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July 1994


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Andrew Gordon <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 19 Jul 1994 10:38:35 EDT
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James Cameron has always been a filmmaker concerned with "family values"
within the context of action/adventure films:  Terminator is about the
creation of a family that will save the world (with Christian overtones);
T2 about the reuniting and preservation of that family; Aliens comes down
to good mother Ripley versus evil mother alien; Abyss is the reconciliation
of a couple; and True Lies concerns the same.  The contradiction in Cameron,
as suggested in the attempt to blend two genres (family film and action/
adventure) is between his love of domesticity and his love of violence.  It
seems to me that in True Lies the contradictions have become untenable, as
epitomized by the shot of Schwarzenegger and Curtis embracing as an atomic
bomb explodes in the background (it took an atomic explosion to bring them
together).  The family that bonds through cataclysmic violence is Cameron's
characteristic theme; True Lies brings it to a reductio ad absurdum.  To
argue about whether his films are feminist or misogynist is besides the point.
His films pretend to be humanist while glorifying extreme violence.
       --Andrew Gordon