Walter Mencken 10 a.m., July 23
Origins: James Cameron's Piranha Part 2: The Spawning
The 1981 sequel was Cameron's first feature-length outing as a director.
Hello, and welcome to Origins, a look back at the early work of noted directors, with a special emphasis on how those early efforts foreshadowed what came later. I can't think of a better first subject for this column than James Cameron, whose work on Pirahna Part 2: The Spawning contains so much of what was to come from the man behind the biggest moneymakers of all time, Avatar and Titanic. He wrote it, too (under the name of H. A. Milton).
Let's start with the very opening scene:
Divers exploring a sunken ship. Hello Titanic!
But oh dear, what's this? It's actually a sunken military vessel! Just like in The Abyss!
Uh-oh. Sexytimes between minor characters. They meet a violent death early in the film. Just like in The Terminator.
Oh, look - a single mom and her teenaged son, and the boy doesn't like Mom's lifestyle choices. Sort of like Terminator 2.
Wait, is that an arrogant authority figure (resort owner) who has set up shop on the natives' land, whose only concern is the bottom line, and who doesn't mind ignoring his smart lady scientist in order to keep the money coming in? Hello, Parker Selfridge from Avatar!
And who, pray, is that smart, tough, and resourceful lady scientist? That's right: Sigourney Weaver. Well, close, anyway.
Let's keep going with the characters, shall we? I mean, you've got a young man in need of money who manages to get on board a fancy boat and meets a pompous parent with a lovely daughter. The two spend some quality time below decks, the daughter falls in love with him, and they sneak off for a lover's meetup in a smaller vehicle. Hmmm...
Why, that sounds just a tiny bit like Titanic! Granted, they wind up in a car instead of a lifeboat, but still.
Oh, it gets better. In Part II, we get into the film's plot, which is pretty much Aliens. Back soon!
More like this:
- Origins, Part III: a few final, stray tidbits from James Cameron's Piranha Part 2: The Spawning — Oct. 1, 2013
- Name That Logo: Deluxe Warner Bros. Edition — Sept. 19, 2013
- James Cameron continues the madness! — July 8, 2013
- Scripps Oceanography researcher makes film: James Cameron: Undersea Invader — June 4, 2013
- Coming Soon: Titanic Sinking in 3D at a Theater Near You! — Nov. 22, 2011