’vi avatars using various military-grade weapons during the conflict. In fact, the Avatar: The Way of Water teaser trailer that screened ahead of Lightyear in theaters was originally going to show Jake holding a rifle, though it was edited by Disney due to public sentiments about glorifying gun violence after the Robb Elementary School shooting.
Due to continued gun violence in the United States, Cameron now feels a responsibility to avoid fetishizing guns in his movies. This is especially important for the Avatar sequels since they are big tent blockbusters from 20th Century Studios (now a subsidiary of Disney) and are largely about family, and with a PG-13 rating, are targeted towards families. Though gun violence may have had more of a place in Cameron’s R-rated action movies like Terminator and Aliens, the same can’t be said for Avatar.
By cutting about 10 minutes worth of action scenes that glorified gun violence, Cameron also inadvertently cut down on Avatar: The Way of Water‘s runtime. The final cut clocks in at three hours and twelve minutes, though earlier cuts were closer to three and a half hours. If there has one prevailing complaint about the sequel, it would be its long runtime, which doesn’t appear to be slowing down Avatar: The Way of Water‘s box office performance.
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Source: Esquire Middle East