Is James Cameron a messiah? Or just an everyday hero?

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James Cameron, as we are all aware, has already saved pop culture and moviegoing as we know it. So an oil spill should be no problem.

The Web has been alive with stories today about how the director of “Avatar” was part of a government “listening session” that had officials in the Environmental Protection Agency meeting with a host of scientists about ways to solve the BP oil-spill crisis. As a leaking well an exploded oil rig sends hundreds of thousands of gallons gushing of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day, the government is eager to hear -- well, anything.


Cameron’s inclusion on the panel is easy to mock -- cue jokes about BP executives donning 3-D glasses -- and makes one think about whether other directors could be used (or not used). Roland Emmerich is not the first guy you’d call if an environmental calamity seemed imminent. And you probably wouldn’t want to take a sick pet to the veterinary minds behind “Marmaduke.”

But Cameron has some bona fides. In addition to directing both documentaries and fiction films about underwater worlds, he owns a fleet of submarines and has invented small machines that can plumb the ocean at a mile deep, the kind of deep-sea equipment that may have a shot of solving the problem. And absent any viable alternatives, making a tech-head like Cameron part of the discussion isn’t a bad idea. It certainly can’t do worse than Top Kill.

It’s interesting to note in all this that another film presence, Kevin Costner, has jumped in. The “Waterworld” star and his scientist brother Dan have volunteered their patented machine, called “Ocean Therapy,” which basically functions as a giant vacuum cleaner, sucking up water and cleaning it. The technology didn’t seem to solve the problem, which leads one to an interesting conclusion: If your nautical movie didn’t work in theaters, your nautical technology probably won’t be able to solve a real-world problem.

Which, in a weird way, kind of gives us hope for Cameron.
-- Steven Zeitchik

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