We realize that nothing is truly original -- in some way, every blockbuster you watch this summer will have elements that were "ripped off" from some older movie, or novel, or comic book. But damn it, there are times when a big-budget movie has incredibly specific similarities to some more obscure work, to the point that it's really hard to swallow that it could be coincidence. For example ...
7Up Closely Resembles a French Short
The film Up is about a lonely old man whose house faces demolition, as it now sits squarely in the middle of a construction zone. Served with an eviction notice, the old man ties hundreds of balloons to his house and floats away.
"Wait! I forgot my insulin!"
But It's Suspiciously Similar To ...
Above Then Beyond is an animated French short about a lonely widow whose home faces demolition by evil businessmen because it's the only house left in the middle of an urban development.
The sharply dressed bastards then show up to bully her out of her house. And after being served with an eviction notice, she turns her house into a gigantic hot air balloon and floats off into the clouds. You have to admit, that's a pretty bizarrely specific plot to have occurred to two different filmmakers. SlashFilm did this side-by-side comparison:
Aside from the fact that the protagonist of Up is an old man and not a woman, the only real difference between the films is that in Up, the old man goes on a bunch of zany jungle adventures with a fat kid and a talking dog, whereas in Above Then Beyond, the old lady dies and it's revealed to be a dream she had.
Before being murdered by skinheads.
One of the creators of the animated short was a film student who basically said that he's pretty sure somebody at Pixar got their idea from his film, but he's powerless to accuse them of anything, as the film was part of his studies and no longer technically belongs to him. So once again the minefield of copyright law miraculously comes out in favor of the giant megacorporation.