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I miss you, and I bet this sucks about as much as Pearl Harbor, since at least that only ripped off history.
July 25, 2005 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Stripped for Parts Although the blogging community has had a hunch for some time, director Robert Fiveson has just confirmed that he's considering an injunction against the further distribution of The Island, as it, ahem, very closely mirrors his own film, Parts: The Clonus Horror. Michael Bay's film doesn't credit anyone who worked on Clonus, and press materials tout its "original screenplay". I suppose, though, Bay can always claim that he's being so deliciously meta by doing a clone of a clone picture... [A sideways-update to this post]
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me (45 comments total)

 
The Island very closely mirrors The Clonus Horror. Bay is doing a clone of a clone picture.
posted by eatitlive at 12:06 AM on July 26, 2005


From what I've seen in the trailer, The Island looks very similar to the novel "Spares" by Michael Marshall Smith.
Strangely I seem to remember that the copy I bought of Spares several years ago had "soon to be a major motion picture" on the cover, but the movie never came. I don't think "The Island" is it.
posted by w0mbat at 12:06 AM on July 26, 2005


From the previews, I thought it was going to be a remake of Logan's Run.
posted by loquax at 12:38 AM on July 26, 2005


I suppose, though, Bay can always claim that he's being so deliciously meta by doing a clone of a clone picture

Bay is doing a clone of a clone picture.

Do you even bother to finish reading the post (much less the article!) before posting or is this just some sort of clever redundancy that is completely lost on me?
posted by joe lisboa at 12:42 AM on July 26, 2005


w0mbat if you check out the Marshall Smith forums, you'll see that he feels the same way especially as Dreamworks are the people who optioned his book.
posted by Navek Rednam at 12:49 AM on July 26, 2005


I read a book when I was a kid called Clone Catcher which also had pretty much the same premise.
posted by Tlogmer at 12:59 AM on July 26, 2005


Clone Catcher! I had read that book too, years ago, and was wondering what the name was!

Though this really isn't a "blogging" thing as it is more of a "familiar with Mystery Science Theatre 3000" thing. I mean, I've never even seen that episode, and when I saw the preview for The Island, I was all, "That looks like a remake of Parts:The Clonus Horror."
posted by Snyder at 1:08 AM on July 26, 2005


it was stille a horrible movie, clone or no clone.
posted by trinarian at 1:34 AM on July 26, 2005


I saw The Island tonight, and, while it was definitely Michael Bay' s finest picture (not too difficult, I'll admit), it was also not a particularly novel or clever idea. The premise did appeal to me, in a Philip-k-Dick sort of way, and I do love both of the very pretty stars, but I can't imagine that for the 100 million USD this film prolly cost to make, they couldn't have bought any idea/script they wanted.

Now, if I'd written a script about an albino African American dwarf named Parcheesi who masturbated George W. Bush with his toes during a red telephone conversation with Kim Jong Il, hence somehow precipitating a global nuclear war, and Michael Bay had directed one with an identical storyline, then I might call foul. But a film in which clones are farmed for spare parts is about as original as making another porno not-so-cleverly misnamed after another Hollywood blockbuster.
posted by Chasuk at 1:44 AM on July 26, 2005


But a film in which clones are farmed for spare parts is about as original as making another porno not-so-cleverly misnamed after another Hollywood blockbuster.

Read the first link of the first post:

Reached at his home in Ashburn, Va., "Clonus" director Robert S. Fiveson said Wednesday that he'd sneaked into a preview screening of "The Island" the previous night. "I went in hoping and praying that it was enough different than 'Clonus' so that I could just put my mind at rest and move on, but I can't. Because astonishingly enough, it not only seems to rest on the very skeleton of the film, ... there were enough (similarities) in the movie in the first third that I thought this cannot be happenstance or casual."

...

Fiveson said he'd known about the numerous Web sites and message boards that have been pointing out the similarities — even of some specific shots: "Subplots, characterizations, even down to the butterfly getting through the filter! And the chase scenes were almost in the same order and same locale."

I have immense respect for the this statement:

Although he's been talking with lawyers, Fiveson said he doesn't know what he wants from "The Island" filmmakers or its studio, DreamWorks. "I'm not in this to make money, frankly." However, he said, "I wouldn't mind if this thing went to a jury trial at all."

