Latest Entertainment News Headlines

C'mon, Hollywood: Stop ripping off the visual style of other films!

Jan. 14, 2014by:

Charles Caleb Colton once wrote, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." When you take a second to think about it, that makes a whole lot of sense, especially in the scrambling world of Hollywood. When a film is released and it has a specific look or style to it, someone is bound to see it and be inspired by it and they'll, in turn, want to use those aspects in their own films. But, what happens if it goes too far? Where is the line between homage and total ripoff drawn and what does it mean for the average filmgoer?

Let's use the recently released THE LEGEND OF HERCULES and 300 as an example. I'm not picking on this movie just because it looks really, really bad, but it's hard to just watch the trailer and not have 300 consistently come to mind. Here we have another epic centered around mythology that uses C.G.I. and action sequences stuffed with slow motion to get its point across. What made 300 so cool and original upon its initial release is all being done to death just in the trailer. However, looking back on it all, THE LEGEND OF HERCULES isn't the first piece of entertainment to have done this.

Movies like IMMORTALS and the television show SPARTACUS have also incorporated the exact same style, visually speaking. When 300 was first released, it felt revolutionary, but the style is as overdone as it can possibly get at the moment. It's eventually come to the point where extreme slow motion incorporated into the action and the overabundance of computer generated blood, effects and landscapes is the norm for sandal and sword epics these days. The subgenera and the effects have eventually become synonymous and what made 300 so stylized back in the day has now almost become a requirement. Worst of all, the sequel, 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, will be released in a few short months. Has the style been so overused that the sequel will seem overdone and cliche? Only time will tell.

Another film that looks a little too much like a hugely successful precursor is the soon to be released I, FRANKENSTEIN. Looking like a massive rip off of the UNDERWORLD series, it's interesting to see that the advertisers are pushing the fact that the new Aaron Eckhart vehicle also comes from the "makers" of UNDERWORLD. This shows that it may not necessarily be the director's fault for a movie sporting way too many similarities to other films. In fact, it looks like the producers and all those others in charge know that if they can continue to release films that are similar to successful ones, they're bound to make a few more bucks than they would've by trying something new and different. It's a different story if a direct sequel is being released with the same visual style (which is actually one of the many reasons I'm so stoked for SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR), but sticking so closely to what made them successful before with an entirely different film is straight up lazy.

Looking back on everything, though, it's good for things to influence other filmmakers. Every film is influential in some way or another and whether people are influenced by David Fincher or Stanley Kubrick or by a comic book or a music video, every filmmaker was influenced and had their creativity molded by something that came before them. That's what makes it art. Sure, there are some people that don't like how dark superhero movies have gotten after films like BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT, but it's something that I love, so maybe people like seeing the 300 style of filmmaking over and over again in other movies. However, when something like THE LEGEND OF HERCULES comes out and is such an inferior product (to 300 and as a film in general) it feels like a slap to the face. Perhaps it's just the fact that that's how films of that type are being made at the moment and instead of trying anything different or new, filmmakers are sticking with what's most likely to put most butts into theater seats, which is more than unfortunate. If there are any silver linings to be had, it's that films like 300 are going to be remembered. Films like THE LEGEND OF HERCULES and I, FRANKENSTEIN will not be.

So, C'mon, Hollywood! Let's give each film a little flavor of its own. Something will always be there to influence artists and if that inspires them to create something new and personal, that's a wonderful thing, but if films continue to look, sound and feel exactly like each other, the multiplexes will be overflowing with indistinguishable crap. We, as an audience, won't be able to differentiate one movie from another and who knows when we'll see another stylized spin on something. Whether it's a certain "slacking off" from the creative team or simply the people in charge of production knowing it'll probably make a few more bucks if it looks like another popular film, this trend needs to stop.

Extra Tidbit: What do you think is the biggest ripoff of late?
Source: JoBlo

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

7:44AM on 01/15/2014

"BRRRRRRUMMMMMMMMMM"

