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Old 12-12-2018, 01:44 PM
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Ghosts of Sort-of Adaptations

There are some movies that look as if they started out being an adaptation of something, but partway through they either realized that they couldn't do a straight-up adaptation because it wasn't cinematic enough or good enough or they couldn't get permission, or something.

I'm not talking about things like Nosferatu, where they didn't even TRY to get Stoker's widow's permission before essentially stealing the plot from Dracula (or the case of the 1958 film The Brain Eaters, which basically ripped off Heinlein's The Puppet Masters), or cases of accidental similarity. When I first saw the ads for Honey, I Blew up the Kid I immediately thought of kit Reed's short story "Attack of the Giant Baby", which appeared in a collection with a very similar cover image. The Disney film was a sequel that was a variation of their Honey, I shrunk the Kids, and sort logically followed from it. I don't think they drew from Reed's story (although I understand they came to a financial settlement). Novertheless, if this thread lives, we'll undot=btedly get suggestions of both sorts.

No, I'm thinking of something like event Horizon, whose history indicates it was to be a "haunted house in space" thing, but which includes scenes of a burning man that make me wonder if it was influenced by, or at some time was supposed to be an adaption of Alfred Bester's The Stars my Destination(AKA Tyger, Tyger.


The Wachowski's very odd and much-maligned Jupiter Ascending features a young person who 'owns the Earth", a space-spanning civilization, a drug that reverses the effects of aging, and a panoply of animal-people who seem to be regarded as less than human. Boy, that sounds like Cordwainer Smith's Norstrilia. Could they have been trying to adapt that, then radically changed the script?

Nothing on Wikipedia or elsewhere suggests that these were in the minds of the filmmakers. But I have to wonder.

What about the wonderful but underappreciated the Hidden. doesn't it look as if it owes more than a little to Hal Clement's Needle?

Panic in Year Zero doesn't really fit. the older editions of reference works say that it resembles Jay Simms' stories "Lot" and "Lot's Daughter", but evidently Simms co-wrote the film, so that's not surprising.

Any others?
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:06 PM
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It's really hard to tell sometime. People claim the plot of Avatar is a ripoff of Ferngully. I can kind of see it but is it deliberate or accidental?
I personally feel Lion King is a ripoff of Kimba the White Lion. But another poster pointed out how both movies are a ripoff of Bambi and all three movies can trace their origins back to Hamlet.
I saw some cartoon which reminded me a bit of Frozen, but there weren't any references to the movie, so maybe sometimes a plot about a guy with ice powers is just a plot.
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Old 12-12-2018, 04:16 PM
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David Gerrold claims he didn't realize the similarities between his creatures and the Martian flat-cats in Heinlein's The Rolling Stones until after he wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles." Both works might be traced back to Ellis Parker Butler's short story "Pigs Is Pigs" (1905).
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Old 12-12-2018, 04:26 PM
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It's really hard to tell sometime. People claim the plot of Avatar is a ripoff of Ferngully. I can kind of see it but is it deliberate or accidental?
I personally feel Lion King is a ripoff of Kimba the White Lion. But another poster pointed out how both movies are a ripoff of Bambi and all three movies can trace their origins back to Hamlet.
I saw some cartoon which reminded me a bit of Frozen, but there weren't any references to the movie, so maybe sometimes a plot about a guy with ice powers is just a plot.
Yeah. People point out the similarities between Avatar and other "white-guy-goes-native" films like Dances with Wolves and the like, but it sure as heck seems much closer to Ferngully to me, too. I can't believe Cameron wasn't aware of this. I think he just didn't care, thinking his majestic and impressive CGI universe wouldn't seriously be compared to a 2D kid's animated movie. It IS impressive and majestic, but its similarity to Ferngully hits me in the face, and is probably why I don't like the film more.

Lion King feels so similar to Kimba the White Lion that it hurts. There have been web pages pointing out the similarities (right down to the name), and the creator of Kimba was himself convinced that the Disney folks were doing an homage, but they've denied it. I don't see the similarity to Bambi, really. But the plot of Lion King is lifted no only from Hamlet, which a lot of people have pointed out, but also to Henry IV -- if Timon and Pumbaa aren't Prince Hal's companions, what the hell are they? As far as I can recall, no one's mentioned this. Again, though, I find it impossible to believe that the animation geeks at Disney were unaware of the close parallels to Kimba.

