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Face-Off: James Cameron vs. Peter Jackson

Dec. 12, 2013by: Indiana Sev
It was a Willem vs. Woody battle in last week's Face-Off and after all of you chimed in and the dust settled it was clear that Will Dafoe was the clear winner against the wacky and wonderful Woody Harrelson.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG opens this Friday so we decided to do an all-director Face-Off this week with Kiwi director Peter Jackson facing off versus Canuck director James Cameron. I first thought about putting Peter Jackson up against Lucky Strikes but I think that joke would get old by the third category.

Filmography
Jimmy Cameron exploded onto the movie screens in the 80s with back-to-back action sci-fi faves THE TERMINATOR and ALIENS and ended the decade with the underrated gem THE ABYSS. Cameron upped the ante in the 90s with three mega-hits in a row: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, TRUE LIES and TITANIC.

After he won a boatload of Oscars for TITANIC and had (at the time) the biggest grossing movie of all-time, he took a decade off and got obsessed with underwater exploration and forgot that he was a movie director. He came back with the movie that is presently the biggest money-maker of all time, AVATAR. I thought AVATAR was a big ol bore but there is no denying that everything this guy touches turns to money and usually gets rave reviews. Good for him but my favorite Canadian director is still Norman Jewison.
Pete Jacksons bread and butter early in his career were comedy/horror flicks such as BAD TASTE, DEAD ALIVE and THE FRIGHTENERS. HEAVENLY CREATURES proved that hes got more to offer the movie world than just blood, screams and yuk-yuks. The 2000s solidified Peter Jackson into Hollywood history as he dove into J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings books and directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy to massive critical and financial success worldwide.

He took a couple of years off and then stormed back with his unnecessary remake of KING KONG in 2005. Apparently, he was missing hobbits after he made his ape movie so he signed on to make a hobbit trilogy in this decade. The first installment, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY opened last winter and met with great success.
Oscars, Oscars, Oscars
James Cameron was twice invited to the Academy Awards ceremonies, the first time for his directing skills for TITANIC (for which he won) and the second time for his 3D skills for AVATAR. He lost to his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow which spared us a speech where he likely would have shouted about being king of the jungle or some shit.
Peter Jackson was also nominated twice for Oscar gold for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING and THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (for which he won). He wasnt nominated for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS because the movie just featured a bunch of trees walking for three hours.
Box Office
James Camerons films have grossed a total of...wait for it...$1.9 billion domestically and that doesnt even include the cash PIRANHA 2: THE SPAWNING likely scored as its earnings are not documented. Cameron has the distinction of being the director of the first and second biggest grossing movies of all-time but TYLER PERRY'S A MADEA CHRISTMAS hasnt been released yet so who knows how long that reign will last.
Peter Jackson has the midas touch as well with a total of $1.6 billion earned in the U.S.A. Usually that kind of coin is more than enough for anyone to win in this category but not this time around. With two more Hobbit movies opening in the next couple of years, this race might get tighter by the end of 2014.
Upcoming projects
The end of this decade will be get crazy busy for Cameron as its announced that he will direct BATTLE ANGEL and about 8 more Avatar films. BATTLE ANGEL means something different so Im looking forward to that but this Avatar train hes riding on seems like a slow and boring ride so Im getting off at the next stop and hoping he directs another Terminator or Alien movie like the good ole days.
I enjoyed last years THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY so Ill be there for the final two installments and it also looks like Jackson will be at the helm of THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: PRISONERS OF THE SUN. I grew up reading Tintin books so I cant wait for that and I prefer hobbits to avatars so Jackson takes this category handily.
James Cameron
I think Peter Jackson has a brighter future than my Canadian brother James Cameron but that doesnt change the fact that Cameron won two of the four categories in this contest and tied in another. The final decision is, as always, with the readers so cast your votes and lets see if the New Zealand director has a chance to beat the avatar out of Cameron.