That fucking sound that was in every goddamn trailer a couple of years back. The one that sounded "BRRRRRRRUMMMMMMM" like a fog horn. From transformers to Star Trek and fucking BATTLESHIP and just about every other big "BRRRRRRRRUMMMMMMM" budget film. [link]SHUT THE FUCK UP"
That fucking sound that was in every goddamn trailer a couple of years back. The one that sounded "BRRRRRRRUMMMMMMM" like a fog horn. From transformers to Star Trek and fucking BATTLESHIP and just about every other big "BRRRRRRRRUMMMMMMM" budget film. [link]SHUT THE FUCK UP"
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:14AM on 01/15/2014
Why are so many people angry with this article? I don't think the movies listed above would be better if they weren't complete rip offs but at least they would be interesting if they tried to stand on their own. Immortals was bought up and that director has shown he's capable of doing something unique with the Fall, hate it or love that movie has it's own look. I wish shakey cams and Inception horns would die.
Why are so many people angry with this article? I don't think the movies listed above would be better if they weren't complete rip offs but at least they would be interesting if they tried to stand on their own. Immortals was bought up and that director has shown he's capable of doing something unique with the Fall, hate it or love that movie has it's own look. I wish shakey cams and Inception horns would die.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+4
7:01PM on 01/14/2014
The people responsible in this situation are almost ALWAYS the Producers. Do you think Oz the Great and Powerful would have looked like that if it hadn't been produced by the people who made Alice in Wonderland?
The people responsible in this situation are almost ALWAYS the Producers. Do you think Oz the Great and Powerful would have looked like that if it hadn't been produced by the people who made Alice in Wonderland?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:24PM on 01/14/2014
This could just be an example of a director's trademark style, but some of Elysium's sets, locations, and visual style/effects were too similar looking to the ones used in District 9. Even though they were both directed by the same guy, (and are both enjoyable films) I feel like you could criticize Elysium for feeling too close to District 9 in style.
This could just be an example of a director's trademark style, but some of Elysium's sets, locations, and visual style/effects were too similar looking to the ones used in District 9. Even though they were both directed by the same guy, (and are both enjoyable films) I feel like you could criticize Elysium for feeling too close to District 9 in style.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-11
4:52PM on 01/14/2014

Does anyone understand what an homage is?

I swear, people just look to hate.
I swear, people just look to hate.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:56AM on 01/15/2014
It seems you have no idea what homage is. Homage is a sign of respect. It is not ripping off the entire style of a film wholesale.

Having your band cover a Metallica song is homage. Having your band imitate Metallica as much as possible without getting sued is a ripoff.
It seems you have no idea what homage is. Homage is a sign of respect. It is not ripping off the entire style of a film wholesale.

Having your band cover a Metallica song is homage. Having your band imitate Metallica as much as possible without getting sued is a ripoff.
3:49PM on 01/14/2014
Anything successful is bound to get ripped off because the studios play on that 'wow' factor to keep the financial momentum going whether or not it enhances the action, tension, or hilarity just thrown it in to give something a dumb 13yr old can oggle at to keep them coming back.
Anything successful is bound to get ripped off because the studios play on that 'wow' factor to keep the financial momentum going whether or not it enhances the action, tension, or hilarity just thrown it in to give something a dumb 13yr old can oggle at to keep them coming back.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+10
2:24PM on 01/14/2014

Guys, there's a great difference between an homage and a rip off.

In an homage, you admit you deliberately copied someone's style, and even addig your own flavour to it.
In a ripp-off, you try to get away with the fact that you copied someone else's work but without adding anything more to it. Watering the whole thing.

Homage: Super 8
Rip off: Transmorphers (or any other Asylum film)
In an homage, you admit you deliberately copied someone's style, and even addig your own flavour to it.
In a ripp-off, you try to get away with the fact that you copied someone else's work but without adding anything more to it. Watering the whole thing.

Homage: Super 8
Rip off: Transmorphers (or any other Asylum film)
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+7
2:06PM on 01/14/2014
This truly isn't anything new. My favorite example of this sort of this was when after Seven came out then all of a sudden every serial killer thriller had to have the creepy intro of the killer working on his plans with the cool industrial song (even being a bad rip off of Nine Inch Nails) playing over it.
This truly isn't anything new. My favorite example of this sort of this was when after Seven came out then all of a sudden every serial killer thriller had to have the creepy intro of the killer working on his plans with the cool industrial song (even being a bad rip off of Nine Inch Nails) playing over it.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-10
1:52PM on 01/14/2014
You lost me at Spartacus. Fuck you.
You lost me at Spartacus. Fuck you.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:45PM on 01/14/2014
You lost me at 'fuck you.'
You lost me at 'fuck you.'
11:48PM on 01/14/2014
Spartacus is an awesome TV show! Yeah it did have that 300-like vibe but it used it much better than the movie almost as if to say "this is HOW you do it"
Spartacus is an awesome TV show! Yeah it did have that 300-like vibe but it used it much better than the movie almost as if to say "this is HOW you do it"
-4
1:49PM on 01/14/2014

