Better Director: James Cameron vs David Fincher

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Who is the better director
19.05%
4 votes
Cameron
80.95%
17 votes
Fincher
21 votes. You may not vote on this poll






After seeing the comparison with Nolan, how does Fincher stack up against one of the best blockbuster directors? I feel Cameron's filmography is more consistent, but in terms of technical aspects and details Fincher is way better. Fincher makes more cerebral movies but Cameron's are enjoyable as much as Fincher's. I gotta go with Cameron since T2 is the best out the bunch and his movies have more rewatchability but Fincher's pretty great too.



Fincher and it's not even close
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Both are exceptional in their own ways, but I am more of a fan of Fincher by quite a large margin.
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Both are exceptional in their own ways, but I am more of a fan of Fincher by quite a large margin.
I think Fincher is the better director, the way he gets performances out actors and his use of CGI is amazing especially his visual storytelling of Zodiac and Se7en (my favorite thriller) but Alien 3, Panic Room and Mank hurts his filmography a bit, since even at his worst a Cameron film is better than those 3.

Meanwhile Cameron's content is always fun and interesting, mostly because he goes into action and technology and they are intended to be for the masses.

Fincher by a country mile.
Fincher and it's not even close
Not even a contest. Fincher is special.
Would be a Cameron vs Nolan comparison be closer in your opinion?



I think Fincher is the better director, the way he gets performances out actors and his use of CGI is amazing especially his visual storytelling of Zodiac and Se7en (my favorite thriller) but Alien 3, Panic Room and Mank hurts his filmography a bit, since even at his worst a Cameron film is better than those 3.

Meanwhile Cameron's content is always fun and interesting, mostly because he goes into action and technology and they are intended to be for the masses.
I'm just checking, but you are holding Fincher's debut Alien³ against him but forgiving Cameron's Piranha II: The Spawning?

Throwing out Cameron's low-budget debut he has directed only eight features: The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar - with a slew of Avatar sequels coming. Plus a couple of documentaries. But eight narrative features in thirty-seven years. With Mank Fincher now has ten in twenty-five years, also discounting his debut. Whichever of those ten one wants to label Fincher's "worst" according to their own taste, be it The Game, Panic Room, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Mank or any of them that don't float your boat, I would ecstatically watch that Fincher movie on a loop for three days before being forced to watch Titanic, Avatar, or The Abyss again.

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You can probably put Fincher up against any other director today, so putting him up against Cameron is almost unfair. Cameron's more of a technocrat than a filmmaker sometimes, using a feint at narrative as an excuse to advance industry tech.

The only question I'd have to think about is how I'd compare the best stuff Cameron has ever done with some of Fincher's lesser works.



Baring the first Terminator, all of Cameron's movies are formulaic blockbusters. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them but they aren't really pushing the boundaries.


Fincher on the other hand has done that (and continues to do that). Even in some of his ordinary movies like Benjamin Button, which didn't work for me, I appreciated his willingness to do something different. Add to that his work on projects like Mindhunter and that's why he is far better.


Would be a Cameron vs Nolan comparison be closer in your opinion?

I have off late been disappointed with Nolan (TDKR, Dunkirk, and Tenet), but I still appreciate his willingness to explore different ideas and present them in somewhat complex ways.


This is my opinion and others can disagree. But Cameron can be compared to Spielberg for his ability to churn out blockbusters. But even here Spielberg is a far superior director, who has experimented with different ideas or even stories.


So that leaves me with an even more controversial opinion which I am about to present. The better comparison would be with Michael Bay. Cameron is a far, far superior and smarter version of Bay and knows how to use slow-motion, action sequences, sound, etc discreetly and in a better manner than Bay (who just overloads your senses).



I'm just checking, but you are holding Fincher's debut Alien³ against him but forgiving Cameron's Piranha II: The Spawning?

Throwing out Cameron's low-budget debut he has directed only eight features: The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar - with a slew of Avatar sequels coming. Plus a couple of documentaries. But eight narrative features in thirty-seven years. With Mank Fincher now has ten in twenty-five years, also discounting his debut. Whichever of those ten one wants to label Fincher's "worst" according to their own taste, be it The Game, Panic Room, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Mank or any of them that don't float your boat, I would ecstatically watch that Fincher movie on a loop for three days before being forced to watch Titanic, Avatar, or The Abyss again.

I think you didn't get my point man. Anyways, I'll explain my point of view;

Fincher is a better director due to being more talented in visual storytelling, but since he had

Alien 3: studio interference and problems behind production, it was kinda lackluster compared to his standards.

Panic Room: this is an ok movie but far, far weaker than Fight Club mostly because it was like "Insomnia" a movie that the production wanted him to do.

