EntertainmentAll James Cameron movies ranked from worst to best

All James Cameron movies ranked from worst to best


When he was a child, James Cameron did not want to play basketball with the other children: his passion was to build things that would fly or, conversely, that would sink. Explore the unknown, surprise yourself, surpass yourself.

Always controversial but (almost) always right, James Cameron was self-taught from the start. So much so that he quit his trucking job after seeing ‘Star wars’ and decided to go into the movies after reading many books about it but not having taught a single class in college.

Now, nine fiction films (and two fabulous documentaries that we have not included in the list) later, it is time to look back and order everything that has come out of Cameron’s mind. It is not an easy task, surely someone will get angry, but remember: it is a personal list ordered in a subjective way, it does not pass judgment on anything nor will it decide the future of any saga. Are you ready for the trip of your life?

9) ‘Pirana II: Vampires of the Sea’

Direction: James Cameron and Ovidio G. Assonitis Cast: Lance Henriksen, Steve Marachuk, Tricia O’Neil, Leslie Graves, Ricky Paull Goldin, Ted Richert

James Cameron got his start in film working as a visual effects specialist and production designer for B-movie maestro Roger Corman. In fact, when he signed for ‘Pirana 2’ he did so as director of its visual effects , but the original director, Miller Drake, left in anger with producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, and our hero managed to get the long-awaited chair. But the production was far from a pleasant ride: by all accounts, he was fired and rehired over and over again, he had no control over the final cut, and we’ll never know how much he directed and how much Assonitis.

In fact, Cameron denied for years that he was the director of this sequel , which is nowhere near as good as Joe Dante’s original. All in all, it’s a fun movie about flying piranhas, some gore, and awful performances, partly to blame for a boring script that focuses more on bland characters than on advancing the plot. It’s absurd, it’s idiotic, it’s lousy, but in its own way it’s adorable. If you haven’t seen it, a piece of advice: don’t do it without friends around.

8) ‘Avatar: the sense of water’

Direccion: James Cameron Reparto: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis

‘Avatar: The Sense of Water’ is a film that fans of the technical aspect of the first part will love, because… there is nothing else. Yes, it’s impressive what Cameron and Weta have been able to do by creating a new planet out of nothing, but once the novelty of the underwater world wears off, it stagnates until its last fun hour. I know it has many fans, but even the most recalcitrant will understand that it is not easy to enter these three and a quarter hours of technical prodigy and narrative nothingness.

If the first was thrashed for years for its soft story (and rather blatantly inspired by other movies), the second part doesn’t learn from its mistakes. It is excessively simple to put up with that footage, it lacks interesting characters (fans are put as they are) and it makes cowardly decisions. Whether it makes up for its deficiencies with action and the technical part depends on each viewer. I fully understand why some people would get mad at putting it between ‘Pirana 2’ and the first ‘Avatar’, but Cameron has put too much effort into something that, for some of us, wasn’t that great. Nobody is perfect!

7) ‘Avatar’

Directed by James Cameron Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi

‘Avatar’ is a unique case in the history of cinema: a film that broke the box office around the world but had no cultural (not social) impact . And it has its reason for being: it is a very nice movie to watch but, ultimately, its plot simplicity is its greatest enemy. Technically it’s still impressive (as much as I have personal problems with the design of the protagonists) and started the 3D trend with the best movie ever made with this gimmick. It is undeniable: Pandora is a real feat per se.

But it’s not enough. If a movie has to rely on a visual trick external to viewing to wow, it wasn’t wonderful in the first place. ‘Avatar’ creates a new world out of nothing, uses techniques that had not been mastered until then, perfects the three dimensions… at the service of a plot and characters that do it no good. However, it has more depth than its sequel and its novelty effect makes it much more enjoyable.

6) ‘Abyss’

Director: James Cameron Cast: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, JC Quinn, Jimmie Ray Weeks

‘Abyss’ is the opposite of ‘Avatar’: it is a movie with very good ideas but destroyed by its pace. It has many fans, yes, and it’s very good, but in a filmography that is measured by fabulous creations, there always has to be a victim. In my case it is this, which is surprising for its time and manages to give a perfect claustrophobic tone to the story, but it doesn’t end up playing the cards that are dealt to it.

