A blog about the road that led us to where we are. And where we are going.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Twin Films: The Definitive List Part #3

V for Vendetta (2006) Vs Children of Men (2006)

Children of MenOk I’ve seen these two crop up a few times as twinned films but I don’t think they’re really twins at all. They’ve made part 3 of the twin films series because of the consensus held by others but I think the similarities between them are vague at best. Ok so both films are set in a dystopian future Britain which also happens to be under a totalitarian government. But that’s surely where the similarities end? Thinking about it, not really – both films also seem to feature a world outside Britain’s borders that has fallen victim to all kinds of pandemonium i.e. wars, plagues, famines, natural disastersVforVendetta (although this is perhaps uncertain is both as government misinformation abounds), both offer a not so subtle commentary on Bush era politics and both offer terrorism as an important theme. Apart from these things the storyline of these two films really isn’t very similar at all. V for Vendetta is about a vigilante directly fighting the totalitarian government and trying to restore democracy whilst in Children of Men politics really takes a back seat to a much more pressing issue – people not being able to have children anymore. In fact given the circumstances surrounding the subject matter of Children of Men, it’s probably even a good thing that there’s a fascist government in place (or any government at all for that matter). The government in Children of Men is depicted as fascist but otherwise relatively benign merely trying to hold together a crumbling civilisation.
IMDB Rating: V for Vendetta 8.2, Children of Men 8.1
Verdict: I think Children of Men is a darker film and prefer it for this reason but both are pretty good so it’s a tie. Similarity Rating 5/10

Short Circuit (1986) Vs Batteries Not Included (1986)

BNIYou know what it has come to when you’re reviewing films like Short Circuit. Ha ha no not really I love Short Circuit, it’s a fantastic film – a fantastic film that Hollywood are currently in the process of butchering remaking I might add. Like the two films I’ve just reviewed I think these two are stretching what qualifies as a twin film. The similarity between these two is that both are family films about some form of mechanical life and a struggle for survival. ShortCircuitThey are again similar in that both try to qualify exactly what life is and come to more or less the same conclusion. That conclusion being that it doesn’t necessarily have to be any kind of biological definition but more one of sentience. Again I’ve only twinned these films because some people think they’re very similar. If these two are twins I would argue that Flight of the Navigator (also 1986) should feature here as that too is about a mechanical life form. Short Circuit was of course about the eponymous Number 5, a military robot struck by lightning and subsequently becoming self aware. Batteries not included was just weird about a bunch of alien flying saucer robots who had babies and one of them didn’t have a battery. Actually what the hell was this film about? I could say that Batteries not included is a much more sentimental film and perhaps even tragic in many ways – especially the Faye / Bobby subplot but none of this was to its detriment. 
IMDB Rating: Short Circuit 6.2, Batteries not included 6.1
Verdict: Short     Circuit is a more upbeat, comical film not necessarily better than Batteries not included but more uplifting. Similarity Rating 6/10

Saving Private Ryan (1998) Vs The Thin Red Line (1998)

redlineBoth World War II epics released in 1998, both war films wanted to concentrate on the mission of onespr man who has been given a fools errand and the ultimate sacrifice and bravery it took to fulfil that errand. The films also concentrate on the bonds formed between men during times of war and the psychological effects the war has upon them. The Thin Red Line is a much slower film, Saving Private Ryan opens on Omaha beach go figure. Saving Private Ryan really set a new standard for war films, that of being uncompromisingly graphic in its portrayal of the battle scenes. The film was gruesome to watch but no one walked out the cinema with the impression that they’d wasted their money. Another winner from Spielberg. 
IMDB Rating: Saving Private Ryan 8.5, The Thin Red Line 7.5
Verdict: Saving Private Ryan is an above par war film. The Thin Red Line is standard fare. Similarity Rating 8/10

Chasing Liberty (2004) and First Daughter (2004)

First DaughterChasing LibertyI haven’t seen either of these and wouldn’t be majorly surprised if I never do. But they are apparently almost identical twin films. Both films involve the 18 year old daughter of the president of the United States rebelling against the over protectiveness of her father. And she ends up falling for a talk dark handsome stranger who in both films is hiding a secret – that of being a secret service agent – so she ends up getting more than she bargained for. Want to know how similar these films really are? The working title of Chasing Liberty was First Daughter.
IMDB Rating: Chasing Liberty 5.8, First Daughter 4.7
Verdict: You expect me to judge? Although most IMDB ratings below 5 mean the film is absolutely terrible. Similarity Rating 9/10

