A little while ago James Cameron announced that Avatar would have a closing credits song by Leona Lewis, who is some pop singer I’ve never heard of. I didn’t think much of it other than Cameron was obviously trying to replicate a bit of Titanic and Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” success. No big deal.
But now the song has been released, and I realize it is a big deal, because it’s a horrible song and a horrible idea. Lewis’ “I Will See” is absolutely a generic “My Heart Will Go On” rip-off, excepot not as catchy and with a few sprinklings of Enya in there. Even if you’re really into ’90s easy listening love ballads, it’s pretty shitty. But more importantly, it’s terrible for Avatar.
Cameron clearly thinks Avatar is going to be a massive hit like Titanic, when it’s not. Titanic appealed to mainstream audiences, e.g., people like my mom. My mom has no desire to see Avatar, and all the Celine Dion music in the world will make the movie about something other than blue cat people shitting arrows and robots. Furthermore, the nerds who are theoretically interested in seeing the film will be as appalled by “I Will See” as they were by “My Heart Will Go On,” because it’s treacly pop tripe. It certainly isn’t making Avatar any cooler for the movie’s target audience. Cameron isn’t fooling anybody but himself.
My buddy Sean pointed out nothing better sums up James Cameron’s career than the dissonance between his use of Guns N’ Roses’ “You Will Be Mine” as the theme for Terminator 2, and now “I Will See” for Avatar. James Cameron made his career by knowing exactly what audiences wanted. Now? Not so much.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.