The Chicken Feed

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Exhibit A:

Seven Samurai and Pokemon The Movie 2000: The Power of One

When I first saw Akira Kurosawa’s quintessential samurai film, I was expecting a masterpiece of cinema; a heart-wrenching epic; something to make me laugh, cry and cheer all at once. What I wasn’t expecting was a shot-for-shot remake of the second animated Pokemon motion picture.

Pokemon The Movie 2000: The Power of One (PTM2kTPoO for short) chronicles an awe-inspiring journey: Ash, Misty and Brock’s quest to restore the balance of nature and defeat the greedy Pokemon collector, Lawrence III. I haven’t seen it, but if I ever did, I’m sure I would agree that this is, indeed, the story.

But good golly, Miss Molly, what have we here? Seven Samurai (originally titled Yojimbo in Japan) is also about a journey!

Granted, there’s very little traveling in Seven Samurai, which is mostly set in a single village. This is all a cunning ruse on Kurosawa’s part, for while PTM2kTPoO featured a physical journey, Seven Samurai’s quest is an emotional one. The magnificent seven strive to win back their confidence, reputations, and the respect of the village. At least I’m pretty sure that’s the plot. I was so disgusted by the cinematic grave-robbing that I walked away after five minutes.

Clearly, the director thought he could hide his stolen story behind metaphors. Better luck next time, eh?

Still not convinced? Feast your weepers on this:

Exhibit B:

West Side Story and Romeo + Juliet

Not content with scrounging existing musical numbers in Moulin Rouge!, Baz Luhrmann resorted to outright robbery with his follow-up, Romeo + Juliet. How he expected to get away with copying the world’s most famous on-screen romance is anyone’s guess, because nobody could even begin to interpret the mind of this madman.

The similarities, I’m sure you’ll agree, are startling.

West Side Story Romeo and Juliet
Two (2) rivalling factions: The Jets and the Sharks Two (2) rivalling factions: The Montagues and the Capulets
Two (2) star-crossed lovers: Tony and Maria Two star-crossed lovers: Leo and Claire
Maria wears a dress. Mercutio wears a dress.
Maria’s brother, Bernardo, kills Tony’s best friend, Riff. Claire’s cousin, Tybalt, kills Leo’s best friend, Mercutio.
Tony murders Bernardo to avenge Riff. Leo kills Tybalt to avenge Mercutio.
Falsely informed that Maria is dead, Tony seeks revenge and gets killed in theprocess. Falsely informed that Claire is dead, Leo kills himself.
All this nasty death business convinces the Sharks and the Jets to set aside their differences. All this nasty death business convinces the Montagues and Capulets to set aside their differences.
Radiohead singer Thom Yorke once did a duet with Björk, whose song “It’s Oh So Quiet” drew upon West Side Story’s musical style. Radiohead contributed two songs to the soundtrack.

The list is damn near endless. In fact, the only real difference is that Luhrmann had the nerve to unceremoniously kill off his carbon-copied heroine at the end – no doubt a last-ditch attempt to pass his work off as something original. If you’re going to steal, Baz m’laddy-o, at least show a little respect for the source material.

Romeo + Juliet has since spun off into a moderately successful stage show.  Susan Sarandon must be rolling in her grave.

Exhibit C:

Star Trek and Star Wars

At a glance, it’s almost impossible to find any common themes between by these two franchises.

Look closer, however, and the geometry speaks for itself:

The shapes never lie. And if that crab can’t win you over, I don’t know what can.

Exhibit D:

Howard The Duck and Titanic

To be fair, Titanic isn’t so much a rip-off of Howard the Duck as an homage; perhaps even an uncredited sequel.

Still doubtful? Then marvel as I establish a direct and conclusive link between the two movies in thirty simple steps!

1. Although he officially disowned the film, George Lucas is still widely regarded as the man responsible for Howard the Duck. However, it was actually directed by William Hyuck.

2. “Hyuck” is a sound made by a Walt Disney character, Goofy.

3. Disney’s company now owns the rights to The Muppet Show.

4. The Swedish Chef is a character on The Muppet Show.

5. The country Sweden is next to Finland.

6. It is a popular urban myth that Donald Duck was banned in Finland because he didn’t wear any pants.

7. “Duck” sounds a bit like “duct”.

8. Duct tape is often associated with fetish subcultures, as are gerbils.

9. Replace the “il” in “gerbil” with “er”, and you get “gerber”.

10. Steve Gerber wrote the original comic strip for that inspired the Howard the Duck movie.

11. Steve Gerber also has a story credit in the video game Howard the Duck: Adventure on Volcano Island.

12. Howard the Duck: Adventure on Volcano Island was published by Activision, Inc.

13. Activision CEO Robert Kotick recently sold $11 million of stock in his company.

14. Stock is a frequent ingredient in many recipes.

15. Eating food is a popular passtime for many people, including popular film director James Cameron.

16. Another man who directs films is Stephen Spielberg, best known for inspiring the film Jaws 2.

17. American sports player Fred Miller has at least one jaw, which he recently broke in a game of football.

18. The movie Remember the Titans is about football.

19. Footballs float in water.

20. Jesus once walked on water!

21. The TV show Seaquest DSV was about a big submarine that traveled under this same watery substance.

22. In one episode of Seaquest DSV, Mark Hammill played a man who turned out to be an alien and in the season two finale the crew got transported to another planet in outer space!

23. Saturn is also in space.

24. Titan is moon orbiting Saturn.

25. This moon was named after the Titans – the ancient Greek deities.

26. The culture of ancient Greece inspiried much of ancient Rome’s.

27. Julius Caesar was a Roman ruler.

28. Caesar courted the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.

29. Cleopatra’s nose was big.

30. The Titanic is big.

Chew on that, sceptics!

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