Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Time for Similarity Showdown!...

Competition has always been big in Hollywood. But then it seemed that at least two movies would be released near the same time that almost seemed identical. And it just kept going and going and going. So we're going to take a look back at some of the most popular twin film competitions and discuss who the winners were in each fight. Let's get ready to rumble!

ROUND 1:

Volcano VS. Dante's Peak

LOSER
LOSER
Ever Since Twister was released, natural disaster movies began rising in popularity and have yet to fully calm down again. The next disaster films released after Twister were Volcano and Dante's Peak. Sadly, both are marked as "Losers" because neither one really exploded for the audience. Volcano sported big names like Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, and Don Cheadle. Dante's Peak had Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton. The special effects were intriguing, but both movies lacked in everything else. If you were to ask someone if they remember either of these movies, they may remember that there was a movie about volcanoes, but not much else. Sadly, these movies will float into the world of film limbo and eventually be forgotten while other movies rise to classic status.

ROUND 2:

Deep Impact VS. Armageddon

LOSER
WINNER
When these two films were released, there was a huge battle between the fans. You were either a Deep Impact fan, or you were the enemy Armageddon fans. Both movies did fairly well in the box office and both have lived on quite prosperously. I believe that Armageddon is marked as the winner mainly because it conquered Deep Impact with it's awesome soundtrack and its hit-Aerosmith-song, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." But I also think that Armageddon won out because the story was less about destroying the earth and more about preventing it. While it can be fascinating to watch Earth's monuments explode from asteroids and deadly floods, the story of a group of men traveling into space to destroy a meteor before it destroys earth makes for a stronger and more unique story. Both films were led by some very impressive actors and both had dazzling special effects. But in the end, bigger patriotism and rock n' roll will rule the day.

ROUND 3:

Antz VS. A Bug's Life

LOSER
WINNER
Antz was DreamWorks' first computer-generated film and the beginning of a rough hit-or-miss course for their animation department. A Bug's Life was Pixar's second computer-generated feature film and probably one of the least popular for them. Either way, A Bug's Life squashed Antz big time. While Antz was comprised of a fairly large celebrity cast, it suffered from poor storytelling, foul language, and cheesy animation. A Bug's Life on the other hand had likable characters, very impressive animation, and a great adaptation of "The Ant and the Grasshopper" fable. Pixar still trumps DreamWorks in computer-animated films, but their quality is improving. DreamWorks has now begun to stand on it's own two feet with original ideas, but Antz was the first of many identical-movie-competitions that they had with Pixar/Disney. Keep reading.

ROUND 4:

Mission to Mars VS. Red Planet

LOSER
LOSER
Ah, Mars, the perfect planet for havoc and chaos. Mission to Mars was a terrible movie. The action was ridiculously unbelievable and the whole movie just seemed tossed together into a random mess. Plus, the ending of the film was stupid; it just ended suddenly without any real closure and left you saying, "Wait. What just happened?" The film earns a "Loser" spot for that. Red Planet on the other hand was more intriguing and very much like a modern 2001: A Space Odyssey mixed with Lost in Space. The problem was that it did very poorly, never taking off in the box office, and pretty much stayed grounded after that. I liked Red Planet a lot more than Mission to Mars, but both films lacked the ability to shift our interest from our own planet.

ROUND 5:

Finding Nemo VS. Shark Tale

WINNER
LOSER
Let the battle between DreamWorks and Pixar continue... well, let DreamWorks vainly attempt to supersede Pixar by doing similar themed movies. Finding Nemo is considered one of Pixar's best films and certainly earns that spot. The film has excellent voice acting, a powerful and engrossing story, amazing animation, wonderful character development, well-timed humor, etc., etc., etc.. Finding Nemo is an awesome movie. Shark Tale came out a little over a year later and went belly-up because of Nemo's popularity. The film never recovered and rests in a watery grave of forgotten DreamWorks' films. It's too bad really. I always hoped that Will Smith's first real voice-acting film would be a fun one. Oh well, I guess I'll just go watch Finding Nemo again.

ROUND 6:

Madagascar VS. The Wild

WINNER
LOSER
Now this was where DreamWorks finally beat out Disney (not Pixar). I don't particularly like Madagascar, but it was much better than The Wild. Madagascar was a love/hate film. You either adored it, or you completely despised it. I despise it, but it was popular enough to spawn small spin-off videos and a sequel. It didn't help that it had Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and David Schwimmer - all of whom I find really annoying. But many people were pleased with it and I hear a lot more people liked the sequel. The Wild arrived about six months after Madagascar and it was liking having bad déjà vu. The story was too similar to it's predecessor and attempted to replicate The Lion King's father-son relationship, but failed miserably. William Shatner was not helpful to the film in any way. The graphics for Wild were quite impressive, but certainly not enough to save the movie. I doubt anybody really even remembers it. Anyone? Anyone?

ROUND 7:

Happy Feet VS. Surf's Up

LOSER
WINNER
Now, many people may not agree with me in this round, but you'll still have to hear me out anyway. Happy Feet may have won the Oscar for Best Animated Film and had a pretty good soundtrack, but Surf's Up was definitely the better movie, in my opinion. Happy Feet was overrated and the last half-hour "Save the Penguins" PA was terrible to endure. Robin Williams was hilarious and Hugh Jackman's Elvis impression was fun, but the film's end was both unnecessary and non-fitting. It was like they got to a point in the script and didn't know how to end it, so they just wrote an evasive ending and called it good. I hated that! Happy Feet gets a "Loser" stamp for that. Then there was Surf's Up. Surf's Up was a very different penguin movie with a different overall style, a killer soundtrack, some powerhouse voice-acting, and a satisfying ending. The film was passed up because most people were tired of penguins when it was released, but it is still a great film that should not be missed.

ROUND 8:

The Illusionist VS. The Prestige

LOSER
WINNER
I will begin by saying that both films were fairly good films. The Prestige gets the "Winner" mark because The Illusionist just can't compare with the quality and overall impact that Prestige carried with it. If you are going to see both films, watch Illusionist before Prestige so that you won't be disappointed. The twists and turns and climax of The Prestige crush anything the Illusionist conjures up. Both films contain incredible actors and great storytelling. The Prestige is a much darker film than Illusionist, but you certainly can't argue the results.


I know that there are probably a lot more twin-films out there and I would love to hear what they are. So leave a comment with more films and I'll add them to this post.

P.S. - The images in this post are copyrighted by DreamWorks Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, Yari Film Group Releasing, Freestyle Releasing, Buena Vista Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Village Roadshow Entertainment, and Columbia Pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Nice reviews. Interesting subject. Sparked a quick search on google. Not all of these really hit what you are going for, but there are a few you could review.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:ProhibitOnions/List_of_films_with_similar_themes_and_release_dates

    ReplyDelete