1. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Good and the Bad

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Chinspinner, Feb 11, 2015.

    I was writing in another thread about some YA novels which were turned into films and how there are better (and earlier) versions of what is effectively exactly the same film available. The examples I used were: -
    • Twiglet which is a god-awful version of (Zeffirelli's because it is the best) Romeo and Juliet.
    • The Hunger Games which is an inferior version of Battle Royale.
    • The Maze Runner which is a more chintzy version of Cube.
    The latter two novels in particular must have been directly inspired by the earlier films; the concepts are identical as are many of the details. They are just diluted for mass consumption.

    Which set my mind wondering about any other examples of successful recent novels or films, which are heavily influenced by a superior alternative. Any ideas?
     
  2. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A producer will not take a screenplay unless the pitch is "it's basically [insert popular film here]"
     
  3. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    It seems to me that what you are talking about here is something that Friedrich Nietzsche predicted. The similarities you have noticed are abundant to be sure. But it is an almost too common phenomenon, as the following shows:





    What you are noticing is the degradation of the media which is supposed to be a form of art. Art demeans into market as satisfying the masses becomes the priority. Art is a dying form and we are a part of the lasting spokesman. What you believe to be better is really your artful interpretation which many would defiantly argue. But we know better ;) And Japan is unfortunately even worse off. It's amazing to see them keep the same tropes and still manage to come up with something original.

    [EXPLICIT]


    And if you don’t think it can get worse than it is, then you are in for a surprise, because it will take a miracle to move it in the other direction. Eventually, art will become such a small niche that it will no longer be lucrative to be artful, and then we are in serious trouble. although worse things might happen before we degrade as a society to that point. And the timeframe for all of this is unbeknownst. So who knows how much time we have before art is truly dead. However, I’ll do everything to make sure it doesn’t happen in my lifetime.
     
  4. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you tell me a little more about what Niezche predicted?
     
  5. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Personally I'm inclined to believe Suzanne Collins when she says that Hunger Games wasn't inspired by Battle Royale and that she'd never even heard of it.
    The concept of humans fighting each other to the death for the entertainment of other humans is well known because it happened in real life with the Roman gladiators.
    Kids fighting each other isn't some grand concept invented for Battle Royale either. There's plenty of preceding examples in fiction (such as Lord of Flies) and real life (such as the child soldiers in certain African countries)

    Most fiction draws inspirations from somewhere, but leaping to conclusions as to what the inspirations are, can lead to a severe case of being wrong.
     
  6. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I was surprised to find out about the similarities. I knew Battle Royale, but I didn't make the connection 'cause I didn't really know what the Hunger Games was about. I don't really care if Collins lifted the idea or not 'cause I didn't enjoy her novel and I don't care about the movies. They're probably nicely diluted to fit the YA audience and there's the sufficiently politically correct female heroine, so it's bound to be a money maker, I guess.
     
  7. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wasn't aware that she had denied it; it is more likely that the director of the film (which was competent but distinctly average) was directly inspired by Battle Royale. There are simply too many similarities, and I am not talking about the over-riding idea, I am talking about the details, the individual scenes and shots.
     
  8. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Maze Runner and Cube share people not knowing how they got there and that there is a maze. The similarities end there. The stories are different in every way.
     
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  9. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ok, they wake up in a maze not knowing how they got there. The maze alters its layout on a regular basis. There are traps/ creatures in the maze they must avoid. They need to find their way through the maze. That is the plot in both films. How are they different?????

    All of the character archetypes are the same. There is an antagonist in a power struggle with the MC who want to prevent them escaping the maze and dies in the final scene. There is an early strong leader who is killed off. There is an autistic/ Asian (this is Hollywood, they are the same character) guy who knows how to get them through the maze. There is an every-man trying to pull everyone together. There is one girl thrown amongst men to test group dynamics.

    This is without even getting onto the specific pseudo-philosophical discussions or the specific scenes/ shots that are too similar to be coincidence. Have you watched the same films?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    If I read this thread correctly, one side is saying, 'Yeah, um, this stuff just proves that everything we've ever thought up of has been done before.' and the other side is saying, 'No, there's a difference between that and directly ripping off the other work!'

    If that's the case, then in my mind there should be a fine line between 'woops, my story is basically [insert other work]' and 'oh crap, I basically re-wrote [insert other work]'. If you found out that you basically just re-wrote another work with a different cast of characters and a setting, then it's back to the drawing board.
     
  11. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I guess in e.g. Collins's case no one noticed, not her beta readers (if she uses them) or editors/publisher. Battle Royale isn't that obscure though, so... I don't know, I guess it's possible.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I loved Hunger Games (the books - films 2 and 3 were pretty good. Film 1 sucked) but I've never read Battle Royale - I tried once and stopped after a few pages partly cus it was really dull, introducing a million characters, none of which I cared nor remembered, and partly because Battle Royale being Japanese, I was actually terrified I'd get really freaked out reading it. But I'm curious, what details were there that are similar?

    They say Avatar was basically the sci-fi version of Pocahontas lol.

    Maze Runner was terrible. I read the whole book - the writing was bland and uninspiring, and lacked sufficient detail to ever create anything vivid enough to keep my attention. It's a pity because the premise was interesting enough. The characters were uninteresting and generic. Things were pretty predictable. And seriously, that book was in severe need of editing - the amount of times I'm told Thomas had lost his memories!!!! It's like the author knew there's a plot hole somewhere and knew the reader would notice, so he keeps reminding you of Thomas's amnesia to explain it away. Gah!

    Twilight was equally bland, but less frustrating than Maze Runner.

