Which film of James Cameron is his masterpiece? I was on a boring 2 hour drive home from visiting my parents, and this thought popped into my head.
First off, Cameron is a genius of film making. He his a box office champ, and an innovator of his craft. His films have set the bar for groundbreaking technology in special effects... so much that even George Lucas is playing catch up with Cameron these days (haha). In short, his resume speaks for itself.
But out of all of his films, which one is the masterpiece of James Cameron? I would expect a good number of people to say Titanic seeing as it captured Cameron his Best Director Oscar and also Best Picture. Some might say Avatar, and I know some people felt it should have won Best Picture over The Hurt Locker.
Titanic and Avatar are both good films, but for me there is one film the stands out as the masterpiece of James Cameron. That film is...
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
My main reason for this is easy... the story. With T2, Cameron crafted what is perhaps the best action film ever. I say this because he created an action movie with a great, original story that mattered. In this day and age, action movies are numerous. But how many of those movies come with a story we care about?
Now before I'm hanged to death, let me say this: I did enjoy Titanic and Avatar. The true story of the doomed luxury liner is very heartfelt, but the dialogue in the movie can grow very tiresome. And with Avatar, there is a point to the story but its one we've seen before (i.e. Dances With Wolves, Ferngully, etc).
The Terminator universe is the creation of the man himself. It is his brainchild. And while I somewhat enjoyed T3 and T4, I have always liked that Cameron stated that he told the story he wanted to tell in the first two films.
T2 does not include action scenes for the sake of action scenes. The action compliments the story that is being unfolded. The epicenter of T2 is the story and the emotion of the characters... it just so happens that it is one kick ass action movie as well.
The other important thing that stands out in T2 are the effects. T2 broke new ground with the morphing effects of the T-1000. There is also great use of practical effects as well (Arnold cutting the flesh off of his robotic arm). But the T-1000 effects still hold up very well today. T2 led the way in CGI to make films like Jurassic Park possible.
At the center of the film is a great story about a boy destined to become the leader and the Terminator who learns the the value of life and ultimately sacrifices itself for the greater good. Great story, original James Cameron creation and groundbreaking CGI and effects. This is why I truly believe that Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the masterpiece of James Cameron.