In other words: the film prepares you for a climax that does not exist, and ends up leaving too many questions in limbo . It’s very good, yes, but the viewer ends up mentally exhausted after so much spinning and skidding, and the ending simply doesn’t measure up, blurring the memory of the tape. Still, well worth a review. A somewhat failed James Cameron is still better than most directors in their prime.

5) ‘Risk lies’

Direccion: James Cameron Reparto: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Charlton Heston, Art Malik, Bill Paxton, Tia Carrere, Eliza Dushku

Again, it can be controversial, and I understand that, but I love the James Cameron who doesn’t take himself seriously, avoids bombast and just wants to have fun throwing things at the camera, putting four jokes here and there and offering a movie. Quite usual, yes, but unspeakably entertaining. It is a hyperbolic, exaggerated, absurd, silly film and fully aware of its shortcomings. And for that alone I am already completely in love with her.

James Cameron usually travels the highway of believing himself to be a Hollywood divinity and treating all his films as vehicles for gravity and seriousness. Action with capital letters, to understand each other. However, in ‘Risk Lies’ he doesn’t mind being the same as always (no one can deny that the action scenes, including that grand finale) while he lets his hair down. One of Cameron’s most hidden faces, the insignificant joker is here, and it’s a luxury: he doesn’t usually let it show. Just for discovering this facet he is already worth, and a lot, worth it.

4) ‘Terminator’

Director: James Cameron Reparto: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich

The movie that our director sweated through during the filming of ‘Pirana II’ is a sci-fi masterpiece packed with iconic moments and honored time and time again (with good reason). It is an exercise in master creation with very little budget that shows the best James Cameron pulling gold nuggets out of nowhere , accompanied by Arnold Schwarzenegger who needed this role to show that he was something more than Conan.

The result, one of the best action and science fiction movies in history that knew how to introduce its own universe and that everyone understood the dynamics of time travel. What not everyone imagined yet is that Cameron still had a cartridge to tell in the history of the T-800. And what a cartridge.

3) ‘Titanic’

Direccion: James Cameron Reparto: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton

James Cameron, creator of iconic images, gave his all in ‘Titanic’, three and a half hours of epic in which, in the end, the most important thing was his characters, Jack and Rose, their impossible romance, the table on which (let’s face it ) There was only room for one person and excellent plans. Even now, no one has dared to make another mainstream movie about the ship because everything was said.

It is a piece of clockwork in which everything works, from the Celine Dion song to the methodical reconstruction of the ship. Beyond the irony with which we adolescents received it at its premiere, an absolute marvel was hidden that passes in a breath and never fails to provide moments to remember. Our hearts could not continue after ‘Titanic’.

2) ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’

Direccion: James Cameron Reparto: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Earl Boen, Joe Morton, S. Epatha Merkerson

If James Cameron could make ‘Terminator’ with 6 and a half million, what would he do with 100 million? The answer, in ‘Terminator 2’, a masterpiece of action and science fiction cinema that presented the basic concepts that the saga had left to be remembered decades later: John Connor, the T-1000, the timeline change. 

The saga without Cameron fell apart very quickly, but this second part remains as a sample of how to do more and better. The visual effects are impressive even now, the characters are worth remembering and the plot never stops being exciting, with a powerful script that never lets the viewer loose until a surprising humanist ending after which many of us intuit that we would not return. to see Schwarzenegger involved in the cyborg circuits. We believed wrong.

1) ‘Aliens: the return’

Direccion: James Cameron Reparto: Sigourney Weaver, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Carrie Henn, William Hope

The only time that James Cameron has gotten into a saga that was not his was to take the franchise started by Ridley Scott to another level of quality. We have never been more scared with the xenomorphs or been so excited with Ripley. The movie is creepier (although it trades terror for action), has a more claustrophobic tone and is impossible to improve. ‘Aliens: the return’ is the sublimation of a director always dedicated to the show who avoids going easy to innovate in a sequel that could go directly to copy the original, but decides to go a step further.

The icon creator Cameron is here working at full volume and without brakes, especially in a third act in which he steps on the accelerator and dedicates himself to one of the craziest, most luxurious, charismatic and fabulous shows in cinema, which, above all, always navigate in favor of the characters. An authentic masterpiece that marked a before and after not only in the director’s career, but also in the history of the fantastic. For this alone, he deserves to make the ‘Avatar’ he wants. He has earned it.

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