    But Hunger Games - that one was actually written really, really well. I adored Collins' writing, and I adored Katniss. Frankly I couldn't care less even if it was similar to Battle Royale and even if Battle Royale is supposedly superior - just cus there's something out there that's better doesn't make something else "bad". That'd be like saying because I dunno, 1984 is a classic, that means Lord of the Rings can't possibly be any good because there's another book out there that might be better.
     
  13. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Question. Are Hunger games and battle royals more similar to one another than a
    Brave New World is to 1984?
     
  14. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aldous swept Eric's fringe with his palm. Together they watched cigarette smoke drift past the pillows. Unwashed, the pair had spent the afternoon making love in Aldous' grimy bedsit.

    'You really must shave, Eric darling,' said Aldous.

    'I...I can't find my razorblades,' said Eric, 'and turn off that bloody wireless. It's like the BBC listening to us fuck.'

    'Hush big brother. Come, squeeze me,' said Aldous, his baritone voice so masculine and quite totalitarian.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I believe Collins' said her inspiration was the Labyrinth and the Minotaur.

    You can teach a novel new tricks.
    There are some more very specific correlations in the article. But interestingly, there are also correlations to Spartacus pointed out in the article.
    This was interesting:
    None of this is bad or some sign that the world is falling apart. It's a commentary on how there are certain themes in literature and film that we relate to as humans.

    How many books are about love stories, dystopias, war, coming of age and so on? It doesn't mean we've lost our creativity. If anything it shows how creative we can be despite what we have to work with.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  16. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Oh no. The two are not direct opposites exploring the at-core same theme, they are similar in terms of pretty much everything, even in terms of basic structure.

    I must admit I quite like Hunger Games, as I like Battle Royale. It doesn't matter to me at all they are similar, it wouldn't even matter to me if Collins said she ripped the Japanese guy right off (I forget his name now). There are some things in Hunger Games that annoy me, but I can really dig them all the same. It might also sound rather odd coming from me, because I'm that guy, but I didn't even pick up on the parallel with Theseus and the Minotaur until I read it on Wikipedia. I DID pick up on the fact Panam means 'Bread' in Latin, and it has some rather ... communistic undertones, can I say?

    Actually, that is one way where Battle Royale and Hunger Games differ, one is a loose adaption of an ancient story, while the other is as far as I can tell something rather new not counting that Stephen King novel, Running Man. And changing 'Hardened Criminals' to 'School Children'. But since I've already outed myself as quite the little fan of Hunger Games, and Jennifer Lawrence ... yeah, I'll shut up.
     
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  17. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    art is about taking what you’ve learned from previous works to create something new. I have no problems with this process snd the ‘similarities’ people see in them.

    I’m just pointing out that people’s declining opinion of them is not only relative, but a predictable sign. And not a very good one either.

    I much preferred Enemy, American Hustle, and Side Effects. Oh! Maybe someone can show me the new version of Pulp Fiction. Someone point me in the direction of movies like them. :D
     
  18. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Stop it!
    You're scaring me :(
     
  19. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah, well I was exaggerating a bit, I don't honestly know what will happen. But I just get this unnerving feeling that it isn't anything good. But hey, then again, it could be the best thing that ever happens to our society. Maybe this is as worse as it gets, maybe this lull is the bottom of the barrel, it sure is a comforting thought.
     
  20. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why even waste time watching movies, if you do not care about what makes them different, like, idunno, different actors, different lines, different editing, different cinematography, different score, etc.? Why not just read the plot synopsis if all you care about is the most basic plot?

    Why waste time reading a novel and getting to know the subtleties of its style when you could just read a Sparknotes summary of it?

    Or do you simply want more recommendations along the lines of "If you like The Hunger Games, then Battle Royale would interest you, and you would probably like it better, so you should check it out"? If that is the case, then it should also interest you to know when a ripoff is superior to the original, not only when a ripoff is inferior to the original, because the significance ("If you like _____, then you would also like _____") is exactly the same.

    Also, you can point to pretty much any two works of fiction, and if you think hard enough about them, then you can list off a bunch of similarities between them and claim they are "exactly the same story".
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  21. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, I was bemoaning independent or foreign films getting pulled into the Hollywood machine and becoming diluted and sanitised for mass consumption.

    I could have said, why would anyone ever remake The Ring, or The Italian Job, or Get Carter, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or Psycho and so on.... Or I could have suggested that explosions sell in all languages where as plot subtleties and nuances of character don't. But I chose to go with the former.

    I don't actually have much of a problem with this, because I think in reality it clears space for more unique character and plot driven films, rather than stifling them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
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  22. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah. I am with you there.

    There is at least one excellent Hollywood remake (The Departed) of a foreign film (Infernal Affairs) that I can think of, which definitely does not have the storytelling magic diluted and sanitized out of it. It would be great if more remakes and inspired works were like that.
     
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  23. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that this is a good remake. There are others; (controversially) Dawn of the Dead, True Grit.... erm, I'm running out of them now.

    But paying homage to a work you love is a million miles away from churning out a shit version for profit.
     
  24. matwoolf
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    A righteous, yet fruitless, and circular, arse-sniffing or a timeless moan. For we all know how 'Les Cage Aux Folles' became Mrs Doubtfire, or somfin. 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' became a slumdog. Such a ghastly desecration of Chris Tarrant's quality comedy egc. The bible - Jesus Christ Superstar, at least, the only consolation in this desperate plunge to basement standards.
     
  25. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Man, being a hater is starting to become cool on this forum... Looks like I might have to start changing my stance... go buy a paranormal romance t-shirt or SOMETHING.
     

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