And Mank: I personally enjoy The Game and Benjamin Button, no complains about them. But Mank (id put it above Avatar) was just good, and the third act disappointed me.

Piranha isn’t listed in AFI and sight and sound profile and he left before the film ended so I am not counting that, but if I did I would give the edge to Fincher because that movie was lackluster.

I don’t think quantity is important, I mean Malick directed 5 movies in 38 years right? And then went and did 3 lackluster movies that were poorly received, I doubt anyone expected that.

Here's my ratings

T2 *****
Aliens ****
T1 *** 1/2
True Lies *** 1/2
Titanic *** 1/2
The Abyss ***
Avatar ** 1/2

Se7en *****
The Social Network ****
Gone Girl *** 1/2
Zodiac *** 1/2
The Game *** 1/2
Millennium *** 1/2
Fight Club *** 1\2
Benjamin Button ***
Mank ***
Alien 2 **
Panic Room **

As I said, by an hair..

You can probably put Fincher up against any other director today, so putting him up against Cameron is almost unfair. Cameron's more of a technocrat than a filmmaker sometimes, using a feint at narrative as an excuse to advance industry tech.

The only question I'd have to think about is how I'd compare the best stuff Cameron has ever done with some of Fincher's lesser works.
T2, Aliens and T1 seems atleast comparable to some of Fincher's great stuff I guess. Especially T2..

I think Fincher is one of the best directors working today, besides Marty and Spielberg he’s my favorite alongside Nolan, but do you think a comparison between him and Coppola, Hitchcock and Kurosawa would be fair? As much as I love Fincher, I would still put Coppola above him.



Baring the first Terminator, all of Cameron's movies are formulaic blockbusters. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them but they aren't really pushing the boundaries.


Fincher on the other hand has done that (and continues to do that). Even in some of his ordinary movies like Benjamin Button, which didn't work for me, I appreciated his willingness to do something different. Add to that his work on projects like Mindhunter and that's why he is far better.





I have off late been disappointed with Nolan (TDKR, Dunkirk, and Tenet), but I still appreciate his willingness to explore different ideas and present them in somewhat complex ways.


This is my opinion and others can disagree. But Cameron can be compared to Spielberg for his ability to churn out blockbusters. But even here Spielberg is a far superior director, who has experimented with different ideas or even stories.


So that leaves me with an even more controversial opinion which I am about to present. The better comparison would be with Michael Bay. Cameron is a far, far superior and smarter version of Bay and knows how to use slow-motion, action sequences, sound, etc discreetly and in a better manner than Bay (who just overloads your senses).
Thanks for your reply. Anyways, I'd say that he improves technology and 3D other than making blockbusters and it works fine. He's just doing what he's able to do.

Regarding Nolan, i honestly get your criticism. I rate 00s Nolan above 10s Nolan but not by a big margin.

Inception and TDKR were perfect.

I mean, if you go until Inception, i feel that Nolan vs Fincher would be really close, putting my preference aside (I prefer Nolan) but Gone Girl (for example) was a better film than Dunkirk and something I would like to see more times and that besides Mank, Fincher remained pretty consistent meanwhile after TDKR, Nolan got worse.

I think the gap between Spielberg and Cameron and Bay, is wide in both cases so it’s not comparable I guess.

Yeah, I also like the style and directing of Fincher in House of Cards.



I have nothing but good things to say about his (and his company's) contribution to tech development.
But I was only commenting on his movies.
Oh no problem. I'd agree that Fincher has a better eye for detail, composition etc and his movies have more substance but there's nothing wrong with spectacle films. A regular blockbuster would be Godzilla vs Kong but not Aliens, in my opinion.

Cameron has also imagination and talent, especially in his sequels and can do action and romance too. Wouldn't say that him and Spielberg are only "popcorn directors", films like T2, Schindler's List, Raiders, Jurassic Park are well made and praised for the directing too.

In 20 years, Spielberg's filmography had more quality films than anyone minus Scorsese.



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Zodiac *** 1/2
The Game *** 1/2
Millennium *** 1/2
Fight Club *** 1\2
Zodiac and Fight Club rated the same as The Game?

I definitely don't agree there. Zodiac might just be Fincher's best film, or it is at least in the running in that regard.



Professional horse shoe straightener


Would be a Cameron vs Nolan comparison be closer in your opinion?
Not by much. I don't really rate Cameron. One dimensional and as Yoda said, more of a tech advancer than a meticulous technical master like Fincher is. Nolan is ok but is a touch ambitious for his own good.



Zodiac and Fight Club rated the same as The Game?

I definitely don't agree there. Zodiac might just be Fincher's best film, or it is at least in the running in that regard.
This is probably unpopular but Zodiac's third act really hurt the film. Once the mystery is gone and the focus is in the detective, it gets a bit monotone.

