Why Is James Cameron So Obsessed With The Color Blue?

It is hard to box filmmaker James Cameron into any one genre. He's responsible for some of the most visually compelling narratives of our generation. His films have taken us to the deepest depths of the ocean and the furthest corners of space, and he's layered almost all of it with a splash of blue.

His movies often warn of technology's impact on mankind while, ironically, using the latest technology in Hollywood. We've seen the rise of the machines in "Terminator 2: Judgement Day," contact made with alien species in "The Abyss" and "Aliens," and history brought to life in "Titanic." His latest project will explore the underwater depths of a fictional planet in "Avatar 2."

Directors have specific styles that become a type of visual signature, and for the majority of his career, Cameron has used blue as his calling card. While it is effective, it also begs the question: Why all the blue?

The 'James Cameron Blue' style

Color is a powerful psychological tool in cinema. It helps set the mood, develop character, and helps audiences identify the themes of movies. When it comes to James Cameron's use of color, The Wall Street Journal dubbed the director's signature style as "James Cameron blue" which looks like an icy blue light.

There is a saying in film theory that form follows content, meaning that the style of filmmaking should be dictated by the material. When examining the work of James Cameron, it is important to look at the themes throughout his filmography. We are often surrounded by water, like in "The Abyss" and "Titanic" or in the icy cold depths of space, like in "Aliens." In the case of "Avatar," Cameron creates the world of Pandora inhabited by blue creatures. Cameron often creates a cold distance for his characters (and the audience) using a blue palette.

Cameron offers a less philosophical answer for his use of the color, saying:

"I guess I just like the color blue. I mean it's the color of night, it's the color of the ocean and as a scuba diver I've spent a lot of time looking into the deep blue, the pelagic blue. It's just a gorgeous color and it's a great accent color for the human face."

However, Cameron has a tell that might be a dead giveaway for his liberal use of the color blue.

It likely stems from his love of the ocean

It's no surprise that Cameron's movies feature great explorers because he is one himself. According to Kulture Hub, Cameron is a noted scuba diver and uses small submersible crafts to explore the vast unknowns of our oceans. As The Guardian notes, Cameron became the first person to make a solo trip to the Mariana Trench in a mini-submarine.

And while Cameron says he does it for the love of the ocean, his dives have also produced content such as the 2014 film "Deepsea Challenge 3D," which documents Cameron's journey to the bottom of the trench. It reveals visuals as stunning as any created by any Hollywood visual effects team, and equally as blue as any Cameron film.

As Cameron noted in his MasterClass series, one of the five pillars of a good movie is an interesting world. Obviously for Cameron, what he finds interesting resides beneath us, in a sea of blue. And with four "Avatar" movies on the way, one taking place underwater, expect to see a lot more blue coming from Cameron.