James Cameron’s Love for Scuba Diving Shows in Avatar

It’s a pretty well known fact that Canadian film director, producer and screenwriter- James Cameron has a love for the Ocean and of Space & Alien life. One of the most well known Celebrity Scuba Divers, his love for these two subjects is apparent in most of his movies right from the ‘Alien’ series, ‘Titanic’, ‘The Abyss’, ‘Volcanoes of the Deep Sea’ and is even clearly seen in his latest blockbuster and superhit movie ‘Avatar’. Now you’re thinking, you get the Alien bit about ‘Avatar’, but you don’t see anything to do with the Ocean, right? Well if you look closely, Cameron’s influence of Scuba diving and love of the sea with it’s fascinating and unique life is deeply embedded in the movie.

James Cameron's Avatar

Avatar- Christmas Tree WormSome of the computer generated flora and fauna in the movie Avatar have an uncanny resemblance to marine life which Cameron himself has admitted to being influenced by in interview about this movie and his past work. Remember the scene where Jake Sully (Worthington) wonders off distracted by his surroundings, while Dr. Grace (Sigourney Weaver) and biologist Norm were busy collecting samples,  he comes to a patch of rather tall spiral looking flowers they call ‘Helicoradian flowers’. On his touch the flowers shrink or rather retract into the ground…sound familiar to the Christmas Tree Worm you’ve seen when you went diving? Only the Christmas Tree Worm is a lot smaller than in the movie as seen in the picture above.

James Cameron's Scuba Diving Influences in Avatar

How about the seeds of the sacred tree Eyra? Their movement seem strangely familiar to that of jellyfish? Well these similarities to marine life in Cameron’s movie are far from coincidences.

James Cameron Scuba Diving Influences in AvatarAvatar- Jellyfish

James Cameron has previously been quoted saying-James Cameron- Avatar

“I learned to scuba dive in a pool. It wasn’t until I moved to California that I ever even scuba dived in the ocean. But I just loved it. I loved this idea that there was this alien atmosphere right here on planet earth. I knew that I was never going to be an astronaut and visit another star system or land on another planet, but I knew I could explore an alien world right here.”

– James Cameron

When asked about his Aquatic influences in an interview about Avatar, he replied:

Avatar- James Cameron“I just swept in every design influence in my life. I’ve always had this deep respect for nature and a lot of my youth was out in the woods hiking around. I was a total science geek. I spent over 2,500 hours underwater and I’ve seen things that are absolutely astonishing on the bottom of the ocean. It really is like an alien planet. I’ve always felt like that’s something I’ve been able to do was live out a science-fiction fantasy adventure for real in my diving work. So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff there. There’s even a lot of stuff in the shallow ocean that’s influenced things. The Banshee wings are based on the colourations of tropical fish, for example. We were a little concerned that these large creatures wouldn’t scale with these incredibly vivid colour patterns, but we managed to make that work.” – James Cameron (see full interview)

It also comes as no shocker that Cameron’s next project is yet another water influenced movie titled ‘The Dive’ based on a true story of a Cuban free diver Francisco “Pipin” Ferreras and Frenchwoman Audrey Mestre who went on to break several world records under his guidance before dying in 2002 while competing. “It’s a drama, a love story,” Cameron said. “This will require underwater photography, which will look gorgeous in 3-D.”

So, we’re certain to see more of Cameron’s scuba diving influences in his future endeavors. And when you watch the much talked about sequel to Avatar which is speculated, keep your eyes peeled for more such similarities to the water world.

*Photo credits: photos by Nick Hobgood, Loimere on flickr

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  1. Amazing! I never thought about before but now come to think of it, the experience of watching the Pandora scenes in Avatar is very comparable to that you get while diving through coral reefs.

  2. I didn’t care for the plot line but the effects and the world itself just blew me away

  3. Great article! Makes the movie even better.

  4. Spongebob says:

    Damn! Now i have to watch Avtaar again just so that I can pay attention to all those scuba diving refrences..what an eye-opener

  5. You’re the man, James… And kudos for injecting the scuba elements into the movie. I would do that with what I’m passionate about.

    Yes, I knew those were Christmas Tree Worms right away! I’ve touched ’em and made them retract once too many times. Just returned from dives in Krabi, and saw them there (and jellyfish + black tips + flutefish + morays +++).

  6. Throughout the movie, I was momentarily jarred by most of the similar things that have been mentioned here, overall, I dismissed them as my expectations continued. Even the over zealous expression of commercialism or the “over-zealous military commander” were accepted as being a critical part of the story.But there one little thing that (oddly enough, I guess) irked me. I had no way to go back and watch it after, but I’m pretty sure that when the Colonel was killed, he took his hands off the robot controls, trying to remove the arrow/bolt. Yet, with the Colonel’s death, the robot TOPPLED OVER! I would have expected such a machine just to simply stop moving and stand there.

  7. I think that the sacred seed look more like feather stars rather than jelly fish

  8. I love the Avatar 3D film, particularly the story line, not only it brings a very new sensation but eye opening ideas of humanity. I heard the New Avatar 2 is comming soon, cannot wait to see it again…!

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