6 Directors Who Secretly Made The Same Movie Twice
Coming up with movie ideas is hard; it's the reason why there are so many remakes and sequels even though real people can only stay that fast or furious for so long. But there are other shortcuts filmmakers can look for, and while it's certainly not ethical to steal someone else's idea, cribbing movies from yourself is less of a crime. In fact some prominent filmmakers have been pretty damned shameless about copying their earlier work. SPOILERS AHEAD ...
Avengers: Age Of Ultron Was Already An Episode Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Avengers: Age Of Ultron is the Marvel movie so disjointed that one of the heroes takes a nude dip in a cave pond mid-way through the story. Which makes it all the more surprising that writer/director Joss Whedon seems to have taken the idea from his fairly tightly written show Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
As pointed out by MoviePilot.com, Age Of Ultron has a lot in common with the Buffy episode "I, Robot ... You, Jane." This episode begins with Willow scanning an ancient book which awakens an evil computer-demon consciousness, which sort of parallels Tony Stark creating Ultron who immediately becomes dangerously self-aware.
Even their physical resemblance is striking.
When each gang pieces together what's happened, they have very similar conversations about how the villain is now in the Internet, at which point one member of the gang points out that this means he can control nuclear weapons.
That's ... that's not how nuclear weapons work, Joss.
Not content to just live inside of the computer, each bad guy soon builds a giant armored body for themselves, complete with evil glowing red eyes.
Although only one robot could afford the oddly loquacious Spader-subroutine.
The robot even enlists the help of similar characters: Scarlet Witch and Willow, who of course later becomes a witch in the show. Of course both these characters eventually realize the scope of what's happening and turn on the robot. Finally, when the villain is severed from the computer, the gang destroys the robot body ...
"NO! I HAD ALMOST CALCULATED THE MEANING OF ... LOVE."
So it's a whole lot of coincidences. Too many, really for a writer/director so highly acclaimed. Which means we should all brace ourselves for Whedon's upcoming Batgirl to be set aboard a folksy spaceship.
Star Wars Became Star Trek Became Star Wars Again
It's no secret that J.J. Abrams' crack at a Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, was pretty much a straight-up remake of A New Hope. Hell, he probably even insisted the boom guy wear only hot-pink short shorts on set. But as we've already pointed out, he had basically remade the first Star Wars already with his reboot of Star Trek, which means there's a whole lot of Star Trek saliva in the backwash of his Star Wars soda.
Take the opening, where Kylo Ren meets the old guy on Jakku. Sure it's a little like Princess Leia meeting Darth Vader for the first time -- but it's a lot like Nero meeting the Starfleet captain at the beginning of Star Trek. Both villains demand to know the location of one of the original franchises' heroes: Spock and Luke Skywalker.
"Remember that character more interesting than me? I want to kill him."
And when they refuse, the villain flips out and stabs them ...
Take that, character whose sole purpose is to die to establish the villain's evilness.
We soon meet the hero, who spends their time tooling around their home planet on a bike.
But a fancy, future bike.
And we get a shot with the bike set against a grounded spaceship to establish the larger story about to loom up and encompass the hero.
Also: Spaceships on planets are cool.
Both Kirk and Rey soon leave their respective planet on an iconic ship (the Enterprise, the Millennium Falcon) and eventually run into a geriatric version of one of the original series' characters, who fills them in on some of the key plot details and repeat some of their classic lines.
"I am thrilled to be here."
And then -- and this is weird -- our old friend helps the new hero battle against vagina dentata monsters.
For most people, this happens once, maybe twice a year at most.
Eventually the villain ends up abducting one of the heroes and straps them to a table, before proceeding to get uncomfortably close to them.
And their beautiful neck/hair area.
Then the other heroes board the villain's ship on a rescue mission and then a wisecracking mission and then a destruction mission. And finally, when everything's about to explode, instead of a regular explosion, their ship leaves behind some kind of weird energy bubble -- a time vortex thingy and a new sun, respectively.
It's nice to sometimes give the CGI guys a simple sphere to work on.
So it's basically the same movie and we should all feel dumb for paying to see it three to ten times now. If Abrams ever figures out a way to tie all this into the Cloverfield-verse we might as well ... aw, crap.
The Famous Planet Of The Apes Twist Was Recycled From A Twilight Zone Episode
Rod Serling was the genius behind The Twilight Zone, the TV show that spun strange stories about characters whose lives were so fucked, they don't even notice a cigarette-smoking intruder materialize in their living room to describe their plight.
But Serling also co-wrote the original Planet Of The Apes, and was likely responsible for the famous twist ending in which it's revealed that the titular planet is actually Earth, us maniacs blew it up, goddamn us. We can say this because not only was Sterling more synonymous with twists than Shyamalan, but it's also pretty clearly a plot point recycled from an episode of The Twilight Zone. Both the episode "I Shot An Arrow Into The Air" and Planet Of The Apes feature a bunch of astronauts seemingly crashing on an alien desert planet ...
"You guys got any moisturizer?"
... and wandering through the endless rocky wastelands.
"Seriously, my thighs are just dying here."
And although the Twilight Zone episode forgoes smartass tunic-clad apes in favor of the hero murdering his friends for their water, it does end with the hero discovering that he's not on an alien planet at all -- he's been on Earth the whole time! Holy shit!
Note that one reveal is slightly more budget-conscious than the other.
For Heston, this means that humanity destroyed itself. For the other guy it means that he murdered his friends for no reason and will probably go to jail. But the fundamental idea was flagrantly the same: The desert alien planet they landed on was secretly Earth. Serling somehow got away with this though, possibly due to the lack of VCR technology in the 1960s, or just the era's crippling alcohol dependency.
