Top 10: Suspiciously Similar Films

 
 

Even the hotbed of original ideas that is Hollywood repeats itself from time to time. Kevin Murphy picks out some of the more blunt examples.

1. The Truman Show (1998) / EDTV (1999)

Both EDTV and The Truman Show focus on men whose lives are broadcast 24/7 on TV, the two films pre-empting society’s obsession with reality television. One was lauded with awards and critical acclaim, the other stars Matthew McConaughey and is boring.

2. Braveheart / Rob Roy (both 1995)

1995 was the year of epic Scottish movies with soldiers. Braveheart was shot in Ireland with such Irish actors as Brendan Gleeson and Rob Roy stars Irish man Liam Neeson. Apparently Scottish actors don’t look Scottish on film so you have to use the Irish.

3. Babe / Gordy (both 1995)

History is a cruel mistress; such as the fate of the largely forgettable pig adventures of Gordy, who pales in comparison to the highbrow pig adventures of the filmic king that is Babe. Posters for the doomed release claimed “Kids will squeal over Gordy”, which is true if by ‘squeal’ they meant ‘fail to show up to the cinema entirely’.

4. Deep Impact / Armageddon (both 1998)

Lumps of rock hurtling towards Earth was seemingly quite a sexy topic from films in the late nineties. As the old saying goes ‘Always judge a disaster film by it’s soundtrack’, pitting Tom Jones’ version of ‘Fly me to the Moon’ against Aerosmith’s unintelligible passionate death-cry ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’.

5. ParaNorman / Frankenweenie (Both 2012)

It’s rare to get even one stop-motion animation film a year so to have two horror themed animations involving zombies and Halloween is slightly suspect.

6. Antz / A Bug’s Life (both 1998)

Back in the proper rivalry days of Pixar and DreamWorks, the two came out with the bizarrely similar idea of the heroic lives of ants. DreamWorks must have thought they had this one in the bag when they bagged the voice talent of Woody Allen. Of course, they failed to consider that not many eight year olds enjoyed Annie Hall.

7. The Illusionist / The Prestige (both 2006)

‘There aren’t enough films about magicians’ is probably what both of these groups of filmmakers thought at oddly similar moments. Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige comes out on top with its captivating and mysterious story of rivalling magicians.

8. No Strings Attached / Friends With Benefits (both 2011)

Nothing sells cinema tickets quite like attractive people having casual sex, a formula that both these films discovered simultaneously. No Strings Attached went on to win an Oscar for ‘best film Hollywood has or ever will make’.

9. Melancholia (2011)/ Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

Two very different takes on the apocalypse. Melancholia is a serious, sombre investigation while Seeking a Friend stars Steve Carrell and a dog and has throwaway jokes about taking heroin.

10. Avatar (2009) / Dances With Wolves (1990)

No amount of 3D or large blue people can hide the fact that Avatar is just a remake of Dances With Wolves. All of these accusations or unoriginality has no doubt forced James Cameron to wipe away his tears of shame with hundred dollar bills.

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