I don't know what cartoon you're likening to Frozen, but it's based on the fairy tale the Snow Queen, so it wouldn't surprise me if someone else used that as the basis for a film.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:12 PM
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No, I'm thinking of something like event Horizon, whose history indicates it was to be a "haunted house in space" thing, but which includes scenes of a burning man that make me wonder if it was influenced by, or at some time was supposed to be an adaption of Alfred Bester's The Stars my Destination(AKA Tyger, Tyger.
There's a popular fan theory that's been floating around for years that Event Horizon is a sort of prequel to the Warhammer 40K universe. As in Event Horizon, for you to travel faster than light you need to take shortcut through a hell dimension. The design of the ships is also Gothic inspired in both.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:50 PM
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Idiocracy is clearly influenced by Cyril M. Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" and "The Little Black Bag." The explanation of how the society came about is pretty much lifted from Kornbluth.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:58 PM
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If you watch the early films of Jean Rollin (French filmmaker who did a lot of lesbian vampire films), you will see a number of memes that would later show up in Anne Rice novels, and the films thereof.

David Peoples co-wrote the script for Blade Runner, and wrote the script for Soldier. He considers the two films to take place in the same universe.

The plot of Hrafninn flýgur (UK title When the Raven Flies, US title Revenge of the Barbarians) bears more than a passing resemblance to Yojimbo or A Fistful of Dollars.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:03 AM
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As I've remarked before, although Paul Verhoeven's film Total Recall is nominally base on the Philip K. Dick story we Can Remember it For You Wholesale, they actually exhaust the material from that short story in the first 15-20 minutes*. To fill the rest of the time, they have a cobbled-together story of Quaid's actual adventures on Mars. Only it appears to me that it's not so much cobbled together as lifted outright from Robert Sheckley's 1960s novel The Status Civilization --- the guy with a memory wipe on an alien planet 9inhabited only by Earth colonists), the mutants who can probe your mind and find what's behind the block, the hero who actually is responsible for himself being there, and is his own worst enemy, the constant chasing and gunfighting. Oh, and they arguably lifted the ending -- the Atmosphere Plant that makes breathable air for Mars, that the hero gets to just in time -- from the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs' john Carter novels.

Sheckley has to be one of the most ripped-off writers there is. His story The Prize of Peril has the same plot as Stephen King's The Running Man , except that Sheckley's story appeared decades earlier (and was even filmed for German TV). When Sheckley first saw The Running Man he reportedly had really long phone call with Harlan Ellison trying to figure out what he ought to do. (You could write a whiole book about where Stephen King gets his ideas. He certainly seems to come up with most of them on his own, and he always puts his own spin on them, but I very frequently have a "Hey! I've seen/read that before!" reaction to many of his works.)


reality Chuck wrote:

Quote:
Idiocracy is clearly influenced by Cyril M. Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" and "The Little Black Bag." The explanation of how the society came about is pretty much lifted from Kornbluth.
I had the same reaction, and would like to point out that Ed Neumeier and Michael MIner acknowledged their debt to the Kornbluth story "Marching Morons" by including its catchphrase -- "Would you buy that for a quarter?" into the film in a slightly changed form -- "I'd buy that for a dollar!"

Inflation.



*They also changed the hero from a Woody Allen-ish nebbish to the bulked-up Schwartzenegger, for which I can't blame them. They also changed his name from "Quayle" to "Quaid" because of our esteemed Veep at the time. I find it amusing that, when the film was pretty pointlessly remade years later they retained the name "Quaid"
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:11 AM
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It's not an adaptation of a previously existing work, but rather a supposed incident. It encapsulates exactly the kind of thing I'm shooting for in this thread.

The Kelly-Hopkinsville UFO Encounter involved a prolonged "siege" of a rural farmhouse by what they claimed were UFO occupants. Steven Spielberg had read about it and thought it would make for a good movie. He had several people working on it, including screenwriter and sometime director john Sayles, but Spielberg eventually turned away from a close adaptation to develop a completely original UFO encounter movie that in the end became E.T. -- The Extra-terrestrial.

Sayles himself decided to make, as a result of working with the material, his own extraterrestrial movie, Brother from Another Planet.

According to some, the movie Critters was also inspired by the incident.

You thus have at least three movies that started out as adaptations of the same incident, but which turned away from direct reporting or close adaptation of the supposed facts, decided rather to use a completely revamped story in the interests of a tighter movie-type story and a more satisfying narrative.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly%...ille_encounter
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:49 AM
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I had the same reaction, and would like to point out that Ed Neumeier and Michael MIner acknowledged their debt to the Kornbluth story "Marching Morons" by including its catchphrase -- "Would you buy that for a quarter?" into the film in a slightly changed form -- "I'd buy that for a dollar!"