As of lately. CGI rip off- Man of Steel. Overall film rip off- American Hustle

Someone comment on movies ripping off The Matrix's "bullet time" after the film's success. So true, I believe I saw 8 films within a year after The Matrix's release copying "bullet time" and it was getting ridiculous, even when "Shrek" ripped it off. I will say one of the best rip offs of The Matrix's "bullet time" was the explosion at the opening of "Swordfish", a so-so film.
Lately, while not a CGI rip off, the biggest rip off was "American Hustle", ripping off Tarantino's style of "Jackie
Someone comment on movies ripping off The Matrix's "bullet time" after the film's success. So true, I believe I saw 8 films within a year after The Matrix's release copying "bullet time" and it was getting ridiculous, even when "Shrek" ripped it off. I will say one of the best rip offs of The Matrix's "bullet time" was the explosion at the opening of "Swordfish", a so-so film.
Lately, while not a CGI rip off, the biggest rip off was "American Hustle", ripping off Tarantino's style of "Jackie Brown", P.T. Anderson's "Boogie Nights", Wes Anderson's style of fashion and color, Martin Scorsese's direction and elements used his storytelling, and through in a little "Saturday Night Fever" meets "The Sting". Yup biggest rip off as of late.
CGI rip off as of late? "Man of Steel" with it's Pandora meets Vulcan like world of Krypton. Though it was cool, it was a rip off.
How about 3D rip offs???? The post production conversion of films like "Alice in Wonderland" immediately following "Avatar's" 3D success.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:54PM on 01/14/2014
I remember that cool scene in Swordfish but since Joel Silver produced both of those films it didnt really feel like a rip-off but more of creator trade-mark.
I remember that cool scene in Swordfish but since Joel Silver produced both of those films it didnt really feel like a rip-off but more of creator trade-mark.
3:14PM on 01/15/2014
ActionFan81- Just to clarify, the Swordfish rip off of the visual style of the "bullet time" trade-mark was in my opinion the best use of the visual style after "The Matrix".
ActionFan81- Just to clarify, the Swordfish rip off of the visual style of the "bullet time" trade-mark was in my opinion the best use of the visual style after "The Matrix".
11:31AM on 01/14/2014
Hollywood has gotten homogenized. This is the age of the focus group, if something works even remotely well, you can bet that studio executives will milk every last drop out of a formula or visual style. The 300 look, particularly the "slow then fast motion" ramping effect, wore out its welcome almost immediately as far as I'm concerned. The Legend of Hercules overused it to the point of unwitting self-parody. I highly recommend that movie as a masterpiece of the "So bad it's AWESOME!" sort.
Hollywood has gotten homogenized. This is the age of the focus group, if something works even remotely well, you can bet that studio executives will milk every last drop out of a formula or visual style. The 300 look, particularly the "slow then fast motion" ramping effect, wore out its welcome almost immediately as far as I'm concerned. The Legend of Hercules overused it to the point of unwitting self-parody. I highly recommend that movie as a masterpiece of the "So bad it's AWESOME!" sort. It's like sword and sandals Batman and Robin. Go Redbox that shit.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:54AM on 01/14/2014
I wouldn't say it's a ripping off. It's more like riding the wave of what popular at the time. Case in point: The Matrix. When the first Matrix was released, that slow-mo Neo dodging bullets with 360 degree camera blew everyone away and lots of movie after that tried that trick also. Did it work? No. Because The Matrix was the original that people thought of when they saw those scenes. It depends on directors' vision on how to emphasize such ideas.
I wouldn't say it's a ripping off. It's more like riding the wave of what popular at the time. Case in point: The Matrix. When the first Matrix was released, that slow-mo Neo dodging bullets with 360 degree camera blew everyone away and lots of movie after that tried that trick also. Did it work? No. Because The Matrix was the original that people thought of when they saw those scenes. It depends on directors' vision on how to emphasize such ideas.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:43AM on 01/14/2014
Have we run out of ideas for this column?
Have we run out of ideas for this column?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+5
10:31AM on 01/14/2014

Thank you!

That is all.
That is all.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:18AM on 01/14/2014
We all know that Legend of Hercules and I, Frankenstein are never expected to be a huge blockbuster. Why should it matter to us that they ripoff their style from other movies?
We all know that Legend of Hercules and I, Frankenstein are never expected to be a huge blockbuster. Why should it matter to us that they ripoff their style from other movies?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:59AM on 01/14/2014
So you want cinema to go back to a style that existed before 'Citizen Kane'? No, wait, even those early silent movies were ripping off the visual presentation of stage plays, so...
So you want cinema to go back to a style that existed before 'Citizen Kane'? No, wait, even those early silent movies were ripping off the visual presentation of stage plays, so...
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:37PM on 01/14/2014
Completely agree. Don't know why this is getting so many down votes.
Completely agree. Don't know why this is getting so many down votes.
9:56AM on 01/14/2014
Since inventing a new style of photography is so easy why don't you shut up and do it? Your writing style is also a rip off. Quit agitating people with BS topics.
Since inventing a new style of photography is so easy why don't you shut up and do it? Your writing style is also a rip off. Quit agitating people with BS topics.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:48AM on 01/14/2014
So when Hercules copies 300, it's called "rip off", but when Tarantino copies some movie(s) he likes, it's called "paying homage."
So when Hercules copies 300, it's called "rip off", but when Tarantino copies some movie(s) he likes, it's called "paying homage."
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:14PM on 01/14/2014
There is a great difference between an homáge and a rip off.

