Avatar, Iron Man 2: The Stories Have Already Been Told but So What!

by on May 17, 2010

in Entertainment

TV and Movie Opinion, without the Static

Over the last few weeks I’ve been looking over critical reviews and biting my tongue.  Of late, I found myself in a conversation about the predictability of Iron Man 2 and how it used a lot of its story line from RoboCop 2.  I’ve also been reading others critical observations about Avatar.  I’ve seen Avatar compared to various other movies or stories.  The one that caught my eye was the side-by-side comparison with Pocahontas.

My only reply to the RoboCop 2 statement was that RoboCop 2 came out in 1990, while the story we saw come to the screen in Iron Man 2 was published in various years, from 1963 to 1992.  Technically, the briefcase armor has been around since 1963.  Whiplash showed up in 1968.  Justin Hammer showed up in 1979 and Tony dealing with the Government, in the story line titled “Armor Wars,” came out in 1988.  Now War Machine came around in 1992.  So there ya go!  But as far as the general movie-goer knows, I get how it could be conceived that Iron Man 2 was taken from RoboCop.

And Avatar being like Pocahontas?  Sure!  If you say so…  and any movie that addresses space flight is just a rewrite of 1902’s A Trip to the Moon!  If I make a movie where I punch someone in the face, what movie will that be like?  Do we go back to the first ever boxing movie?

Iron Man 2 IMAX Poster

Some of the perspectives I get.  My conversation with my associate about RoboCop 2, I understood that he wasn’t a fan of the Iron Man comic franchise, so how could he know?  And I think some people truly make valid points when a movie reminds them of some other movie.  While I was watching Avatar, there was a scene that took me immediately back to Dances With Wolves.

Splice with Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley

Splice with Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley

Or that the upcoming sci-fi movie Splice, reminding me instantly of the classic alien-DNA movie, 1995’s Species.  I can’t help but wonder when Michael Chance’s excellent new indie short film called Project Arbiter comes out, what the critics will pull out of their backsides and start the comparisons of Arbiter to other past movies.

Really?  How Hard Is It To Call Out Movie Duplications

Today movie makers have quite the challenge.  How can any movie be made that isn’t reflective of some past project?  Right now I’m working on a short story and as I’ve made it as unique as possible, I can’t help but see parallels to so many different previous movies I’ve seen.  Who knows how many comics or movies I’ve duplicated that I don’t know about?

If a movie maker calls his project a remake or reimagining, that to some degree eliminates the accusations of what previous movie it was “taken” from.  If a movie maker moves forward with a new movie that tackles a specific genre, it isn’t that hard to call out what movie it is like.  It’s just too easy.

Really, to be honest a movie is what it is, with today’s stars portraying their take on a character.  It’s the story writer’s perspective and how they pull the pieces together.  It’s the director’s vision of how he wants to see the story presented. It’s the film editor’s skills in how it gets cut and put in place.  We’re all fans of different perspectives of the story.  Whether it be the actors, the writer, the director or even the editors.

It’s just too easy to point a finger and wag it at similarities.  The real challenge is pulling out the original content or   All the great stories have already been written and done so dozens of years ago.  Movie makers are scrambling to pull new matters up onto the silver screen.  Toys like Transformers, board games like Battleship, or redoing what’s been done.  It’s inevitable.

Avatar from James Cameron

What James Cameron does is take a subject and shine it up with what’s relevant today in what moviegoers want in a movie.  Despite the fact that Titanic was a historical subject and we knew how it ended, Cameron took a seriously known commodity, put some emotional content into the story and pulled us into it.  With Avatar, he made us worry about Jake’s situation as to when or how his plug would be pulled.  He made us feel what it was like to be the American Indian in the pioneering western days.

That’s the magic of it.  When Cameron can take a known theme & make it emotionally relevant, and then make billions at the box office, that alone makes the poo-poo pandering critics perspectives rather irrelevant.

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