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6:04AM on 12/13/2013
Cameron has a track record for making good sequels. I think he's earned the benefit of the doubt for making more than "slow and boring" Avatar sequels. Especially since the first film made 1.8 billion. That has to speak for something.
Cameron has a track record for making good sequels. I think he's earned the benefit of the doubt for making more than "slow and boring" Avatar sequels. Especially since the first film made 1.8 billion. That has to speak for something.
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11:57PM on 12/12/2013
Jackson has never kept me waiting 20 years for his return to scifi and let me down so Jackson is my choice.
Jackson has never kept me waiting 20 years for his return to scifi and let me down so Jackson is my choice.
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+4
9:16PM on 12/12/2013

Cameron - hands down, no contest, end of story

I like some of Jackson's work for sure but not all of it. Frighteners, GREAT film. Is it dated, yes but man that was a fun ride. Jackson is pretty good with characters but where he lacks is directing action sequences, his scenes lack and real fluidity or sense of depth. They also have no real visceral quality to them where as nobody tops Cameron when it comes to action, he is top notch. Cameron handles characters pretty well too, especially an ensemble cast. Both deal with comedic
I like some of Jackson's work for sure but not all of it. Frighteners, GREAT film. Is it dated, yes but man that was a fun ride. Jackson is pretty good with characters but where he lacks is directing action sequences, his scenes lack and real fluidity or sense of depth. They also have no real visceral quality to them where as nobody tops Cameron when it comes to action, he is top notch. Cameron handles characters pretty well too, especially an ensemble cast. Both deal with comedic elements fairly well.

Sure many of you will complain and comment on Jackson holy trilogy films and the action in them, which really was pretty generic, or King Kong which really was pretty crappy if you watch it with any sort of scrutiny or non fan-boy eyes. I like Jackson but he is not a good action director, his action films lag.
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5:12PM on 12/12/2013

I love them both.

Cameron is legend, and he blends pure entertainment with intelligence in a way that is rare to see. Aliens, The Abyss, and Terminator 1 & 2 are some of my absolute favorite films of all time. Even at his worst, he is still damn good.

I have been a fan of Jackson since his balls to the wall splatter flick days. I used to love his style of not playing by the rules and making his twisted shit work so well. And just as I pigeonholed him as a great low budget genre director, he floored me with
Cameron is legend, and he blends pure entertainment with intelligence in a way that is rare to see. Aliens, The Abyss, and Terminator 1 & 2 are some of my absolute favorite films of all time. Even at his worst, he is still damn good.

I have been a fan of Jackson since his balls to the wall splatter flick days. I used to love his style of not playing by the rules and making his twisted shit work so well. And just as I pigeonholed him as a great low budget genre director, he floored me with Heavenly Creatures and proved that he was indeed a powerful dramatic filmmaker as well.
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+5
2:01PM on 12/12/2013
Jimmy C., that's my guy. It's weird to think that next year, True Lies will be a 20-year-old film.
Jimmy C., that's my guy. It's weird to think that next year, True Lies will be a 20-year-old film.
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+5
1:45PM on 12/12/2013
Cameron has the brighter future. Even if u hated Avatar, I don't know how u can not be somewhat interested in the sequels given his track record for sequels. Annnnnnd I have no idea how you can call Avatar boring, yet like the Hobbit movies. Lastly, you conviently forgot the Jackson's critical and box office bomb, The Lovely Bones. Say what you want about Avatar or even Titanic, Cameron hasn't made a movie that is both a complete box office, and critical failure (not counting first gigs
Cameron has the brighter future. Even if u hated Avatar, I don't know how u can not be somewhat interested in the sequels given his track record for sequels. Annnnnnd I have no idea how you can call Avatar boring, yet like the Hobbit movies. Lastly, you conviently forgot the Jackson's critical and box office bomb, The Lovely Bones. Say what you want about Avatar or even Titanic, Cameron hasn't made a movie that is both a complete box office, and critical failure (not counting first gigs like Piranha - for either of them)
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+7
11:37AM on 12/12/2013
Cameron is my favorite director of all time. He may not be the best writer, but I think he's the best action director working today. Aliens, True Lies, The Terminator, and Avatar are some of my favorite movies ever made. I personally think Cameron wins this competition by a landslide.
Cameron is my favorite director of all time. He may not be the best writer, but I think he's the best action director working today. Aliens, True Lies, The Terminator, and Avatar are some of my favorite movies ever made. I personally think Cameron wins this competition by a landslide.
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11:28AM on 12/12/2013
Honestly, neither of them is very capable of staying away from over-indulgence and typical Hollywood cliches. Cameron goes overboard with world-building at the expense of his characters, and Jackson hasn't proved he can make a successful, original movie based on his own ideas. With the Hobbit, he favors visual thrills over character development. Both are definitely pioneers in their industry, and I'd pick Cameron by a hair.
Honestly, neither of them is very capable of staying away from over-indulgence and typical Hollywood cliches. Cameron goes overboard with world-building at the expense of his characters, and Jackson hasn't proved he can make a successful, original movie based on his own ideas. With the Hobbit, he favors visual thrills over character development. Both are definitely pioneers in their industry, and I'd pick Cameron by a hair.
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+0
10:04AM on 12/12/2013

