5 Examples of Unintentional Remakes
There is no originality anymore. We know this. It’s just a fact of life. If history can repeat itself, a bunch of corporate fat cats that make millions off of other people’s stories sure as hell ain’t gonna hesitate to make the same story twice.
In any case, the following are examples of how often times, movies come full circle in unexpected remakes that aren’t actually meant as remakes. Similarities are one thing, but being able to do a Mad Libs with the stories and characters settles it.
1. Point Break becomes The Fast and the Furious
We’ve been over this. If you listen to the podcast, if you’ve read whatever random article, or if you’ve just watched both movies, you’re aware of this. A young, good-looking undercover cop is sent to infiltrate a group of young, good-looking adrenaline junkies that may or may not be well-armed thieves as well.
Of course the edge would be lost if the beautiful man-cop didn’t also get involved with the sweet little lady of the group and become something of a protege to the ringleader. Is the cop still a cop or has he crossed over? This is a growing suspicion among the officer’s older, lamer peers. And while the cop insists he isn’t one of the gang and he’s just doing his job, there’s a part of him that heavily drawn toward the fast-paced lifestyle and the rush that comes with it.
And ultimately, the rush is what it’s all about rather than the stolen goods that the gang procures. After the climax of a heist gone wrong, the cop, after the relationship with the gang has gone sour, catches up with the ringleader and while he could easily have his man, chooses to let the criminal go; having had too much of a connection with them to simply jail the free bird.
The cop then chooses…to not be a cop. Which movie am I describing? You see my point.
2. Lilo & Stitch becomes How to Train Your Dragon
The child protagonist doesn’t fit in. In a world that values basic gifts and seems to endlessly punish the awkward and puny, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for the kid.
That is until a strange creature appears and changes everything. While it’s easy to say, “You could say that about any kid’s movie. What about ET? Same thing.” Eh. Not really. While the relationship in ET is similar, the story is more about ET wanting to get back home and missing his family. This dramatically changes the nature and themes of said films.
In the two compared movies, the creature doesn’t fit in with their respective kin as they are highly dangerous and the only one of their kind. Stitch is a science lab freak and essentially has no family save for the alien bullies that want to capture him and effectively kill him. Toothless, as the dragon is named in HTTYD, has a damaged tail and can’t fly properly due to this. What good is a dragon if it can’t fly? It’s not. It’s not going to survive at all.
Both featured damaged kids with their damaged creature of myth that has to be hidden from the world at large. All of them are looking for a place to belong and find it with each other after going through the thick and thin with each other, the ins and outs.
After dealing with the bigger, badder versions of the same race as the foreign creature, the rest of the human characters begin to accept the creature(s) as well, thus making for a happy ending where, in short, everybody gets along.
By the by, Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon were both directed by the writing/directing team of Chris Sanders and Deblois. Compare Stitch and Toothless. Different sizes, colors and species, but paws, claws, head and teeth all retain a similar look.
3. Alien VS Predator becomes Prometheus
When the last piece to an ancient puzzle is found, an old billionaire funds a trip to find whatever secret the ancient relic holds. The markings found in the research that has been done points to a highly evolved civilization that mysteriously disappeared with no clue and lead to no particular culture known to man.
The head archeologist requested to head the team made up of every occupation needed for this expedition…and then some. Once the team arrives, it turns out that research wasn’t the only thing the benefactor of the team had in mind because weapons are brought along and secret intentions are revealed to be using the expedition as a cover to something a little less honorable.
Regardless of their intentions, the aliens that inhabit the ancient lands are soon discovered and all hell breaks loose until only the strong female protagonist is left alive.
What’s funny about this is that the director of Prometheus and the original Alien, Ridley Scott was asked about directing AVP but turned it down. Coincidence? Probably not but Ridley does what Ridley wants since anybody that remembers 2006’s A Good Year will testify that it’s Under the Tuscan Sun but with Russell Crowe instead of Diane Lane.
Either way, they both took from Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.
4. Enter the Dragon becomes Mortal Kombat
If the director of AVP, Paul W.S. Anderson were to complain though, he’d be calling the kettle black (as the dated saying goes) because his 1995 video game adapted movie Mortal Kombat seems to be directly inspired by Bruce Lee’s martial arts classic from 1973, Enter the Dragon.
A martial arts master gets an invitation to a contest held an island by the man that killed his sibling. Oh no he did not. The protagonist with fists of vengeance (or fury, whatever) accepts this invitation and though he is a solitary man, he makes friends with two other competitors, all the while hoping to gain access to the man holding the competition and bring him down.
And what would a secret agent be without his insider woman? Is she a friend or foe? It’s unclear at first but after a test or two, this seductive woman proves her alliance. She provides information on the antagonist that helps the hero immensely and may be a romantic interest but both characters are too mysterious and isolated for their own good.
After the antagonist’s muscle, an impossible-to-beat thug, kills the good guys’ black friend, the wise-cracking friend must face him. Bolo in ETD, Goro in Mortal Kombat. They may be ruthless and seemingly impervious, but they’re not unbeatable. Side note, the guy playing Bolo’s real name actually is Bolo.
Of course the films come down to an epic fight between the protagonist and antagonist. After the antagonist uses dirty tricks to try and succeed as most antagonists will, the good guy still overcomes and wins the tournament by having the enemy impaled on his own weapon. Han, the villain of Dragon, is powerfully kicked onto his own spear. Shao Khan of Mortal Kombat is bicycle kicked onto his own floor daggers.
5. Team America becomes GI JOE: The Rise of Cobra
This comes off like more of a joke, doesn’t it? Well, it is and it isn’t. Similar to the GI JOE movie itself. A top secret, elite team of US agents are trained and dispatched all over the world to fight any terroristic threats deemed too tough for the regular ol’ military to handle.
I mean, the movies even have scenes of this ultra-hip crew hanging out in their sweet lounge. At one point, France is the stage that’s been set for a massive action sequence to take place where most of the city is destroyed. After the smoke is literally clearing, Joe of Team America, tells the French civilians “Bonjour everyone! Don’t worry- everything is bon! We stopped the terrorist!”
After the Eiffel Tower is also destroyed in GI JOE and even falls over in a similar manner, villain Baroness tells “hero” Duke: Congratulations, Duke. You saved Paris.
…when he clearly just helped destroy it.
Team America was released in 2004 and GI JOE in 2009.
And though this has nothing to do with remakes and rip-offs, it’s just funny to note that the end credits’ music originally had a piece composed by Alan Silvestri, the composer behind Predator and Forrest Gump’s soundtracks but was replaced by the Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow.