ONE THEME TOO MANY
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- Published 25.07.13
Olympus Has Fallen (2012) & White House Down (2012)
Earlier this year, Gerard Butler became the saviour of the White House during a terrorist takeover. The Antoine Fuqua film also starring Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart packed in enough chills and thrills to qualify as a paisa vasool one-time watch. However, the danger lurking over the White House didn’t abate with that film. Last Friday, Independence Day maker Roland Emmerich unleashed his White House Down, a twin tale of Olympus Has Fallen with Channing Tatum taking over from Butler. Their common mission? Operation rescuing White House!
The Truman Show (1998) & EdTV (1999)
The daily life of a man captured on camera 24/7 — both The Truman Show and EdTV were plotted on the same lines. However, it is The Truman Show — starring Jim Carrey — that elicits far more recall. Both the films released at a time when voyeuristic reality TV was grabbing eyeballs. The one major point of difference between the two films? Carrey’s Truman Burbank wasn’t aware that his life was on camera, while Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) was a party to it.
Big (1988) & Vice Versa (1988)
What would you do if you found yourself trapped in someone else’s body?
In Big, Tom Hanks played 12-year-old John Baskin who wakes up one morning to find that he has grown into an adult overnight and was everyone’s favourite childhood watch. A few months before Big came Vice Versa, the story of a father and son swapping bodies. Similarly-themed films around the same time included Like Father Like Son (1987), 18 Again! (1988) and the Italian film Da grande (1987). Big remains the biggest box-office earner and the most memorable of the lot.
Deep Impact (1998) & Armageddon (1998)
The end of the world has always been a favourite fix for Holly filmmakers. In 1998, both Deep Impact and Armageddon bombarded the audience with the same premise — saving the world from a deadly meteor/ comet hurtling towards it. While Bruce Willis frontlined Armageddon and had a strong supporting cast in Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton and Liv Tyler, Deep Impact rode on the shoulders of Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall and Tea Leoni. Armageddon became the biggest hit of that year, but Deep Impact, with its relatively lower collections, was described as being more scientifically accurate.
Antz (1998) & A Bug’s Life (1998)
Who thought ants would make for so much fun on screen? Animation giants Pixar and DreamWorks gave us similar films in the same year, with A Bug’s Life arriving two months before Antz. If Antz was about a neurotic ant looking to break away from his colony, A Bug’s Life dealt with the claustrophobic existence of an ant who tries to get together a team to fight a horde of greedy grasshoppers. Both Antz and A Bug’s Life were box-office winners and had big names like Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Danny Glover, Sharon Stone and Jennifer Lopez lending their voices to the characters.
Capote (2005) & Infamous (2006)
The life and times of celebrated writer Truman Capote came alive in the eponymously titled 2005 film Capote and then Infamous, that hit screens a few months later. Philip Seymour Hoffman may have walked away with the Best Oscar statuette for Capote, but even Toby Jones — who played Capote in Infamous — was singled out for praise. The premise was the same — intrigued by a 300-word article about a family that was brutally gunned down in a US town, Capote travels there to write on it. While Capote had the advantage of an earlier release, Infamous had the better cast in Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Daniel Craig and Sigourney Weaver.
Seal Team Six (2012) & Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Before Zero Dark Thirty, there was Seal Team Six. The Kathryn Bigelow film about the painstaking search for and subsequent annihilation of Osama bin Laden may have been lauded for its gritty theme and treatment, but even the TV movie with the same premise stood out for its hard-hitting portrayal of the biggest manhunt in history. But while Zero Dark Thirty was told from the point of view of CIA analyst Maya Lambert, Seal Team Six was primarily an account of the team of Navy Seals entrusted with the job of taking out Osama.
Mirror Mirror (2012) & Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
The fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was brought alive on screen last year in two films, separated by just two months. While Mirror Mirror had Julia Roberts as the evil queen, the role belonged to Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman. While both films chronicled the Snow White story as we know it, Snow White and the Huntsman scored by casting Kristen Stewart as Snow White. Both films received Oscar nominations — two for Snow White and the Huntsman and one for Mirror Mirror.
Dante’s Peak (1997) & Volcano (1997)
Hollywood has made close to 20 films on volcanic eruptions, but two of the most famous films on the subject released in the same year. Pierce Brosnan’s Dante’s Peak — about a dormant volcano in a quaint US town erupting without warning — arrived in February, while Volcano — starring Tommy Lee Jones and chronicling a volcanic eruption in downtown Los Angeles — released in April. Both films were popcorn entertainment and made for edge-of-the-seat viewing. Dante’s Peak was the bigger financial success while Volcano found greater favour with critics.
Agni sakshi (1996) & Daraar (1996)
Julia Roberts’s Sleeping with the Enemy — a thriller about a woman escaping from her abusive husband and starting a new life — had three Bolly remakes, with the Jackie-Shroff-Manisha Koirala-Nana Patekar starrer Agni Sakshi and Daraar, with Rishi Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Arbaaz Khan, arriving within months of each other. Agni Sakshi was the bigger hit. The third film in the pack — Rishi and Madhuri Dixit’s Yaraana — had released and flopped a year earlier.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) & 23rd March 1931: Shaheed (2002)
The trials and tribulations of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh were brought alive on screen in two 2002 films. While Ajay Devgn shone in the title role in The Legend of Bhagat Singh — even winning a National Award for his portrayal in the Rajkumar Santoshi film — Bobby Deol was a misfit in 23rd March 1931: Shaheed, directed by Guddu Dhanoa.