Wednesday, June 18, 2014

3 Movies About The Same Thing - Is Cinema Totally Derivative?

I watched a blu-ray of "Hitman Unrated (2007)," a film very much like "Dark Angel (2000-2001)," a TV series very much like "Soldier (1998), a movie very much about genetically engineered super-soldiers, a concept also explored in other visual media, including "The X-Files (1993-2002)."

Hitman, an awesome movie starring Timothy Olyphant in all his pre-"Justified" glory, not only ripped off the concept of genetically engineered killers a la Dark Angel, which arguably could be accused of ripping off SOLDIER with Kurt Russell, the footage from Dark Angel was used at the beginning of Hitman, including the shot of Jessica Alba's character's "younger self." The film's producers also decided to insert a shot of a boy we can assume is the younger self of Hitman's titular anti-hero, "47," among the scenes from the stolen Dark Angel intro footage.

Let's keep remembering that there are only a few ideas explored in movies, most of which are derived from others, considered original many, many years ago at the outset of cinema. In other words, everything we see today is ripped or combined with ideas and concepts already done before.

In fact, sometimes movies and their knockoffs come out at around the same time. Case in point, the release of "The Abyss," "Leviathan," and "Deep Star Six" around the same period (late 80's), all about strange shit under the sea, The Abyss being Cameron's work, arguably superior to the other two "deep sea" flicks.

Some folks will say, "Earth To Echo," coming out this summer, is a rip-off of "E.T. (1982)", and while they could be right, the same is true for most films today.

The key is to enjoy the movie as the purpose for making movies is to move people. Movies are an escape from while still entrenched in, some semblance of reality as a point of reference for the viewer.

As someone who's archived thousands of films, I realize original ideas are hard to come by, and the industry goes with what resonates with the almighty ticket buyer. If that means another derivative "popcorn" picture, so be it. Movies that take us to fantastic places are always as memorable as those which challenge the mind and move the soul. As screenwriters, producers and directors know very well, a movie not only has to move, it has to move the viewer.

Hitman did that for me, as did Dark Angel and Soldier, all basically dealing with the same subject.

Be Cool, Be Nobody's Fool, and Don't Dismiss The Bliss.