If imitation is sincerely the best form of flattery, then moviemakers are often the kings of…let’s call it echoing. Borrowing. Being…*wink* heavily influenced.
BATTLE ROYALE VS. THE HUNGER GAMES
Teacher Kitano: “Life is a game. So fight for survival and see if you’re worth it.”
Effie Trinket: “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
When we were talking about the Hunger Games at work once, a coworker remarked that at least they were trying to do something different. Which is a valid comment. Without knowing that it was done already. Essentially. Based on a novel by Koushun Takami in 1999.
Count the similar elements:
Dystopian future Kids periodically rounded up, dropped on an island, made to fight one another until only one is left.
Supposed to be for military research for the *betterment* of society somehow but is discovered to actually be a means of terrorizing the population to quell discontent and subsequent uprisings.
The evil puppet masters are unveiled, and the oppressive fascism is finally brought to an end.
Hunger Games added its own flair, like the outlandish costumes, expanded characters and reasoning behind the government, whimsical terminology like tracker jacks and jabberjays and, of course, Katniss, but…the main idea had already been born long before.
IT THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE VS. ALIEN
Eric Royce: It has to kill us or starve, and we’ve got to kill it or die.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
I’m sure many people know that Alien has more than a few similarities to It the Terror From Beyond Space.
In an interview from cinemascope.com: When asked why he didn’t go after the producers of Alien, Jerome Bixby told an interviewer that he would then have to admit he was ripping off The Thing.
There’s a whole roster of similarities between what I wrote and the new film. They’re both about a small group of people trapped aboard a spacecraft with an inimical creature out to get them and which, in fact, knocks them off one by one. No problem there; that’s a pretty general plot outline. In both stories the creatures use the ship’s air ducts. In both stories they are held off with gas and electricity. And at the end of both stories, they’re dispatched by suffocation, by evacuating the creatures from the ship and depriving them of air.
He goes on to say, “In all honesty, my story was also derivative. Essentially what I did was take Howard Hawks’ The Thing and play it aboard a spaceship. But I didn’t copy the storyline; I used the film ‒ a masterpiece in the genre ‒ as inspiration for my story. The Hawks film has long been a model for SF writers.
THE TEMPEST VS. FORBIDDEN PLANET
Prospero: We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
Commander John Adams: We’re all part monsters in our subconscious, so we have laws and religion!
I guess movie aficionados already are aware of this, but I was fairly shocked to learn that Forbidden Planet apparently was based on The Tempest by Shakespeare. I would never suspect a filmmaker of going that far back to plumb the depths of literary riches in order to echo, borrow, or be heavily influenced…*wink*. But according to an article on stackexchange.com, this evidence was presented to us:
It’s my understanding that Morbius, the scientist in Forbidden Planet who is alone save for his daughter, is a reflection of Prospero, the anti-hero of Shakespeare’s play who is likewise living alone on an island with his daughter. Both Morbius and Prospero seek to control the elements, and thus the world around them, through ‘magic’ – in Morbius’ case, an advanced alien technology.
In both versions of the story a group of young men (sailors swept in by the tempest of the title, a space crew on a routine mission) enter this supposed utopia, only to cause upheaval and eventual destruction when the leader of said groups falls in love with Morbius/Prospero’s daughter. One other factor that surely reveals the origins of Forbidden Planet’s storyline is the inclusion in both versions of a cook for comic relief, this character being a drunken buffoon in both versions.
I love it! A nice take on a super-old classic. Thank you Fred Wilcox. Thank you, Shakespeare!
KRULL VS. LEGEND
Princess Lyssa: Power is fleeting; love is eternal.
Jon Anderson: Holy lightning strikes all that’s evil/ teaching us to love for goodness sake
Lastly, I just saw Krull again for the first time in probably 20 years. The funny thing about this comparison is Krull and Legend are contemporaries of one another, instead of 20 years or more between them. Krull came out in 1983 with Legend closely following in 1985. And although Krull was definitely modeled in the tradition of Star Wars, aiming for that “In a galaxy far away” feeling, the early Tom Cruise of Legend did not harken back, in my mind at least, to Luke Skywalker the way Colwyn of Krull did.
In both stories, evil has descended upon the land, which is not Earth. Both young men undertake a perilous journey to save their beloved from the clutches of darkness. Both travel with a band of merry and/or raucous and/or obnoxious men/thieves/otherworldly beings, the difference being that in Krull hardly anyone survives, but I believe almost everyone makes it to the end in Legend.
The most interesting thing about Krull were the fantastic sets and set pieces. They were extravagant and impressive to the point where they almost didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story which was mostly tongue in cheek and rough around the edges. Legend appears to follow directly in Krull’s wake since it was built entirely on a sound stage and the sets are expansive and fantastic.
So Krull has the Beast screwing things up for everyone and Legend has the Lord of Darkness taking over, and while the fight between good and evil is universal and the basis of almost any story on earth, the most similar aspects between the films (besides the quest to save the young innocent) appeared in other small and subtle ways: a special ensemble set aside for the captured girl to wear; a shot of her running down a hallway in slow motion with her filmy clothes trailing behind her.
Krull was a lot of fun and visually impressive in its art direction. But nothing will ever compare, for me, to Tim Curry as Darkness saying things like,
“Oh, Mother Night! Fold your dark arms about me. Protect me in your black embrace. I sit alone, an impotent exile, whilst this form, this presence, returns to torment me!”
His anguish and angst was so palpable and over-the-top, delivered in a powerful bass undertone, it was like eating a delicious ice cream cone while simultaneously running for your life. A weird nexus of sensation.
I’m so happy for all the stories: original, borrowed from, done over, bent, reformed, or otherwise. And especially the ones that were heavily influenced by someone or something else.