#3. Galaxy Quest (1999) is Three Amigos (1986)
A group of out of work actors are mistaken for the famous characters they used to portray onscreen and find themselves involved in a dangerous armed confrontation. Overcoming their massive egos and cowardice, the actors band together to face the enemy and become true heroes.
Tim Allen's junk may or may not play a role.
The Films That Share It:
Admittedly, this isn't the most original movie plot ever. Since the endlessly quotable Chevy Chase/Steve Martin/Martin Short classic Three Amigos came out in the early '80s, films like Tropic Thunder, My Name is Bruce and A Bug's Life, of all things, have sort of used it as a starting point before veering off in other directions. Galaxy Quest also used it as a starting point ... and a middle point, and an ending point. It's basically Three Amigos ... In Space!
With stupid haircuts instead of awesome hats.
For example, in both movies the unemployed actors are recruited by a somewhat naive alien culture in which everyone appears to be completely unfamiliar with the concept of "acting." Both of these races happen to live in exotic, unrealistic locations: more specifically, outer space and Hollywood's idea of Mexico.
Honestly, both are pretty offensive.
In both cases, the actors remain unaware of the mix-up for way too long, believing the whole thing to be a job opportunity despite being surrounded by overwhelming evidence pointing to the contrary. Somewhat related to the last point, in both movies the actors are pretty dumb. The aliens need the actors' help to oppose a superior enemy, but their performing talents turn out to be remarkably inefficient against large amounts of loaded weapons.
Ridiculous hats are a sign of superiority anywhere in the galaxy.
When the actors finally realize what's going on, their first instinct is to ditch the aliens and run away, since they're not as brave as everyone thinks, nor are they in any way qualified for combat. However, instead of bowing to their (frankly, justified) cowardice, they instead regroup and decide to face the enemy head on. Also, at one point they find themselves in a desert that conveniently resembles the sets of their respective serials.
Mexico and outer space are lousy with Styrofoam and matte paintings.
In the end, they defeat the bad guys thanks to an unlikely last minute move enacted with the help of the peaceful aliens, whom they encourage to stand up for themselves from now on. The day saved, the team is prepared for its next adventure and rides off into the sunset.
Or into the sun (we think).
The Major Difference:
These endings are pretty similar, except for the fact that the "riding into the sunset" scene in Galaxy Quest happens within the recently renewed show that the actors (plus one of the aliens) have gone on to star and presumably find money and success in. The characters in Three Amigos, on the other hand, are really seen galloping into the Mexican desert to fight for justice and most certainly died a few hours later.
#2. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) is Stargate (1994)
A brilliant young scientist obsessed with a fabled ancient civilization is taken in by an unknown benefactor and sent on a mission to explore a lost world. There, he falls in love with one the locals, helps them fight their oppressors and ultimately decides to stay with them.
Yes, we know he wasn't in the Stargate movie. We're just saying.
The Films That Share It:
Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a Disney animation without talking animals. Stargate is a Roland Emmerich film without U.S.-centric disaster porn. Neither is particularly famous, but don't worry: If you've seen one, you've seen both. For starters, they both star the same nerdy scientist guy, doing the same weirdly specific job.
Standing in front of the same blackboard, with the same stupid face.
Seriously, how many movies do you know where the main character specializes in cartography and linguistics? Well, now you know two. In both films, the protagonist is mocked and ignored by the scientific community due to his obsession with an ancient civilization that supposedly disappeared, leaving only stories and legends. It's fair to assume that in both cases, his haircut accounts for at least some of the mocking.
After his latest failed appeal to even discuss his theories, the scientist is approached by a mysterious woman who offers him a job that lines up suspiciously well with his otherwise useless set of skills. Having nothing to lose, he accepts the offer and is recruited to decipher some ancient writings ... which happen to show a path to the lost civilization of his dreams.
The lesson here is that high ranking officials don't read.
