6 Films That Got Away With Blatantly Ripping Off Video Games
Now that video games have plots more complex than "rescue your girlfriend from tyrannical lizards," they're constantly being accused of trying to be movies. And sure, both mediums are starting to look a lot alike these days, partly because both rely almost exclusively on computer graphics.
But there's another, subtler reason movies and video games feel so similar -- at a steadily increasing rate, movies have been stealing from video games in such sneaky ways that you'd probably never notice it unless someone put both things side by side. So let's do that ...
The Force Awakens Stole As Much From Star Wars Video Games As It Did From The Original Trilogy
One of the bigger criticisms of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was that it borrowed too heavily from A New Hope (for instance, both movies feature a character named "Han Solo"). But that's not the only source it shamelessly lifted stuff from. Remember how surprising it was to watch the aforementioned Han Solo get stabbed through the torso with a lightsaber in the middle of a scene that appeared to be building to a heartwarming father-son hug?
Yeah, nobody was happy about this.
Paradoxically, that moment would have been even more surprising if you had played 2010's Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, because you wouldn't have expected a goddamn remake:
At least this guy was nice enough to follow through with the hug in Han's final moments.
The game's Battle Of Endor expansion allowed you to murder many beloved Star Wars characters (plus the Ewoks), and Han's death scene features the same style of execution, the same lightsaber color, and even the same disturbingly orgasmic death face as in The Force Awakens. You can see the full scene here, but be advised about watching more from that game, because if this trend continues, you may get spoiled on how Leia gets killed in a double lightsaber duel.
Now let's look at Han's killer, Kylo Ren -- who, in a plot twist, turns out to be his emo son Ben.
That's what you get for naming your kid after some crazy old guy you barely knew.
Kylo wears an outfit suspiciously similar to the one worn by another character from a Star Wars video game: Darth Revan from the Knights Of The Old Republic series. As with Kylo, Revan's identity is revealed in a plot twist -- he's actually the player.
Kylo started out as a Jedi apprentice before turning over to the Dark Side, but he still feels conflicted about it. The same goes for Revan, whose final Dark/Light affiliation depends on how much of a dick the player chooses to be in the game. Even Kylo's Starkiller Base, which drains energy out of a star in order to function, is reminiscent of Revan's Star Forge, which works the same way. Shame on you for thinking they were just ripping off the Death Star.
In fairness, Knights Of The Old Republic was also ripping off the Death Star, because it seems that's the only idea anyone has in the Star Wars universe.
The Fight Scenes In Batman V. Superman Look Exactly Like Batman: Arkham Asylum
Director Zack Snyder is a divisive figure among movie fans, but we can all agree that he has a distinct, immediately recognizable style. As in, you'd never mistake one of his movies for an episode of General Hospital or something. His action scenes in particular stand out for being ultra-violent and tightly choreographed. For instance, one of the best scenes of Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice is the one in which Batman kicks the asses of a bunch of thugs in a warehouse.
See? Pretty original stuff ... unless you've played the Arkham series of video games, in which case watching that video probably made your thumbs twitch reflexively. We don't only mean that both involve Batman punching the shit out of faceless henchmen -- it's a specific style that only shows up one other place. Both Snyder's Batman and Arkham Batman love slamming enemies' faces on the floor:
This is why Batman's rogues gallery is so ugly.
Taking on multiple dudes at the same time in a sort of rhythmic dance that bounces from one opponent to the next in a circle, shattering faces at every stop:
The guy who killed Batman's parents also had bones, so it's personal.
And occasionally grabbing heavy objects with your grappling hook and using them to smash dudes:
The Snyder version looks more like a video game.
Hell, someone put the game's HUD over the scene and it fits perfectly. There's even a moment when Batman renders the thugs' guns useless with some sort of gizmo -- just like the disruptor gadget from the games. The fighting styles are also very similar and much more brutal than what we're accustomed to, making the blink-and-you'll-miss-'em fight scenes of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight movies look like they're full of BIFFs and POWs in stylized word balloons.
Ironically, the one thing Snyder didn't copy from the Arkham series is the slo-mo -- which the developers say they copied from Snyder's 300 in the first place. It's good to see that creative thievery enjoys a proud Batman tradition of being a two-way street.
The Director Of Gravity Keeps Borrowing From Half-Life And Call Of Duty
Alfonso Cuaron is the acclaimed, Academy-Award-winning director behind films like Gravity, Children Of Men, and The Good Harry Potter Movie. According to Cuaron, the last video game he played was Space Invaders -- which might be a ruse to prevent us from discovering how much he's borrowed from games in his career. For starters:
Humanity may be doomed in 2027, but at least we'll have the newly-released Half-Life 3 to cheer us up.
