5 Movies That Ripped Off Films You'd Never Compare Them To
In the grand scheme of creativity, sometimes two completely different people come up with the same idea by sheer coincidence. It's called "parallel thinking," and it explains how we occasionally get two or three Tarzan and Hercules movies in a row, and that time you and your friend both decided to rob the same donut store on the same night without having consulted with each other beforehand.
However, sometimes two movies turn out to be so similar, in such ultra-specific ways, it makes you wonder if, well, there wasn't at least a tiny bit of ripping off going on. Judge for yourself:
Iron Man 3 Clearly Wanted To Be The Incredibles
Obviously, superhero movies are going to overlap in a bunch of ways -- it's not plagiarism if your hero shrugs off a bunch of gunshots and then makes a wisecrack about it. Hercules probably did that. But Iron Man 3 seems to have taken nearly its entire story from The Incredibles. The two films share so many oddly specific details it's like Marvel was trying to cheat on a math test by stealing the smart kid's paper and writing their name on it instead.
First off, both movies begin with a flashback of the main hero's younger years as he gets approached by an annoying but earnest fan. The hero blows the fan off, looking like a jerk in the process:
"Sorry dude, the Real Genius set is over there."
Flash forward to the present. In both films, the hero is having a midlife crisis because he's worried he's not doing enough to help the world. At one point, he does something blazingly reckless, which he justifies because he's afraid he can't protect the people he loves. Also, they both wear red and yellow suits.
"I've gotta protect my Incredible family, meaning Pepper Potts, who's basically like family, and incredible, the adjective."
He has an African-American best friend who wears a blue and silver super suit:
And they both just want the hero to stop being an idiot with his super powers.
We find out that the rebuffed fan from the film's prologue has become a super-rich scientist and weapons manufacturer who's dedicated his entire professional life to destroying the hero for being a dick to him in the past:
But only one of these truly sinister villains would go on to star in Alvin And The Chipmunks.
At one point, the villain thinks he's killed the hero, but the hero survives by falling into a body of water and disappearing. While presumed dead, the hero infiltrates the villain's lair and discovers his terrible plans, but gets captured immediately after, because being a superhero is hard, man:
"Did you ever consider just having sex with supermodels and riding jet-skis instead of the whole pointless revenge thing?"
Both films feature a smart, cunning woman who's working with the villain but has second thoughts and decides to help the hero at a crucial moment. Having served their narrative purpose, both women immediately disappear from the film ...
... And just in case the action sequences weren't identical enough, both villains blow up an airplane, leading to an action sequence wherein a group of people fall from the sky down to the ocean but are saved at the last second by superheroic ingenuity:
And some extremely questionable physics.
Also, both Iron Man 3's Mandarin and The Incredible's Omnidroid are "false flag" creations, made to distract the world from the villain's schemes by making the public think they're being threatened by something else:
A thousand conspiracy theorists' ears just perked up.
The hero uncovers the plot and stops the villain, finally satisfied with being a middle-aged hero:
Having learned to be content with only being super, mega successful.
That is, until the inevitable sequel.
Prometheus Took Its Entire Plot From A Failed Disney Movie
There is a striking resemblance between Ridley Scott's "definitely not an Alien prequel ok fine it is" film Prometheus and Brian De Palma's cinematic Challenger explosion Mission To Mars from 2000. Sure, they're both "space" movies, but the similarities here run way deeper than just both films sharing the standard "our spaceship has encountered a space problem" plot of most science fiction movies.
We'll start with the posters:
"In a world where only two color filters exist ..."
The font in both posters is pretty similar, as is the beam of light slashing through a foreboding monochromatic image from the movie. Okay, fine, ripping off a poster is a pretty forgivable crime -- after all, there are only like five different movie posters that have ever been made. So let's look at the movies themselves, starting with the central characters. Both movies establish a loving couple:
"Loving Couple" = a Hollywood term meaning "One of these people will die."
A charming pilot:
After Apollo 13, you'd really think they would've stopped sending Gary Sinise to space.
A badass black captain:
Don Cheadle's the original this time.
But, hey, those are stock adventure movie tropes, right? Well, in both films, the crew also finds DNA samples from the surface that match human DNA:
Which isn't surprising, given our species' habit of masturbating everywhere we go.
Halfway through both films, the male half of the loving couple sacrifices himself for the good of everyone:
Ultimately, they both die of veiny cracked face.
Both films feature a huge alien structure with a face carved into it:
"So, which giant face should we visit first? This smiley one giving the thumbs up, or Skull Death Mountain?"
"Probably the smil-"
"Skull Death Mountain it is!"
Holographic maps you have to walk through, which are actually way less convenient than having everything on a screen you can navigate from your chair:
"Apple Maps is bad enough in 2d."
An encounter with a goofy looking alien that we are told created the human race for reasons that are never entirely clear:
One made with terrible computer effects, the other made with terrible practical effects.
A character getting dismembered:
"'No!'? Oh, sorry, my bad. I'll put that back on then."
A secret alien spaceship hidden within the giant mysterious structure:
"What if we ever want to leave without wrecking our base?"
Which the main character commandeers to go search for the alien creators:
But only one of them loves America.