Before the scientist can even figure out what the writings say, his employer has already assembled a small hand-picked team led by a military-type dude to go on an expedition into a strange world. Once there, the scientist immediately meets his love interest, who takes the team to meet her father. He is a) the leader of the local dudes and b) not pleased with the strangers.
"If I wasn't a wise leader, why would I have this white beard?"
The scientist learns the local language in record time and begins to explore the strange technology this world has to offer. The technology is very advanced, but also primitive.
"Bet no one else thought of that twist." -- two separate writers.
Eventually, the leader of the team reveals the secret reason he came on the mission -- the scientist tries to talk him out of it, but it's no use. Shortly afterward, an improbable battle ensues, where the normally peaceful locals fight superior forces and somehow prevail.
In the end, rather than return with the rest of the team, the main character decides to stay in this new world to teach the natives about their own civilization and also to make out with his new girlfriend some more.
Of course, Disney's protagonist has the rapiest eyes.
The Major Difference:
The military-type dudes in each film are actually pretty different: One of them betrays his own people and kills for money and power, and the other is not a Disney cartoon.
Another difference: Atlantis was such a big flop that Disney canceled plans for a spin-off series. Stargate, on the other hand, was a surprise hit and led to several spin-offs stretching across three decades ... one of which was called Stargate: Atlantis.
This in turn led to another spin-off, Stargate: Suck It, Disney.
#1. Cars (2006) is Doc Hollywood (1991)
A young hotshot professional heads to California to attain fame and fortune, but a random accident strands him in a hick town in the middle of nowhere ... where he'll learn a valuable lesson and find true love.
The Films That Share It:
We're talking about Doc Hollywood, the Michael J. Fox comedy about a doctor who wants to go to Hollywood, and also Cars, the Pixar film about cars. These movies are so similar, it's almost like they're set in mirror dimensions -- and in one of those dimensions, every character is a talking car.
In both movies, the ambitious protagonist is about halfway to his destination when he ends up going off the road and destroying some property. He is then brought before the local judge, who sentences him to several hours of community service.
It's that, or going to prison and having his fuel tank forcibly pumped.
These two judges are practically the same character, but then again, so is every other judge who appears in a movie. At this point the protagonist is mocked by the local residents for his big-city ways, remaining arrogant until he makes a serious mistake that he fixes with the help of a small town veteran, who will become his mentor. That's ... a pretty specific sequence of events there, Pixar.
Oh, and then there's the shared love interest: a sassy, tomboyish female of his same species who teases him about his origins and general manners while showing him the beauty of living a simple life in a small town. Their relationship starts moving forward and they even go on a nice, if unusual, date.
Yeah, we're not sure how that's gonna work out, either.
So they're hitting it off pretty well ... and then the protagonist goes away to California anyway, even though she asks him not to, because apparently he's still a deeply selfish guy/anthropomorphic car. In California, he performs his job admirably but secretly feels nostalgic about his time in the small town (which we know because he closes his eyes and looks real serious).
Both movies end with the disclaimer that you shouldn't drive and/or perform surgery with your eyes closed.
Finally, he's offered a contract by the big company he was hoping for, but a visit from his quirkily unsophisticated friends convinces him to ditch California in favor of the small town, where he's reunited with his love interest.
What are the chances of two female movie characters loving self-centered assholes?
The Major Difference:
Did we mention one of these movies is about talking cars? Because that sort of eclipses everything else that happens in the film. It could be a straight rip-off of A Clockwork Orange and we'd still call it "that talking-car movie." Most of the audience is too distracted thinking about the disturbing implications of a vehicle-ruled society to even notice what it's ripping off.
Also, if you ever wondered what happened to Michael J. Fox and his girlfriend after the end of Doc Hollywood, you already know: He gets involved in a bullshit plot about spies and oil, and is upstaged by Larry the Cable Guy.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see which columnist is a remake of Will Sasso.
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