Within the genuinely immersive cinematic worlds effortlessly crafted by the enigma that is James Cameron lies just a slight sense of guilty pleasure, although his films are brimming with such excellence that they seem to transcend the very nature of a self-indulgent viewing experience into a narrative that explores the deeper side of human life.
Cameron’s back catalogue is littered with wonders of technology and sends the storytelling medium of film into previously unexplored heights, some of which indeed provide a guilty pleasure moment or two, say the action-heavy, occasionally border cheese intensity of Terminator 2: Judgment Day or the eye-watering romance of Titanic.
However, rather than any need for apology from fans of Cameron’s movies, their guilty pleasure nature is rather subverted in moments of pride. The sprawling narratives that Cameron delivers, as well as his almost unbelievable visual prowess, offer audiences a chance to briefly escape their monotonous lives, a testament to the power of cinema as a whole.
Cameron himself is no stranger to a guilty pleasure movie or two either, and in an interview with Empire, the iconic director once named the movie that provided the most entertainment to him during the pandemic era. “One of the guilty-pleasure films that I actually think is quite beautifully made is Resident Evil,” Cameron explained.
The first Resident Evil movie, directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, is an intense journey into the horror world based on the iconic Capcom video game series of the name. It stars Milla Jovovich as Alice, an amnesiac woman who wakes up in a strange room amid a raging zombie apocalypse caused by the outbreak of the Umbrella Corporation’s T-Virus.
Cameron particularly enjoyed seeing his Avatar cast member Michelle Rodriguez perform in the movie, noting, “Watching Michelle Rodriguez in that film, moving like this feral creature, is joyful.” Rodriguez had starred in the movie as Rain Ocampo, and Cameron was clearly happy to see the actor make one of her earlier film appearances.
There’s certainly a level of guilty pleasure within Resident Evil as it was on the receiving end of mostly negative reviews, although it was a success at the box office. Still, for Cameron, it serves as something of an escape, a descent into a world of madness so unlike our own and yet with so many parallels. The first Resident Evil movie might not be as good as the video games it was based on, but it still delivers the same form of enjoyment.