BOTH HAVE HAD STRUGGLES AS WRITERS.

Why do you think James has never been nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar? He uses a lot of the basic Hollywood clichs. But that doesn't completely decrease the quality of his movies. His characters tend to be likeable and his dialogues tend to be fun. The only exception is the awful THE ABYSS.

Meanwhile, Peter's obsession with filming every single page of the books he adapts can be unbearable. I liked FELLOWSHIP and RETURN as much as everyone else, but I hated 2 TOWERS and I thought THE
Why do you think James has never been nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar? He uses a lot of the basic Hollywood clichs. But that doesn't completely decrease the quality of his movies. His characters tend to be likeable and his dialogues tend to be fun. The only exception is the awful THE ABYSS.

Meanwhile, Peter's obsession with filming every single page of the books he adapts can be unbearable. I liked FELLOWSHIP and RETURN as much as everyone else, but I hated 2 TOWERS and I thought THE HOBBIT was just decent. Oh, and I didn't like THE LOVELY BONES.

So, I choose James.
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11:26AM on 12/12/2013
It's interesting, I wonder how big a part William Wisher played in writing the Terminator movies.
It's interesting, I wonder how big a part William Wisher played in writing the Terminator movies.
9:50AM on 12/12/2013
I love both of these directors. In terms of the entire catalogue, Cameron has fewer "fails" and more "wins". For example Sanctum and Piranha 2 are Cameron's only "fails". Peter Jackson has a few clunkers, but even his clunkers like The Frighteners, or The Lovely Bones they are still tremendous films. I loved King Kong, and the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit. I feel like Cameron is more prolific. But I just like Jackson's style, his ability to tell a good story, his overall product. Can I
I love both of these directors. In terms of the entire catalogue, Cameron has fewer "fails" and more "wins". For example Sanctum and Piranha 2 are Cameron's only "fails". Peter Jackson has a few clunkers, but even his clunkers like The Frighteners, or The Lovely Bones they are still tremendous films. I loved King Kong, and the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit. I feel like Cameron is more prolific. But I just like Jackson's style, his ability to tell a good story, his overall product. Can I call this a tie?
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1:57PM on 12/12/2013
Yea Jedd, didn't even read your post before I posted. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say "can't wait to see that new Tarantino movie Hostel / Man With The Iron Fists," which is the same tactic Sanctum did, and the ensuing conversation is something like this: I'm like no, it's not directed by him, and they say yes it is, it said his name on the preview, I say no it said FROM that person, it's an advertising trick to get you to go see it bc u know and like QT, u don't know Eli Roth.
Yea Jedd, didn't even read your post before I posted. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say "can't wait to see that new Tarantino movie Hostel / Man With The Iron Fists," which is the same tactic Sanctum did, and the ensuing conversation is something like this: I'm like no, it's not directed by him, and they say yes it is, it said his name on the preview, I say no it said FROM that person, it's an advertising trick to get you to go see it bc u know and like QT, u don't know Eli Roth.
1:50PM on 12/12/2013
Sanctum = not directed by Cameron

Are we comparing movies they have produced as well? And you shouldn't count beginner Corman like movies like Piranha...for either director
Sanctum = not directed by Cameron

