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James Cameron Explains The Connection Between Avatar And The Abyss

Visionary director James Cameron is diving back into the waters of innovative filmmaking for his upcoming blockbuster "Avatar: The Way of Water," which Twitter reacted to rapturously after its world premiere. Cameron is known for breaking ground and creating new techniques for telling stories through film. When 2009's "Avatar" was released, audiences were taken by how 3D technology was used to immerse the viewer into Pandora. With the new sequel, Cameron looks to create an underwater landscape unlike anything audiences have ever seen. However, this isn't the first time Cameron took our breath away underwater.

Released in 1989, James Cameron directed the sci-fi epicĀ "The Abyss." Featuring groundbreaking visual effects, Cameron manipulated water in a way audiences had never seen before. The film is about a team of oil crew members and a US search and recovery crew who race against the Soviet Union to locate a sunken submarine in the Caribbean. Besides the sunken ship, the crew discovers an alien spacecraft under the ocean. Besides the underwater setting of "The Abyss" and the fact the crew film is interacting with otherworldly beings, Cameron sees another direct connection between his 1989 film and the "Avatar" sequel.

James Cameron sees similar allegories in The Abyss and Avatar

In an interview with Empire Magazine with fellow sci-fi director Colin Trevorrow ("Jurassic World"), James Cameron talked about the connections between his new film and his 1989 underwater epic. Cameron said, "From early childhood on I've had a deep awe and fascination with all the wonders of nature, both above and below water. That's certainly what drove the creation of 'Avatar.'" One look at Cameron's filmography that includes documentaries like "Aliens from the Deep" absolutely confirms his area of interest.

He continued talking about his motivations behind "The Abyss," saying, "It was my version of 'The Day The Earth Stood Still,' a function of my Cold War angst, and a comment on how an alien super-intelligence might judge rather harshly the way we mistreat each other and our beautiful world." In the director's cut of the film, all of humanity is at stake when aliens threaten to unleash a megatsunami on Earth wiping out all of existence, but ultimately the love that humans share for each other saves our planet.

Cameron directly compared the two films saying, "In 'Avatar,' WE are the invaders from space, and the common theme with 'The Abyss' is that we are judged harshly by a more evolved alien culture, in that case the Na'vi, who live in a harmony with nature in a way that we have forgotten." In the "Avatar" films, humans are attempting to mine unobtanium from the world of Pandora, proving to be the invaders in that story. The Na'vi look down on the humans for their greed and disrespect of the balance of nature. It looks like Cameron will continue to explore the environmental themes that plague his imagination with the upcoming sequel "Avatar: The Way of Water," in theaters December 16, 2022.