The Game, despite having a lot of rushed moments (which I don’t care) is just thrilling to start to finish and represent the change over someone psyche and the ego of Nicholas Van Orton, I usually rewatch that, Gone Girl and Se7en.

Same issue with Fight Club, it’s a great film but the first two acts are far stronger than the third. I honestly like Gone Girl (I would give it a 9/10 in terms of ratings) and social network more because the relationship between the characters and third acts are stronger than Fight Club and Zodiac.

Not by much. I don't really rate Cameron. One dimensional and as Yoda said, more of a tech advancer than a meticulous technical master like Fincher is. Nolan is ok but is a touch ambitious for his own good.
I understand your position but would say that Interstellar, Tenet and Dunkirk are definitely ambitious but Pre-TDKR Nolan films seemed very polished in terms of script, spectacle and characters. (I really like TDKR and even Interstellar)

I think that Inception works well, even the exposition and narrative have hold up.



Fincher, but it's closer than I would think... so ranking time!
  1. FINCHER - Se7en
  2. CAMERON - The Terminator
  3. FINCHER - Zodiac
  4. CAMERON - Aliens
  5. FINCHER - Fight Club
  6. CAMERON - Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  7. FINCHER - Gone Girl
  8. CAMERON - Titanic
  9. FINCHER - The Game
  10. CAMERON - True Lies
  11. FINCHER - Panic Room
  12. FINCHER - The Social Network
  13. CAMERON - The Abyss
  14. FINCHER - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  15. FINCHER - Alien3 (Assembly Cut)
  16. CAMERON - Avatar
  17. FINCHER - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  18. FINCHER - Alien3 (Theatrical Cut)

I still haven't seen Mank or Piranha II. I would also take my ranking of The Abyss with a grain of salt, cause I haven't seen that film in a long, long time; easily 20 years.

Finally, the 2-3-4 ranking is a toss-up. I could really swap any of those.
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Professional horse shoe straightener

I understand your position but would say that Interstellar, Tenet and Dunkirk are definitely ambitious but Pre-TDKR Nolan films seemed very polished in terms of script, spectacle and characters. (I really like TDKR and even Interstellar)

I think that Inception works well, even the exposition and narrative have hold up.
TDKR was a huge disappointment for me. Inception is a good blockbuster. Insomnia and following are good too, I've yet to see the original Insomnia, big gap for me. Nolan is a very decent Hollywood director but not exactly a benchmark for cinema.



Oh no problem. I'd agree that Fincher has a better eye for detail, composition etc and his movies have more substance but there's nothing wrong with spectacle films. A regular blockbuster would be Godzilla vs Kong but not Aliens, in my opinion.

Cameron has also imagination and talent, especially in his sequels and can do action and romance too. Wouldn't say that him and Spielberg are only "popcorn directors", films like T2, Schindler's List, Raiders, Jurassic Park are well made and praised for the directing too.

In 20 years, Spielberg's filmography had more quality films than anyone minus Scorsese.

I will never call Spielberg a popcorn director. I didn't mean that. I was just highlighting his ability to churn out blockbusters and adding that Cameron has that, as well. I think it's an admirable quality and there's nothing wrong in that. I am definitely not snobbish about enjoying blockbusters. But I also added that Spielberg has a far wider range, but Cameron doesn't, which is a point you also seem to agree upon.



I will never call Spielberg a popcorn director. I didn't mean that. I was just highlighting his ability to churn out blockbusters and adding that Cameron has that, as well. I think it's an admirable quality and there's nothing wrong in that. I am definitely not snobbish about enjoying blockbusters. But I also added that Spielberg has a far wider range, but Cameron doesn't, which is a point you also seem to agree upon.
Yeah, I would agree with that. Spielberg's a one-of-kind director, the man did Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List in the same year, and has done nearly everything within genres.

He got a bit worse recently but whatever miss he had, his large catalog of great films ensures he'll be one of the best directors ever.

TDKR was a huge disappointment for me. Inception is a good blockbuster. Insomnia and following are good too, I've yet to see the original Insomnia, big gap for me. Nolan is a very decent Hollywood director but not exactly a benchmark for cinema.
He's great, I would say a 7-8/10 as a director especially since he writes and produces and creates his own stuff. There aren't many doing it, especially with that kind of budget.

Not a benchmark like Scorsese or Cronenberg but I’d say he compares to other blockbuster directors such as (current) Ridley Scott, Del Toro, Jackson, Mendes, Cameron etc.

I think TDKR criticism did hurt Nolan, I personally really liked it because Batman is my favorite character but I remember that back in the day 2010-2012 Nolan's work was rated higher than it is now.