Are we comparing movies they have produced as well? And you shouldn't count beginner Corman like movies like Piranha...for either director
9:55AM on 12/12/2013
Cameron wasn't even that involved with Sanctum. I don't think he had any say over story or direction; his capacity as executive producer was providing the 3D technology.
Cameron wasn't even that involved with Sanctum. I don't think he had any say over story or direction; his capacity as executive producer was providing the 3D technology.
8:57AM on 12/12/2013
Cameron takes this for me. Peter Jackson is a very interesting filmmaker. I mean, if you look at his early work, stuff like Brain Dead, it's hard to picture him filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but he's become very comfortable helming these truly gargantuan blockbusters. One can argue that James Cameron got his start in low-budget horror too (Piranha II: The Spawning) and then got increasingly ambitious - very, very ambitious. On the whole, I'm more of a fan of Cameron's filmography than
Cameron takes this for me. Peter Jackson is a very interesting filmmaker. I mean, if you look at his early work, stuff like Brain Dead, it's hard to picture him filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but he's become very comfortable helming these truly gargantuan blockbusters. One can argue that James Cameron got his start in low-budget horror too (Piranha II: The Spawning) and then got increasingly ambitious - very, very ambitious. On the whole, I'm more of a fan of Cameron's filmography than Jackson's, but that's certainly a matter of personal taste.
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8:39AM on 12/12/2013
It's a tough one, both of these guys can balance character development, CGI and a good story with a huge budget. Definitely talented, they get the most out of their cast and uses their imagination to the fullest. I give it to Cameron only because he's been directing a lot longer, but I can see Jackson surpassing him once he finishes The Hobbit series and can span into some new, original movies.
It's a tough one, both of these guys can balance character development, CGI and a good story with a huge budget. Definitely talented, they get the most out of their cast and uses their imagination to the fullest. I give it to Cameron only because he's been directing a lot longer, but I can see Jackson surpassing him once he finishes The Hobbit series and can span into some new, original movies.
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8:08AM on 12/12/2013

I would have called this a tighter race, personally

Peter Jackson took a book that many considered "unfilmable" and turned it into the biggest movie trilogy to date. While THE HOBBIT doesn't exceed LOTR, it's still a worthy follow-up to a classic trilogy.

James Cameron has been dinged for a lack of originality in his storytelling. I didn't agree that he ripped off Harlan Ellison when creating TERMINATOR, but AVATAR was basically DANCES WITH WOLVES mixed with FERNGULLY, once you take away the special effects. I would still give this to
Peter Jackson took a book that many considered "unfilmable" and turned it into the biggest movie trilogy to date. While THE HOBBIT doesn't exceed LOTR, it's still a worthy follow-up to a classic trilogy.

James Cameron has been dinged for a lack of originality in his storytelling. I didn't agree that he ripped off Harlan Ellison when creating TERMINATOR, but AVATAR was basically DANCES WITH WOLVES mixed with FERNGULLY, once you take away the special effects. I would still give this to Cameron but I like what Jackson's doing more.
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8:08AM on 12/12/2013

I would have called this a tighter race, personally

Peter Jackson took a book that many considered "unfilmable" and turned it into the biggest movie trilogy to date. While THE HOBBIT doesn't exceed LOTR, it's still a worthy follow-up to a classic trilogy.

James Cameron has been dinged for a lack of originality in his storytelling. I didn't agree that he ripped off Harlan Ellison when creating TERMINATOR, but AVATAR was basically DANCES WITH WOLVES mixed with FERNGULLY, once you take away the special effects. I would still give this to
Peter Jackson took a book that many considered "unfilmable" and turned it into the biggest movie trilogy to date. While THE HOBBIT doesn't exceed LOTR, it's still a worthy follow-up to a classic trilogy.

James Cameron has been dinged for a lack of originality in his storytelling. I didn't agree that he ripped off Harlan Ellison when creating TERMINATOR, but AVATAR was basically DANCES WITH WOLVES mixed with FERNGULLY, once you take away the special effects. I would still give this to Cameron but I like what Jackson's doing more.
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7:58AM on 12/12/2013

