Deja View

01 Jul
Charlton Heston - Secret of the Lost Incas

If this looks familiar, it’s no accident. ‘Secret of the Incas’ 1954

If you have been a movie fan for several years and have watched some older films, you may have noticed a new film is very much like another you have seen before.

Sometimes movies are a remake of another film without necessarily giving credit for the source.

Indiana Jones is one of those films which borrowed heavily from “The Secret of the Incas” starring Charlton Heston. Secret of the Incas is a 1954 film revolving around adventurer Harry Steele (Heston), on the trail of an ancient Incan artifact.

Movie clip from The Secret of the Incas

The newly released ‘42‘ depicts the historic Jackie Robinson’s rise into major-league baseball however, the original Jackie Robinson story, had Jackie Robinson in it with real game footage. It’s difficult to top reality with a modern interpretation but there are always advances in film-craft as well as having some distance in time to reflect on the remarkable break through his character required to rise through racism in professional athletics.

Full Movie: The Jackie Robinson Story 1950

Avatar was a film depicting a white soldier who finds himself reinvented by embracing a native (Navi), way of life. Dances With Wolves depicted a white soldier finding himself in support of (Native-Americans). The computer generated characters in Avatar were more vividly colorful and technologically compelling to a modern audience.

Dances With Wolves – Wolf Scene (deleted footage)

There are of course many more movie remakes than these examples.

It’s quite understandable repetition exists since there are supposedly just 36 different plot lines.

It has been explained there are actually only 7 distinctive type of plots.

In The Seven Basic Plot Points: Why We Tell Stories, lists the plot types as

  •  Overcoming the Monster
  •  the Quest
  •  the Voyage and Return
  •  Rags to Riches
  •  the Rebirth
  •  Comedy
  •  Tragedy

The last two subjects appear more genres than plots. A comedy however, might also fit into one of the other five types and is often marked by a standard array of miscues and misadventures.

A tragedy has a narrow focus; the protagonist tempts fate, and fate responds.

It’s quite possible to defy expectations by avoiding clichés, but once you give it a name, you are likely to define the type of story you’re telling.


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One response to “Deja View

  1. Chris Barfoot

    01/07/2013 at 23:42

    Your knowledge and acumen is astounding. I read the blogs and never cease to be impressed.

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