Yes, we know Children Of Men is based on a book from 1990 and Half-Life 2 came out in 2004. However, it's entirely possible that Cuaron noticed both stories are set in dystopic near-futures wherein everyone is infertile and decided to borrow some of the game's look and feel. From Half Life's introspective train ride ...
Us when the phone battery dies.
... to the desolate but militarized train stations where dickish soldiers push people around ...
What these oppressive states save on food, they spend on wire fences.
...to the eerily abandoned children's playgrounds.
The swing industry has seen better days.
Even though the movie isn't in first-person perspective like the game, the camera is constantly showing us the point of view of the main character in this chaotic world. Also, they both end on a massive insurrection against the totalitarian government. There's even a moment in the movie's long, climactic firefight in which the camera gets splattered with blood, like in a first-person shooter. All that's missing is one of the soldiers stopping to teabag a dead body while yelling something racist.
Ironically, FPS games would be much more pleasant in this future, since 14-year-olds don't exist.
Speaking of shooters, when Call Of Duty: Ghosts came out in 2013, many compared it to Cuaron's Gravity (from earlier in the same year) because both feature scenes in which a space station blows up and the astronauts are left drifting in space. What everyone missed was that Call Of Duty did this years before Cuaron -- in 2009's Modern Warfare 2, there's a short but strikingly similar scene where the same freaking thing happens:
Gravity (2013), winner of seven Oscars.
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009), winner of two Golden Joysticks.
Cuaron even adopted a first-person perspective for the corresponding shots in Gravity. It looks like the closer Cuaron's movies get to video games, the more successful they are, so let's hope the producers of the upcoming Tetris trilogy are reading this.
Bollywood Has Already Made (Unofficial) Movies of Assassin's Creed and Uncharted
Video game adaptations move slowly. The Assassin's Creed movie was announced in 2011 and is only coming out now, Watch Dogs has been "in development" since 2013, and Uncharted's development hell saga has more twists, turns, and Wahlbergs than the plot of the game. It seems that securing film rights, figuring out how to translate 40 hours of button-pushing into a script, and convincing bankable stars that a Super Mario Bros. movie won't wreck their careers is a super-long process.
However, India simply says "fuck it" and does them.
Above: one of the highest-grossing Bollywood movies ever. Because India isn't terribly concerned with originality.
Ek Tha Tiger is a movie about an Indian spy who dresses, shoots, jumps, and fights just like Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, in places that coincidentally look just like the various settings of those games (as in, everywhere but India). Even the franchise's characteristic ledge-jumping is represented in the movie's trailer:
It's been scientifically proven that ledge-jumping makes any trailer 50 percent more exciting.
And of course, it wouldn't be not-Uncharted without ridiculous-looking pipe-climbing:
Video games: letting us do wacky shit with pipes since 1983.
Meanwhile, only a month after Watch Dogs was released to the underwhelment of gamers everywhere, Bollywood happened to crank out the first Indian super soldier spy hacker movie: 18.11 -- A Code Of Secrecy.
They even copied the "this has a stupid name" aspect.
To be fair, the trailer for this no-budget extravaganza suggests the story has no relation whatsoever to Watch Dog's plot, and the music is completely different (because the music was in fact stolen from Halo). But the most bizarre Indian quasi-adaptation yet is Super Hero Shehanshah, which looks like what happens when you try to play Assassin's Creed at a Renaissance Faire.
Nothing screams "exciting film" like a hero who clearly brought his costume from home.
Whereas most of the action in Assassin's Creed takes place in a distant past, this version takes place entirely in modern times. Why would a top-level assassin dress like a Dungeons & Dragons character? Well, there are many convenient reasons, such as hiding in museums ...
... stealthily leaping on horses in front of everyone ...
... snd looking awesome during your live concerts.
Stolen Video Game Art Shows Up Everywhere
Whom should you call in case your video game's assets get stolen by a TV show? Certainly not Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD, which apparently took concept art from Mass Effect 3 in order to create a hi-tech facility shown in the first-season episode "The Bridge."
This also explains why Hydra operates out of a tiny castle next to a flagpole.
In response, BioWare, Mass Effect's creators, joked on Twitter that they were waiting for their agents of SHIELD badges. One staff member indicated that he'd settle for a copy of this familiar-looking rap album, featuring The Jacka and DuBBle OO standing in front of one of Mass Effect's futuristic cityscapes.