U571 (2000) Vs Enigma (2001)

u571I’m not really sure how similar these films are as I have never seen either. Both would seem to be in some way about breaking the German enigma codesenigma during World War II. U571 from all counts is a spectacular rewriting of history which coming from Hollywood doesn’t surprise me a lot. It’s also directed by Jonathan Mostow, he had a chance to redeem himself for this travesty by making Terminator 3 a decent film. He failed. Enigma is set around the secret base at Bletchley Park where the Enigma code was actually broken and stars Kate Winslet which in itself should automatically make Enigma a better film. I don’t know, at some point in the future I’ll get round to watching both and decide properly how similar they are instead of going by hearsay.
IMDB Rating: U571 6.5, Enigma 6.4
Verdict: Enigma because no rational sane Brit could claim to like U571. Similarity Rating 6/10

Top Gun (1986) Vs Iron Eagle (1986)

IronEagleTopGunTwo fighter pilot movies released in 1986. One was a smash hit starring Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and Kelly McGillis amongst others and had an excellent song from Berlin while the other starred erm… er… some people who are presumably famous for something. I watched Iron Eagle years ago and have forgot the entire film almost save for a few batshit crazy scenes where the fighter pilots shoot down about 50 aircraft on their own. Top Gun was a great film basically about the bravado of fighter pilots and Tom Cruise trying to shag Kelly McGillis.
IMDB Rating: Top Gun 6.6, Iron Eagle 4.9
Verdict: Anyone who believes Iron Eagle is a better film is insane. Similarity Rating 8/10

Vice Versa (1988) Vs Like Father Like Son (1987) Vs Big (1988)

Vice Versalike-father-son-pochette-avantFor Vice Versa and Like Father like son, they are pretty obviously twin films. Both have the near identical premise of some magic force or power causing the consciousness of an uptight father and laid back teenage son to swap places, hilarity ensuing. I remember Vice Versa as being a far superior film, the role could almost have been written for Judge Reinhold because he carried it so well. Like Father like son is essentially the same film except it stars Dudley Moore and a name we should only say with hushed tones – Kirk Cameron who has since gone on to become a cretinous lunatic – more on him in future. I’ve chucked Big into the mix as well because this eighties comedy has a lot of parallels to both. BigOnce again some kind of magic is involved which turns Tom Hanks into an adult overnight and places him in an executive position at a company in which he is woefully out of his depth but somehow manages to save the day. In this way it is very similar to Reinhold in Vice Versa who does more or less the same thing. Both Hanks and Reinhold were excellent choices in the casting for these films because they played the part so well and that is one of the ingredients that made both so watchable. In honesty there has been an avalanche of films from Hollywood that all work on some variant of the body swapping formula but these three are perhaps the most well known with Big and Vice Versa being the best.
IMDB Rating: Vice Versa 5.4, Like Father Like Son 4.7, Big 7.2
Verdict: Big is clearly the better film but Vice Versa is always worth the ride. Similarity Rating 9/10

Braveheart (1995) Vs Rob Roy (1995)

braveheartApparently 1995 was the year where Hollywood directors were given the task of making a period piece about Scotland. Both are about love and honour and both involve the protagonist fighting for the betterment of their people becoming a fugitive in the process. Braveheart in true Hollywood fashion was Rob Royto a large degree historically revisionist and not unsurprisingly features the English as the baddies. Mel Gibson also seems to hate the English so much it borders on paranoia (see the Patriot). Still though even though we’re portrayed as raping, pillaging black and white baddies most English people enjoyed this film and apparently the Irish reserve forces who made up the extras also quite enjoyed making it as a significant number of them were hospitalised enacting mock battle scenes. Rob Roy isn’t as clear cut at all and involves Rob Roy borrowing a substantial sum of money from a wealthy landowner which is then stolen forcing him to become a fugitive.
IMDB Rating: Braveheart 8.4, Rob Roy 6.9
Verdict: Braveheart is better but Rob Roy is still worth a watch. Not really as similar as people seem to think. Similarity Rating 6/10

Tombstone (1993) Vs Wyatt Earp (1994)

220px-Wyatt_earp_ver1tombstoneTwo fictionalised biopics about Wyatt Earp that were released within a year of each other. I have to admit I haven’t seen either as I’m not big on westerns but the premise of both is very similar, both focus on the story of Wyatt Earp, his relationships and friendships especially his friendship with Doc Holliday and both to a degree feature the battle at the O.K. Corral and Earp’s vendetta against the cowboys. From what I hear Tombstone is a decent film whilst Wyatt Earp is unbelievably slow and spends far too much time covering the back-story.
IMDB Rating 7.7, Wyatt Earp 6.4
Verdict: As I understand it Tombstone is much better. Similarity Rating 9/10

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) Vs Observe and Report (2009)

mallcopobserveBoth of these are comedy films about a hapless and perhaps overzealous mall cops who still live with their mothers and who must deal with some kind of criminal threat to the mall. Both protagonists have aspirations of being real police officers and feel they must prove themselves to the women they like and at the end of the film, both predictably turn those women down having won them over. Both films are basically clones of the same formula and neither is particularly brilliant.
IMDB Rating: Mall Cop 5.3, Observe and Report 6.0
Verdict: Tie, Similarity Rating 9/10

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