While that phrase is used four times in Robocop, it appears zero times in Idiocracy.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:27 AM
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While that phrase is used four times in Robocop, it appears zero times in Idiocracy.
I didn't say it was. Mike Judge and Etan Cohen wrote Idiocracy, not Neumeier and Miner.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:37 AM
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I'm not talking about things like Nosferatu, where they didn't even TRY to get Stoker's widow's permission before essentially stealing the plot from Dracula (or the case of the 1958 film The Brain Eaters, which basically ripped off Heinlein's The Puppet Masters), or cases of accidental similarity.
One where they DID, in fact, try: The Mysterious Doctor Satan.

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The serial first began as a screenplay for Republic's never-produced Superman serial, which was cancelled after various problems arose with securing the rights to the famous and popular comic book character ... Mysterious Doctor Satan was originally planned as a Superman serial for Republic, but the license National Comics provided to the Fleischer Studios to make their Superman cartoon series was exclusive and therefore prevented other film companies from using the character at the time, even in a non-animated production. The script was subsequently reworked with a new character standing in for Superman.
What makes that one especially worth mention is that they rewrote it to feature a hero who doesn’t actually have any powers. Is the damsel in distress still a reporter named Lois? Of course. Does our hero, an orphan raised by a civic-minded nice guy, catch up to a speeding train and survive a point-blank gunshot in his secret identity: pretending to be hurt, before switching into costume? Well, sure; after all, the evil genius is still up to no good with that killer robot.

Even if you’re not looking for it, it’s hard to miss; but subtracting the powers from that story gives it a touch of “hey, wait; am I sure this is just a knockoff?”

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Old 12-13-2018, 11:41 AM
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One where they DID, in fact, try: The Mysterious Doctor Satan.



What makes that one especially worth mention is that they rewrote it to feature a hero who doesn’t actually have any powers. Is the damsel in distress still a reporter named Lois? Of course. Does our hero, an orphan raised by a civic-minded nice guy, catch up to a speeding train and survive a point-blank gunshot in his secret identity: pretending to be hurt, before switching into costume? Well, sure; after all, the evil genius is still up to no good with that killer robot.

Even if you’re not looking for it, it’s hard to miss; but subtracting the powers from that story gives it a touch of “hey, wait; am I sure this is just a knockoff?”
Interesting -- I'd heard of Doctor Satan, but never seen it, and was completely unaware of its history.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:43 AM
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In 1939, A.E. van Vogt published a story named "Discord in Scarlet". In it an alien is recovered from deep space and is brought aboard the ship. The alien becomes obsessed with reproducing and tries to implant parasitic eggs in their stomachs. The alien is eventually tricked by the crew into leaving the ship. The writers of the 1979 film Alien swear they never read the story, but Vogt sued them anyway. The case was settled out of court; the details of which were never disclosed.

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Old 12-13-2018, 11:54 AM
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Since you brought up Van Vogt, I'd mention his novel Empire of the Atom which was just Robert Graves's I, Claudius set in space.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:54 AM
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In 1992, a movie called Doctor Mordrid was released produced by Charles Band and had Jeffrey Combs playing the title role. Band had purchased the right to Marvel Comic's Doctor Strange, but the rights ran out before Band could start production on the movie. So Band rewrote the script with original characters and made Doctor Mordrid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Mordrid

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Old 12-13-2018, 11:56 AM
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Since you brought up Van Vogt, I'd mention his novel Empire of the Atom which was just Robert Graves's I, Claudius set in space.
Speaking of that, I believe The Forbidden Planet was just Shakespeare's The Tempest set in space.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:56 AM
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One where they DID, in fact, try: The Mysterious Doctor Satan.



What makes that one especially worth mention is that they rewrote it to feature a hero who doesn’t actually have any powers. Is the damsel in distress still a reporter named Lois? Of course. Does our hero, an orphan raised by a civic-minded nice guy, catch up to a speeding train and survive a point-blank gunshot in his secret identity: pretending to be hurt, before switching into costume? Well, sure; after all, the evil genius is still up to no good with that killer robot.