Judging by the album's seven current ratings on iTunes, they would be more than happy to give copies away.
Some claimed it was ironic for BioWare to complain about having their art stolen when they occasionally use free stock photos in their games, because the internet doesn't know what the words "free stock photos" mean. No, real irony is Fox News doing a segment on immigration ...
Guess what their stance on it is.
... using a logo that was clearly ripped off from BioShock Infinite, a game set in a floating city populated by racist douchebags who hate immigrants. It's impossible to miss -- the villains even use talking points and propaganda which obviously satirizes Tea-Party-style rhetoric. Like this poster:
Looks like Jon McNaughton exists in all parallel realities.
Because the Universe never stops being hilarious, a Tea Party group with almost 200,000 members shared that image on Facebook before finding out it was from a video game that was highly critical of their ideology and deleted it.
But oblivious lunatics aren't the only ones ripping off the BioShock franchise ...
Snowpiercer Is Basically BioShock On A Train
Snowpiercer, the Korean adaptation of a French comic starring Chrisptain Americevens, was praised by critics for its ambition and originality. However, if you look at the comic it's based on or read the plot synopsis, it doesn't seem to have a lot in common with the movie, beyond the (admittedly specific) premise that the world was killed by a new ice age and the remnants of humanity are all huddled together in a snow-piercing train, with the poorest and stinkiest people relegated to the shitty back cars.
The rest of the movie doesn't come from the source comic at all, but from the dystopian video game BioShock. This starts with that inexplicable '50s aesthetic, which makes absolutely no sense in the context of Snowpiercer, but makes complete sense in Bioshock, since the game is set in 1960.
Or at least a 1960.
BioShock is set in an underwater city and not a train, but the plot has a lot in common with Snowpiercer. Both involve a mad genius creating a techno-horror wonderland as a self-styled utopia, only for the oppressed lower classes to rise up and trash everything. These geniuses broadcast black-and-white propaganda about how awesome they are, and they love slapping their logo anywhere they can.
Plus naked, muscular dudes.
Snowpiercer's main character has to go from carriage to carriage, bypassing increasingly difficult obstacles until he can confront the final "boss" of the film. At some point in both the movie and the game, the characters find themselves in classrooms (or "educational facilities" in BioShock), whose disturbingly colorful aesthetics clash with the worlds' predominant grayness.
V For Vendetta is big with kids during the new ice age.
At this point in the movie, a seemingly innocent cart is pushed inside the room, only for someone to pull a big gun out of it, which is a cool idea ...
... which was even cooler when the game did it.
Because it's a bigger gun.
And speaking of cute child stuff, in both Snowpiercer and BioShock, innocent children are a valuable resource for the leaders, because they're used for creepy activities adults cannot perform -- running the train's engine and harvesting a substance from sea slugs, respectively.
"We could do it, but we wouldn't look half as cute, so what's the point?"
In the game, that substance is abused by the upper class, leaving them insane and deformed, with an entire level dealing with a section of the city populated by socialites who sit around doing tons of drugs and wearing freaky masks. Snowpiercer has a similar section of the train populated by costumed ravers rolling their faces off.
Unless you're looking to lose weight, it's quite effective.
But perhaps the biggest similarity is that both Bioshock and Snowpiercer end with a plot twist in which the main character finds out he had been manipulated by his mentor to carry out an assassination on the utopia's creator ... a scheme the creator knew about and accepted in both cases. But, you know, lots of movies end like that, we're sure.
Lots of movies have steampunk underwater tunnels, too.
You can find Tiago on Twitter.
What's The Best Fictional School To Attend? In the muggle world, we're not given the opportunity for a magical hat to tell us which school we should go to. Usually, we have to go to the high school closest to where we live, or whatever college accepts our SAT scores and personal essay. This month, our goal is to determine what would be the best fictional school to go to. Join Jack, Daniel, and the rest of the Cracked staff, along with comedians Brandie Posey and Steven Wilber, as they figure out if it's a realistic school like Degrassi or West Beverly High, or an institution from a fantasy world like Hogwarts with its ghosts and dementors, or Bayside High, haunted by a monster known only to humans as Screech. Get your tickets here!
For more ways Hollywood has always been unoriginal, check out 7 Classic Movies You Didn't Know Were Rip-Offs and 17 Famous Movies That Ripped Off From Lesser-Known Films.
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