It should not be too surprising that some of the most famous films in history have borrowed from predecessors. After all, how many original ideas have there ever been out there? Ever?
This guy was Hercules and Samson before he became a bad movie.
However, every now and then, a film comes along that is heroically touted as something new and original. Well, in quite a few instances, you wouldn’t believe how many of the most original films of all time were made out of space parts.
Total Recall is everything that has ever been awesome about Arnold Schwarzenegger rolled into one movie. Its got rippling muscles, plenty of space-age robots and devices, classic action movie dialogue, aliens, and such cartoonish violence it could have doubled as a Duke Nukem movie in places.
The gap in Schwarzenegger’s teeth has never been featured more prominently.
Total Recall is Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in space.
Picture this, only instead of Mount Rushmore, it’s Mars.
In case Showgirls somehow made you overlook the man’s talent, Paul Verhoeven is one of the most dedicated fans of Alfred Hitchcock in cinematic history. In Verhoeven’s own words, he described Total Recall has his own version of North by Northwest:
“Arnold Schwarzenegger is on an adventure that’s not his own, and he’s mistaken for the wrong guy. At the end of Total Recall, when Ronny Cox and Arnold are standing opposite each other in the alien oxygen provider, they kind of rotate around each other. That’s identical to the scene in North by Northwest where Cary Grant enters James Mason’s villa. Mason and Grant rotate around this imaginary axis — the figures are always circling left or right.”
See how your eyes move from left to right in this picture? That’s Hitchcock.
As awesome as time travel and murdering robots are, there’s no way anyone in a million years would have imagined making a film about both subjects at once until James Cameron came along.
Or David X. Cohen.
There’s a reason why the above statement sounds superfluous, naïve and, frankly, completely full of itself: It’s how James Cameron likes to pretend the world revolves around him. You see, The Terminator really is a fascinating and groundbreaking movie, it just sorta resembles an episode of The Outer Limits called “Soldier.”
So, how closely do the two stories resemble each other? Check out what James Cameron had to say about Harlan Ellison, the Hugo/Poe/Bram Stoker Award-winning writer of “Soldier.”
“I had no choice but to agree with the settlement. Of course there was a gag order as well, so I couldn’t tell this story, but now I frankly don’t care. It’s the truth. Harlan Ellison is a parasite who can kiss my ass.”
Why can’t James Cameron just rip off gifted writers in peace?
A magnificent theme park gone terribly wrong, technology run amuck, chaos theory…
With the exception of Dennis Nedry, the above description works just as well for Westworld, a film written and—get this—directed by the very same Michael Crichton who introduced a whole generation to velociraptors and cloning.
The Internet would never be the same.
Westworld was released in 1973 and is every bit as awesome as Jurassic Park would be with killer robotic cowboys instead of dinosaurs. Interestingly, the two films resemble each other so closely that Itchy & Scratchy Land on The Simpsons more resembles Westworld than its Isla Nublar equivalent.
However, in both cases, the parking was terrible.
The Lion King is one of the greatest achievements in cinematic history. Adjusted for inflation, the movie is the seventeenth highest-grossing film of all time. That’s higher than Jurassic Park, The Avengers, or Finding Nemo.
Ditto for this piece of shit.
So, what was the secret to the movie’s success? The magic and imagination you can only find at Walt Disney Studios.
Or Japan. There’s been a controversy brewing since The Lion King came out over how closely the film resembles the anime series Kimba the White Lion.
We’re guessing Disney used the whole film as a storyboard.
Naturally, Disney was quick to explain that the fiasco as just a big misunderstanding, and that aside from their names, Kimba and Simba are whole different characters. Since Disney wisely abandoned their original idea to make Simba white, we think we have to agree with them on this.
Many Bothans died to sneak this out of the Walt Disney vault.
Batman Begins did a whole lot more than kick off one of the most successful trilogies in motion picture history: It brought the franchise to new heights after it fell into one of the lowest points for any series in motion picture history.
And yes, we’re including Jaws and Police Academy when we say that.
If you ever sit down and read the original screenplay for the Tim Burton Batman, you’ll see that the idea of a gritty, realistic Batman was something a little-known writer named Sam Hamm nailed back when Reagan was president.
Considering his lead-in, he didn’t have much of a choice.
Now, we’re not calling Christopher Nolan any names for probably being handed a few ideas Warner Bros. already had on the books. We’re just saying that so many of what the Dark Knight series awesome was Sam Hamm’s invention: Jim Gordon comforting young Bruce Wayne after his parent’s death, a believable batsuit, ninja weapons, the rise of Harvey Dent, someone blackmailing Batman, and a Joker so unbelievably fucked up there is no way they could have shot this movie in its entirety without it avoiding an R-rating.
And naturally, that’s without bringing the rest of the movie into consideration.
He’s really hitting us over the head with that whole “Hit me!” scene.
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