Even if you’re not looking for it, it’s hard to miss; but subtracting the powers from that story gives it a touch of “hey, wait; am I sure this is just a knockoff?”
I've always wondered if they threw in a little bit of unofficial Batman adapting as well. Our hero's name is Bob Wayne, he adopts a masked identity based on a scary animal (The Copperhead, in this case), and the event that spurs him into being a crime-fighter is the murder of his guardian/father figure by Dr. Satan.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:04 PM
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Strange Brew has slap-you-in-the-face obvious Hamlet parallels and presumably puts Bob & Doug in the Rosencrantz & Guildenstern roles but then feels like no one actually owned a copy of the play and they were half-remembering it from high school. Whether that's a mark of them not really caring or figuring that a full retelling didn't work or what, I don't know.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:29 PM
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Let's dive into the horror realm: many years ago, Dean Koontz wrote an aptly-titled horror/thriller novel called Intensity. In it, the lead female character accompanies a friend to her home for a holiday from school. That night, a psychopath breaks into the house and murders the entire family, but the lead character manages to hide, since she wasn't a regular part of the family and wasn't expected to be there. She sneaks down to the psycho's vehicle and hides inside as he kidnaps her friend and hauls her away. More follows, including craziness at a gas station, until the gripping conclusion. The book was made into a TV movie in 1997.

In 2003, a French movie called High Tension was released. In it, the lead female character accompanies a friend to her home for a holiday from school. That night, a psychopath breaks into the house and murders the entire family, but the lead character manages to hide, since she wasn't a regular part of the family and wasn't expected to be there. She sneaks down to the psycho's vehicle and hides inside as YES THIS IS EXACTLY THE SAME STORY UP TO THIS POINT. And there are more similarities, including the gas station deal, later on.

The Intensity - High Tension situation is seriously one of the most direct plot-lifts I've ever seen. People at the time were calling for Koontz to sue, since he wasn't consulted or given story credit or anything. The French writer-director, Alexandre Aja (who went on to do stuff like The Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors), said of the astounding coincidence: "Huh." For some baffling reason, Koontz didn't bother with what seemed to be a slam-dunk lawsuit.

One detail I remember from both stories: the lead female, hurrying to hide her presence, realizes that she'd washed her hands in the guest room sink, and she quickly dries it out and hangs the towel up, touching the towel to stop it from moving. In both stories.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:30 PM
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I didn't say it was. Mike Judge and Etan Cohen wrote Idiocracy, not Neumeier and Miner.

Well you certainly didn't mention Robocop.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:39 PM
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How about Taxi Driver, which I've read some accounts that claim it is an updated version of the John Wayne movie the Searchers?

Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schraeder were both big fans of the western, and the central idea (a man is obsessed with "rescuing" a younger woman from what he believes to be a savage society, only she isn't at all interested in being rescued) is the same. There are also little touches that may be slight homages to the earlier movie, such as DeNiro's character Travis Bickle wearing cowboy boots throughout the movie.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:29 PM
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In 1939, A.E. van Vogt published a story named "Discord in Scarlet". In it an alien is recovered from deep space and is brought aboard the ship. The alien becomes obsessed with reproducing and tries to implant parasitic eggs in their stomachs. The alien is eventually tricked by the crew into leaving the ship. The writers of the 1979 film Alien swear they never read the story, but Vogt sued them anyway. The case was settled out of court; the details of which were never disclosed.
We're getting into that realm of Stealing rather than sort-of adaptation, but I have things to say about this case, so I will.

Van Vogt's first published story was Black Destroyer, and is the first case I know of about a Monster Loose on a Starship. That alone makes it a candidate for an ancestor to Alien. Discord in Scarlet, which also featured a monster aboard a starship, was one or two stories later. Van Vogt eventually put the two, tofgether with other short stories of his, together I a single coherent novel (something he called a "Fix-up". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction took the term and used it as standard. Lots of writers did, and continue to do, this sort of thing), entitled the Voyage of the Space Beagle

In the 1950s SF writer Jerome Bixby scripted one of the better 1950s science fiction movies, It! The Terror from Beyond Space. It featured a monster loose on a space ship, but otherwise didn't closely resemble van Vogt's work. I highly recommend it. Another sf movie from around the same time was Roger Corman's cheapie, Night of the Blood Beast, which featured an intelligent space beast that comes to earth on a terran space probe. The titular beast implants its young into an astronaut, where they're found by X-ray. It's the first case of this trope in a movie that I know of. I don't know if Corman's writer got the idea from Van Vogt or from analogy with earth insects like the Ichneuman Fly.

