My favorite nugget re all this is the company line when someone, in this case the VF writer, notes Avatar’s apparent parallels to other big, familiar Hollywood movies. “I’m not really influenced by other movies that much,” Cameron says in the interview. “To me, storytelling is organic to the story you’re trying to tell. Which is not to say that there weren’t movies during that time period that I liked. I’m a big movie fan, but I tend not to be overly influenced by other films.” I think those comments speak plainly enough for themselves (except for that bit about storytelling being organic to the story you’re trying to tell—- Would anyone care to take a crack at interpreting that?) I can't think of another Hollywood director who has so garishly flourished by employing this recyclable narrative philosophy; perhaps the persistent existence of Piranha 2 is too sharp a reminder even for Cameron of where his roots really lie.
Original Cameron softball piece here.