In an homáge, you admit you deliberatley copied someone's style, and even addig your falvour to it.
In a ripp off, you try to get a way with the fact that you copied someone else's work but without adding anything more to it.
There is a great difference between an homáge and a rip off.

In an homáge, you admit you deliberatley copied someone's style, and even addig your falvour to it.
In a ripp off, you try to get a way with the fact that you copied someone else's work but without adding anything more to it.
9:21AM on 01/14/2014

Why rip off '300?'

It wasn't all that good.
It wasn't all that good.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:20AM on 01/14/2014
Extra Tidbit. Bourne movies. The Bourne Series is one of my favorite films of all time. The shaky cam and editing style in it's fight sequences (Supremacy & Ultimatum) were perfected because we knew what was going on and editor Christopher Rouse had a great eye for continuity. The DP Oliver Wood's collaboration with the director and editor made those fight sequences feel raw, emotional, and breathtaking. As of late, there are movies out there trying to do the same thing, but their cuts are so
Extra Tidbit. Bourne movies. The Bourne Series is one of my favorite films of all time. The shaky cam and editing style in it's fight sequences (Supremacy & Ultimatum) were perfected because we knew what was going on and editor Christopher Rouse had a great eye for continuity. The DP Oliver Wood's collaboration with the director and editor made those fight sequences feel raw, emotional, and breathtaking. As of late, there are movies out there trying to do the same thing, but their cuts are so over the top that it does nothing to bring you closer to the film. As for Bourne, it also ends very quickly to where you are holding your breath after Bourne has killed his enemy.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:08AM on 01/14/2014
I actually despise the shaky cam from the Bourne movies and what it has led to. I mean look at Elysium I could not see a damn thing in the final fight scene: its best shot the 360 camera movement during the fight was ruined by shaky cam. I wish this camera technique which just die a horrible death.
I actually despise the shaky cam from the Bourne movies and what it has led to. I mean look at Elysium I could not see a damn thing in the final fight scene: its best shot the 360 camera movement during the fight was ruined by shaky cam. I wish this camera technique which just die a horrible death.
1:11PM on 01/14/2014
I absolutely agree with you. The Bourne Trilogy is one of my favorite trilogies ever, and the excellent casting of Matt Damon, the insane car chase sequences, and the shaky-cam fights all helped deliver a certain atmosphere and tone to the movies. I never once felt disoriented or even got a headache from any of the fights...they were exhilarating, intense, and a joy to watch over and over again, mostly because of how they were edited. The problem is with the movies that tried to copy this trend
I absolutely agree with you. The Bourne Trilogy is one of my favorite trilogies ever, and the excellent casting of Matt Damon, the insane car chase sequences, and the shaky-cam fights all helped deliver a certain atmosphere and tone to the movies. I never once felt disoriented or even got a headache from any of the fights...they were exhilarating, intense, and a joy to watch over and over again, mostly because of how they were edited. The problem is with the movies that tried to copy this trend and have no idea how to use it effectively.
+3
9:08AM on 01/14/2014
This has always been happening - you had your A list Stallone and Arnold movies of the 80's...and loads of B efforts trying not only copy the style...but the damn plots. Look what Die Hard set in motion??? Heck, Seagal has been replicating his Z grade movie style in every movie he's done since his demise. I've no issue with this. By the way, Spartacus was awesome and whilst, I went...oh look...300 rip off when I saw the pilot...it's a style that was used fanatically well on the small screen.
This has always been happening - you had your A list Stallone and Arnold movies of the 80's...and loads of B efforts trying not only copy the style...but the damn plots. Look what Die Hard set in motion??? Heck, Seagal has been replicating his Z grade movie style in every movie he's done since his demise. I've no issue with this. By the way, Spartacus was awesome and whilst, I went...oh look...300 rip off when I saw the pilot...it's a style that was used fanatically well on the small screen.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:23AM on 01/14/2014
I agree with you on Spartacus. As the seasons continued, their style eventually went its own way, and therefore isolating it from reminder of the style.
I agree with you on Spartacus. As the seasons continued, their style eventually went its own way, and therefore isolating it from reminder of the style.
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!