Maintaining a consistent creative output is incredibly difficult and takes a lot of talent, hard work, and discipline. Unless, of course, you just shamelessly repeat the same idea over and over again and hope that nobody notices, such as dropping a scene from one of your older movies into your new one or redrawing one of your old comics with the exact same characters and dialogue.
To be clear, we're not talking about artists who have recurrent themes and subtle motifs in their work. We're talking about people who literally take their old work and try to pass it off as new -- without changing a single thing.
Michael Bay Stuck A Car Chase From The Island In The Middle Of Transformers 3
Michael Bay is often accused of making movies that are indistinguishable from each other: stuff explodes, the military kicks ass, a young actress bends over in front of the camera, something racist happens, and the movie ends. Of course, it's not that simple -- as identical as they might look, it's not like Bay just takes a scene from one Transformers movie and puts it in another. Nope, he takes scenes from other movies and puts them in Transformers.
For instance, here's one of the aircraft carriers from Pearl Harbor making a cameo in the first Transformers film.
Touchstone Pictures, Paramount Pictures
That aircraft carrier should be retirement age with a snowy-white beard by now.
Perhaps that was just a little self-homage, but this isn't a one-time thing. Remember Bay's The Island, that two-hour Xbox ad starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson? Of course you don't, because nobody saw it. This makes it the perfect film from which to "borrow" shots that Michael Bay doesn't feel like taking the time to redo. As pointed out in this YouTube video by filmmaker Jermain Odreman, Bay Frankensteined footage from a car chase he had filmed for The Island and shoved it into Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. Seriously -- barring a few CGI touch-ups, it's the exact same footage:
DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures
Bay was angry when those rollerblading robots wandered into the shot
for The Island, but they sure came in handy later on.