Of course, the movies have wildly different tones -- Prometheus is much more a horror movie, whereas Mission To Mars is an intensely boring adaptation of a Disneyland ride. But plotwise, the two are basically identical, which we suppose doesn't say anything good about either of them.
Jupiter Ascending Is A Stealth Remake of Super Mario Bros.
The Wachowski siblings, once considered revolutionary filmmakers for their work on The Matrix, recently released a baffling sci-fi/fantasy opus Jupiter Ascending, of which the nicest thing you can say is that it was an ambitious flop.
As it turns out, it's an ambitious flop that bit the style of another ambitious flop, one that broke the hearts of more young gamers than the Power Glove: Super Mario Bros.
Is "streaky" considered a style?
No, really. The protagonists of both films have jobs centered around toilets:
Which, coincidentally, is where both movies should have ended up.
Both movies involve a character who is secretly the princess of another world, who at one point has things explained to them by an older woman with a very tall hairdo while they're wearing a fancy purple dress:
In both films, the princess is kidnapped by a pair of goons working for the villain:
But only ONE pair of goons is half Fisher Stevens.
Both films randomly take the time to explain what happened to the dinosaurs ...
... even going so far as to include dinosaur henchmen for the main villain:
Both make paleontologists want to claw their own eyes out.
Both main villains are hellbent on ruling earth, and both villains are shown teleporting into view using a very specific pixelization effect:
Except only has the excuse of being made in the 90s.
This makes sense when your movie is based on a video game, but is much more jarring when your film is an original work meant to world-build a new franchise. Then there's these two shots:
Beyond fueling those "Koopa did 9/11" conspiracy theories, these are remarkably similar.
But no similarity is more ultra-specific than the fact that both films give their characters mechanical rocket boots:
And the fact that they both somehow make goddamn rocket boots seem lame.
Also, despite supposedly being a space dog man, Channing Tatum's character in Jupiter Ascending looks way more like a raccoon. We assume a scene involving him standing perfectly still to turn to stone and/or throwing a giant red shell at one of his enemies was cut prior to release.
Real Steel Tells The Same Story As An Oscar-Winning Movie From The 70s
Real Steel is a Hugh Jackman movie that was presumably the result of a meeting of studio executives wherein someone suggested "what if Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots was a movie but not called that?" But, as "unique" as this heartfelt punchy-robot premise sounds, a lot of the scenes directly mirror Paper Moon, a film from 1973 that, admittedly, has almost nothing to do with fighting robots (although weirdly, Paper Moon star Ryan O'Neal was once an amateur boxer).
Bear with us here.
In both films, a sleazy grifter protagonist finds out that a woman he was involved with years ago has died and left behind a child who is now his responsibility:
"You mean I have to take care of this kid for almost half their childhood? Ugggggggggh."
He is given a big stack of money to care for the child, which he immediately spends on himself. The child finds out about the money and demands it back:
Man, the price of children really has skyrocketed in the past century.
Faced with a moral dilemma, the gruff but loveable protagonist agrees to get the money back:
"Yeah that's right, I SPENT it. I'm still in the 'selfish dickhead' stage of my character development."
They go on the road together to hustle up the cash and end up making a good team:
"Dad, what's a Ponzi Scheme?"
"Well, you see, when a man or a woman loves their kneecaps very much ..."
But eventually, the protagonist gets his ass beaten inside out by someone he pissed off in the past, and all of the money they earned gets stolen:
The kid is sent away to live with someone else, but winds up reuniting with the protagonist at the end:
"The deepest bond of all is the one you make with punching robots." -- A line from Paper Moon, incredibly
The Dark Knight Rises Is A Remake Of ... The Simpsons Movie?
In a way, every creator has been influenced by The Simpsons in some tangential way, because the show has been on the air for seven fucking presidential administrations. That said, Christopher Nolan's Godfather Part III ending to his Dark Knight Trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, bears way more than a passing resemblance to 2007's The Simpsons Movie, and these movies didn't exactly have cookie cutter plots. Can you think of a third movie that played out like this?
Both involve a city getting cut off from the rest of the world ...
... abandoned by the government ...
... and ultimately devolving into chaos.
Five minutes after realizing the porn was cut too.
While the city crumbles, the now-hated protagonist runs away/is sent off to a faraway land to think about the stupid bullshit he pulled to doom his hometown in the first place ...
... After experiencing transcendent truth in isolation, the protagonist returns to save their blighted city by snagging a giant bomb placed by the villain and transporting it out of danger JUST in the nick of time:
For two ridiculously disparate movies, those are some pretty darn-near-identical camera shots. Though, to be fair, you could probably find an individual Simpsons episode that matches the exact plots of every single movie on this list. They probably even did one where Bart builds a fighting robot and bonds with his father ...
Wait, that's real? Holy shit, we were joking.
Christopher is on twitter but he never tweets, he once wrote a pretty cool little Brazilian Horror film call "Quarto 38," and he also makes really terrible rap songs about fighting cults. You can find Jon messing around here, or here, or here. Whatever you decide, man.
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For more properties were aren't sure are ripping each other off, check out 6 R-Rated Films That Totally Ripped Off Famous Kids' Movies and 6 Movies That Inadvertently Remade Other Movies.
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