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There's A Reason James Cameron Keeps Coming Back To The Ocean

Ever since James Cameron directed his first feature in 1982, "Piranha II: The Spawning," a fan of his movies could likely list multiple recurring themes in his filmography. This is because the filmmaker moves in and out of genres but always brings to life grand and eye-catching gestures when it comes to state-of-the-art visual effects. There is the existential battle between humanity and technology in "The Terminator" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," or a penchant for all-out action as seen in "Aliens" and "True Lies." But pinning down one recurrent Cameron theme across his movies could easily be found in the frequent exploration of the ocean or the perils of the seas. The dangers of the ocean can be seen in his first feature with its B-movie qualities, but more prominently in 1989's "The Abyss."

That film explored the possibilities of the mysteries of the world's oceans, and the dangers of the sea would once again return to stunning effect in Cameron's "Titanic" from 1997. Although that movie was primarily a historical romance, the dangers of the freezing Atlantic likely still resonate in viewers' imaginations. Water also plays a major role in "Avatar: The Way of Water," as it takes viewers into parts of Pandora not previously seen in the first film. But the ocean also defines so much more of the director's interests in terms of exploration and conservation (via CNN). Here is the reason why James Cameron keeps returning to the deep in his films.

Cameron says virtual production can help people better understand the oceans to foster conservation

James Cameron's interest in the world's oceans is immense. In 2012, the filmmaker became the first solo diver in history to reach Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench (per NPR). His oceanic engrossment is wide-reaching as well and runs the gamut from environmental protection efforts to theorizing about the mysteries of the deep. In an interview with Complex in promotion of "Avatar: The Way of Water," Cameron was asked about the new world in the film. He said, "Yeah, look, so I've done so much underwater photography; shooting in water, 'The Abyss,' and obviously 'Titanic,' and then all the documentaries, all the deep ocean exploration work that I've done. So I wanted to bring that back in and see if we could solve that in the virtual production."

The filmmaker then added how virtual production allows him to work from his dreams when crafting underwater creatures and landscapes. Cameron added, "I have a lot of underwater dreams, a lot of underwater dreams. And in them sometimes I'm just seeing such amazing biomass, such amazing life." He then spoke about how commercial fisheries have decimated fish populations across Earth's oceans for centuries. He finished his point by circling back to the theme of conservation by stating, "Hey, we love the ocean so much, we love being underwater. It speaks to us subconsciously almost, in this kind of dreamlike way. Let's protect it."