Steven Spielberg Put A Lot Af Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Into Hook
Steven Spielberg's Hook told the story of a middle-aged Peter Pan returning to Neverland, and although that sure seems like a wholly original story, when you examine the details you'll see it shares a lot in common with Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. For instance, both Temple Of Doom and Hook open with a production number; Willie's Shanghai revue and Peter's kid's play.
Did he have a Groupon for choreography, or something?
Then both Indy and Peter are whisked off to foreign lands -- India and Neverland, respectively -- where they first meet their adversaries. Oddly cordial meetings, in each case.
Adversaries wearing damned near the same jacket, too.
Both heroes soon stumble upon a group of orphaned children who need their help.
Who live in decidedly not child-proofed environments.
In both movies we also get scenes where our hero hides from a distance and spies on a villainous ceremony ...
One hat's been bedazzled though, so that's something.
And if you're thinking that's not quite right, because one scene is an evil blood ritual, and the other is just a friendly baseball game between pirates, remember that both feature a goddamn human sacrifice.
Baseball is a game of ancient, hallowed tradition.
We also get scenes where characters are brainwashed into obeying the villain (Indy and Peter's son Jack) before the hero finally faces off against the bad guy. And ok, that's a pretty generic plot point, but far less common is what happens next; after both villains are defeated they're each taken out by a crocodile. That doesn't happen in many movies (but should).
It'd have made Titanic better, for instance.
There you have it. From choreography to crocodiles, one of the world's greatest directors tracing over his own work.
The Leftovers Is Basically A Second Draft Of Lost
The Leftovers was one of the rare shows on HBO not about dragons or naked robots, instead showing us what would happen if two percent of the world's population mysteriously vanished. Co-created by Damon Lindelof of Lost fame, it really seems like he was using this show as a second draft for a lot of the same ideas. For instance, both shows are about divorced men who have the same jobs as their dads -- Jack is a prominent surgeon in Lost, and in The Leftovers, Kevin Garvey has followed in his dad's footsteps as town sheriff.
Which isn't common, at least ever since our jobs stopped being our last names.
Then, in the wake of a supernatural event (the "sudden departure" and crashing on a magical island) both Jack and Kevin fall in love with emotionally troubled women who bizarrely both end up trying to raise someone else's baby; Kate raises Claire's baby, and Nora finds Lily on a doorstep.
On a less superficial level, both shows explore the issue of faith, and prominently feature their main characters arguing against their fantastical destiny with believers; Locke tries to convince Jack the island is magic, Kevin's priest friend Matt tries to convince him he's the next messiah.
Lindelof (off-camera): "No, look dubious. Dubiouser."
And the fantastical elements of each setting lead to the creation of cults -- the Dharma Initiative tries to tap into the power of the island on Lost, and the Guilty Remnant in The Leftovers refuse to speak, chainsmoke, and stage stunts to remind people of the departure.
Doesn't seem likely smokers could stand with their arms raised that long.
Another weird coincidence is that while Lost began with a flight from Australia, The Leftovers final season ended on a flight to Australia.
"Wait, is that pilot a polar bear?"
There's also a lot of talk about apocalypses, visions of dead people, and magic boxes that could either kill you or send you to another dimension. And if all that wasn't enough evidence The Leftovers was Lindelof working through some notebooks from earlier in his career, there's literally a scene where a character nakedly nukes what looks an awful lot like the Lost island.
Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Helpless shrugging is another recurring theme.
David Fincher's Fight Club is The Game For Bros
Unless you spent the '90s in a dive bar's basement full of sweaty men and your imaginary friend, you probably thought Fight Club was a pretty unique story. But acclaimed director/guy who almost made Iron Man piss himself David Fincher actually told a similar story once -- in The Game, starring Michael Douglas in one of his few non-erotic thriller roles.
Both movies are about emotionally detatched men who are closed off from the world -- that is until a cool, more spiritually liberated friend shows up and hands them a card.
"For a good, imaginary time, call ..."
One is a birthday present from a brother, the other a business card from a stranger, but they both eventually lead to a secret club that helps men not feel so dead inside. In The Game, it's CRS, an interactive game for wealthy people looking to spice things up without resorting to hunting humans for sport. In Fight Club it's the titular club that's meant to help you feel alive again through pummeling each other.
In a key difference, one club looks much better without shirts.
Both CRS and Tyler Durden trash the homes of the protagonist to free them from their material fixation.
Though CRS was way meaner about it.
But inevitably what starts out as a fun activity goes too far, and the secret clubs start committing crimes. CRS steals money and leaves Michael Douglas penniless in Mexico, Project Mayhem essentially become urban terrorists. Which leaves our heroes at a crossroads.
A temple-clutching crossroads.
But they pull through, and in the end both decide to go after the club itself. Strangely, both go about this by wielding guns in office building parking garages.
This actually happens in most parking garages every day.
All of this culminates with the hero deciding the only way they can escape the horror they've become entangled in is by killing themselves.
In reality, suicide is less of a plot point and more of a plot period.
But, surprise, they survive! Michael Douglas' suicide was all part of the game, and Edward Norton lives because ... he's a Highlander? It's unclear. In any case, they have now learned a lesson about what it means to be truly alive, which is nice and almost makes up for all the havoc that's been caused. Then at last, the final shot of each movie is the hero connecting with the female lead ...
"Are you as turned on as I am by my attempted suicide?"
... Which is soon followed by the credits rolling over a kick-ass rock song: Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" and The Pixies' "Where is My Mind."
In short, it's a heck of a lot of coincidences, enough to make you wonder what other kind of fucked-up Mad Libs FIncher has lying around his office. In its defense though, we do not believe The Game concluded with a dick pic.
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