James Cameron Throws Shade At STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

He calls it a retrenchment.

I like when filmmakers speak their minds. It's so rare that somebody who works in Hollywood really says what they feel about other movies, and you have to understand why - they need to work in the future! The people whose films they're criticizing may well end up being involved in their upcoming projects in some way. But James Cameron is big enough that he can say whatever he likes, and that includes throwing some shade at Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Not as much shade as Film Crit Hulk threw today (what a coincidence!), but he really nails the basic problem of The Force Awakens - it doesn't do anything new. 

When a student interviewer asks Cameron if he's seen the new Star Wars he begins with the always telling "Weeeeeell...."

Intriguingly, Cameron makes it sound like his thoughts echo George Lucas' (which is not that surprising, considering some of the stuff Lucas had to say about The Force Awakens):

"George Lucas is a friend of mine and he and I were having a conversation about it the other day. I don’t want to say too much about the film, because I also have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams.”

Ouch! He's going by the old 'if you don't have something nice to say...' rules here. 

“I have to say that I felt that George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination. This film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters.”

That seems really fair, and it's probably the biggest complaint that people had about the film. But Cameron refrains from really dumping on the movie by following that up with:

"For me the jury's out. I want to see where they go with it."

That's a very political way of sidestepping the question, especially since JJ Abrams isn't directing Episode VIII. He's essentially calling The Force Awakens a wash, and hopes that the next films will make up for it in context. 

None of these are bone-shattering critiques, but they're rare in Hollywood. There's just enough shade thrown to give you a sense of how Cameron really feels... and how Lucas agrees with him.