BILLIONS AT THE BOX OFFICE

For me, I think Peter Jackson is a slightly better director. He did bring a nearly centuries old tale to life that many thought would never get its due and it did in a huge way. Cameron on the other hand, has the tenure and has always been ground-breaking but so is Jackson at this point. I'm sure both share a mutual admiration of each other and combined have made a ton of money and brought millions of people hours of excellent entertainment. I know it would be futile to a Spielberg vs.
For me, I think Peter Jackson is a slightly better director. He did bring a nearly centuries old tale to life that many thought would never get its due and it did in a huge way. Cameron on the other hand, has the tenure and has always been ground-breaking but so is Jackson at this point. I'm sure both share a mutual admiration of each other and combined have made a ton of money and brought millions of people hours of excellent entertainment. I know it would be futile to a Spielberg vs. Lucas segment but they were the forerunners to these guys and Spielberg would be the clear titan of these four directors but combined, all four probably come close to a trillion dollars in revenue (all sources) from their movies and that's just almost unfathomable.
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7:05AM on 12/12/2013
both amazing directors, P.Jackson created my all time fave movies with LOTR but I still have to give this to Cameron, not only has he made amazing movies but his films have helped pave the way for future movies & he constantly looks at pushing the boundaries of what can be done on screen, if there's something he wants in his film but it doesn't exist he doesn't give up, he just looks at how it can be invented.
both amazing directors, P.Jackson created my all time fave movies with LOTR but I still have to give this to Cameron, not only has he made amazing movies but his films have helped pave the way for future movies & he constantly looks at pushing the boundaries of what can be done on screen, if there's something he wants in his film but it doesn't exist he doesn't give up, he just looks at how it can be invented.
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5:49AM on 12/12/2013
Both are among my favourite directors but PJ isn't even worthy contender to Jim.face off should be between Spielberg and Cameron in which Spielberg wins.when it comes to boxoffice and in satisfying popcorn audience,no other contemperory director comes even close to Cameron.i have high regard for PJ for bringing Tolkien's masterpieces to screen
Both are among my favourite directors but PJ isn't even worthy contender to Jim.face off should be between Spielberg and Cameron in which Spielberg wins.when it comes to boxoffice and in satisfying popcorn audience,no other contemperory director comes even close to Cameron.i have high regard for PJ for bringing Tolkien's masterpieces to screen
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2:00PM on 12/12/2013
Nice
Nice
3:51AM on 12/12/2013
They're both good directors but if I have to choose I'd go with James Cameron. Everything he touches turn to gold and Oscars. Although he's in Avatar mode, I wish he'd go back to make gritty sci-fi action by ways of Terminator or Aliens again.
They're both good directors but if I have to choose I'd go with James Cameron. Everything he touches turn to gold and Oscars. Although he's in Avatar mode, I wish he'd go back to make gritty sci-fi action by ways of Terminator or Aliens again.
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+4
3:44AM on 12/12/2013

I agree, but think Jackson is good as well

I find both directors Pioneers in the art of film. Before I went to film school I always used Cameron as a inspiration, but since the 90s I found alot of other great directors that inspire me. With Cameron, I love that fact that he pushes to make the best film he can, the stories might not be the best with a few films, but he has done a remarkable job in making the films. And so has Jackson. Love the LOTR trilogy and enjoyed the Hobit, though not a fan of the CGI used for all the enemies, I
I find both directors Pioneers in the art of film. Before I went to film school I always used Cameron as a inspiration, but since the 90s I found alot of other great directors that inspire me. With Cameron, I love that fact that he pushes to make the best film he can, the stories might not be the best with a few films, but he has done a remarkable job in making the films. And so has Jackson. Love the LOTR trilogy and enjoyed the Hobit, though not a fan of the CGI used for all the enemies, I favor practical effects these days.
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2:20AM on 12/12/2013

James Cameron

His films age rather impeccably, he's tackled all types of genre fare with equal commitment, skill and understanding of what makes the material work in the cliche and the unique.The LOTR original trilogy has aged kinda poorly, all things considered. I expect the Hobbit films to do the same. In the end, it's about the longevity and universality of a film's appeal.There's no question that Cameron's movies are standing the tests of time. I don't think anybody can definitely say the same for
His films age rather impeccably, he's tackled all types of genre fare with equal commitment, skill and understanding of what makes the material work in the cliche and the unique.The LOTR original trilogy has aged kinda poorly, all things considered. I expect the Hobbit films to do the same. In the end, it's about the longevity and universality of a film's appeal.There's no question that Cameron's movies are standing the tests of time. I don't think anybody can definitely say the same for Jackson.
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