In 1979 the movie Alien came out. I think it owes a LOT more to Boxby's script than it does to Van Vogt. The plot is pretty similar, with the alien creature getting on board (in a different way), then prowling through the ventilation ducts as it takes out the crew one by one, leaving them alive in some cases. In Bixby's case, its motive is the water each crewman has in his body. In Alien it never is clear (although in a deleted scene Ripley finds Captain Dallas stuck up in alien goop with embryos inside him). At the end, the creature is killed when they open the airlock (although in It! it's from lack of oxygen, not being blasted into space). There are some scenes in Alien that seem lifted from the 1960s film Planet of Vampires, but the only other film is that idea of implanted embryos, which I suspect came from Night of the Blood Beast, rather than from Van Vogt. Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon strikes me as a guy who'd get his ideas more from previous movies than from books (despite him naming the ship "Nostromo" or, in one discarded version "Snark". Them's literary references) In any event, the other major influences are movies, so I'd credit this one to the movies, as well.

I think Bixby had a better case against Ridley Scott than Van Vogt did, and someone on this Board said he had been counseled to sue, as well, but he never did.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:31 PM
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Well you certainly didn't mention Robocop.
Sorry -- my oversight. I meant to.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:33 PM
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Speaking of that, I believe The Forbidden Planet was just Shakespeare's The Tempest set in space.
While it certainly derives the basic plot from The Tempest (and was sold that way when they pitched the film), I can't help observing that the motivations of the characters are all almost completely different. To my mind, Forbidden Planet definitely isn't just "The Tempest in Space" (The way the film Outland definitely IS "High Noon in Space")
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:01 PM
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I'll come at it from the opposite side. When the movie Juno (2007) came out, a segment of the Asian-o-phile internet went nuts accusing screenwriter Diablo Cody from stealing her screenplay from the Korean film Jenny, Juno, which was released in early 2005. There are some similarities. Teen pregnancy; family disapproval; and the types of things that come from that. I'm sure the accusers have a more point-by-point spreadsheet of suspicious similarities. The IMDb nixed its comments section, but they were filled with folks calling Cody a thief, and worse.

I've seen Jenny, Juno. In fact, I watched it in April 2007, about 6 months before I watched Juno. It never occurred to me that the latter was a rip-off of the former. As someone who considers himself an aficionado of Asian films and one of the biggest fans of Korean movies you'll ever meet (over 800 watched), if I thought there was anything to the accusations, I'd be on board.

But its a bullshit accusation. I don't even think it was an instance of watching something and subconsciously incorporating elements into your "original" work. I totally believe Cody when she claims she was completely unaware of the earlier film. Sure, there are a lot of similarities. How can you have a "young teen pregnancy movie" that doesn't cover similar ground as other "young teen pregnancy movies"? (Plus, in the Korean film, Juno was the boy.)

For what it's worth, Juno was a much better film. Much.
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:14 PM
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Th
No, I'm thinking of something like event Horizon, whose history indicates it was to be a "haunted house in space" thing, but which includes scenes of a burning man that make me wonder if it was influenced by, or at some time was supposed to be an adaption of Alfred Bester's The Stars my Destination(AKA Tyger, Tyger.
Of course, "The Stars My Destination" bears more than a few suspicious similarities to "The Count of Monte Cristo."
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:27 PM
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One where they DID, in fact, try: The Mysterious Doctor Satan.



What makes that one especially worth mention is that they rewrote it to feature a hero who doesn’t actually have any powers. Is the damsel in distress still a reporter named Lois? Of course. Does our hero, an orphan raised by a civic-minded nice guy, catch up to a speeding train and survive a point-blank gunshot in his secret identity: pretending to be hurt, before switching into costume? Well, sure; after all, the evil genius is still up to no good with that killer robot.

Even if you’re not looking for it, it’s hard to miss; but subtracting the powers from that story gives it a touch of “hey, wait; am I sure this is just a knockoff?”
Another one was The Adventures of Captain Africa.
Quote:
from Wiki:

It was conceived and filmed as a sequel to The Phantom (starring Tom Tyler).[1][2] Well into production, Columbia found that its film rights to the comic strip had expired. King Features wanted more money than Katzman was willing to spend and negotiations broke down.[3]

Hurried retakes and major re-editing followed, with John Hart now wearing an amended costume that only used part of the original Phantom outfit, with the addition of a leather aviator's cap and riding britches.[3]

The new story featured a new hero, Captain Africa, who still bears a strong resemblance to The Phantom in both appearance and behavior.
  #29  
Old 12-13-2018, 03:20 PM
xizor xizor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorvann View Post
Speaking of that, I believe The Forbidden Planet was just Shakespeare's The Tempest set in space.
And following this trend, Zathura is just Jumanji set in space
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