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Cameron: Can't Compete with "Titanic"

James Cameron's back.

More than a decade ago, the director declared himself "the king of the world" after "Titanic" won 11 Oscars and made $1.8 billion at the box office.

But can he top "Titanic" with his highly-anticipated 3-D film, "Avatar"?

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Already garnering four Golden Globe nominations, "Avatar"'s one of the season's most talked-about films. But will this be the comeback Cameron's looking for?

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Cameron said on "The Early Show," the film is "a journey." The director said he wrote an outline for "Avatar" in 1995. His intention was to shoot it after "Titanic," but he said he got sidetracked doing documentaries.

However, in 2005, he started the project in earnest. By that time, the computer technology that was a key element of Cameron's vision had caught up to make the imaginary alien world of Pandora come to life.

"We didn't want to do the movie with people in makeup pretending to be 10-foot tall aliens," he said. "It didn't feel right. We wanted to use computer animation to do it. We wanted it to be an actor-driven process."

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith remarked that he's usually adverse to technology-driven films. However, he said, the story pulled him in.

Cameron added, "Everybody is talking about technology or was talking about technology until they saw the movie. Once they started to see the movie and viewers and people coming out...(are) talking about emotionality of the film and the story is what we went for."

Smith noted the story is being compared to Vietnam and the inhabitants of Pandora to Native Americans. Does any of those comparisons ring true to Cameron?

"I think it's all those things," Cameron said. "I think it has to do overall if you want to sum it up with a sense of entitlement that we humans have with something that doesn't belong to us. We view nature as something that belongs to us. It doesn't belong to us."

The film, which cost about $500 million to make and promote, is a major competitor for holiday audiences. But does Cameron feel he is in competition with his own work -- with "Titanic"?

Cameron said he doesn't think competing with "Titanic" is a realistic goal.
"It wasn't a fluke, but it aligned with people around the world in a way that took it to a crazy height financially," he said. "I think every filmmaker does compete with themselves. You try to better your art and try to better your game every time out."

As for Smith's plans to see the film again, Cameron responded, "That's magic to my ears."

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