I'm hoping Dreamworks or Bay try in vain to buy him out.
posted by spacediver at 2:25 AM on July 26, 2005


But a film in which clones are farmed for spare parts is about as original as making another porno not-so-cleverly misnamed after another Hollywood blockbuster.

Read the first link of the first post:

Reached at his home in Ashburn, Va., "Clonus" director Robert S. Fiveson said Wednesday that he'd sneaked into a preview screening of "The Island" the previous night. "I went in hoping and praying that it was enough different than 'Clonus' so that I could just put my mind at rest and move on, but I can't. Because astonishingly enough, it not only seems to rest on the very skeleton of the film, ... there were enough (similarities) in the movie in the first third that I thought this cannot be happenstance or casual."

...

Fiveson said he'd known about the numerous Web sites and message boards that have been pointing out the similarities — even of some specific shots: "Subplots, characterizations, even down to the butterfly getting through the filter! And the chase scenes were almost in the same order and same locale."

I have immense respect for the this statement:

Although he's been talking with lawyers, Fiveson said he doesn't know what he wants from "The Island" filmmakers or its studio, DreamWorks. "I'm not in this to make money, frankly." However, he said, "I wouldn't mind if this thing went to a jury trial at all."

I'm hoping Dreamworks or Bay try in vain to buy him out.
posted by spacediver at 2:25 AM on July 26, 2005


For all of the nancy-dancing these studio guys to 'protect' themselves from the poisoned-fruit of unsolicited manuscripts, the LEAST they could do is a little research on their own. This is gonna cost them. Big.

I've never seen 'Clonus' all the way through, but even I knew this thing was a remake of an inferior film. Actually, it's a remake and rebranding of several inferior films, 'Coma', 'Logan's Run', 'The Matrix' and 'Brave New World' among them. 'The Island's claim to 'fame' is that it takes ideas from several grade movies and successfully redresses the whole mash-up as an 'A' picture. One of the best reviews of the thing I've read is available here (NYTimes).

But again, it's just plain SLOPPY that Speilberg's people didn't do due process with either the 'Clonus' people or the 'Parts' people.
posted by vhsiv at 4:35 AM on July 26, 2005


The way The Island is tanking, it seems people are no more interested in wacky clone hijinks now than they were in 1979. I'm going to go see it, because I'm a big fan of the kicking and the 'sploding. And Scarlett + guns = meow kitty!
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:07 AM on July 26, 2005


From the previews, I thought it was going to be a remake of Logan's Run.

I thought the same thing, loquax. Something about the first half of the earliest trailer seemed suggestive of Logan's Run.
posted by markavatar at 5:19 AM on July 26, 2005


Was it the people running?
posted by biffa at 5:23 AM on July 26, 2005


OK, you've convinced me that the film suks--just tell me one thing: what is Soylent Green?
posted by paddbear at 5:49 AM on July 26, 2005


Soylent Green is made of people! IT'S PEOPLE!

/Heston
posted by unreason at 5:53 AM on July 26, 2005


Michael Bay, the talent behind Armageddon, accused of plagarizing a movie bad enough to be lampooned on MST3K . . . wait, where's the victim in this crime?
posted by ToasT at 6:08 AM on July 26, 2005


Logan's Run is not an inferior film. Philistine.
posted by oddman at 6:13 AM on July 26, 2005


I've been trying to think of other films where (1) the characters are told of and/or are trying to get to some sort of paradise that may or may not actually exist, or (2) the characters are told nothing exists outside their little world but find out something actually does. So far I've got (er, spoiler alert, I guess):

Logan's Run
The Island/Clonus
Dark City
Road Warrior/Thunderdome
THX-1138 (are the characters told the surface is inhabitable?)

There've got to be more, but I'm blanking.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:17 AM on July 26, 2005


..and successfully redresses the whole mash-up as an 'A' picture..

Have you actually seen Armageddon or Bad Boys? Bay may be making 'A' movies when it comes to actor salaries and his budget, but the plots are more half-assed than most 'B' movies.
posted by mikeh at 6:21 AM on July 26, 2005


Actually, I thought that 'The Island' was pretty good, given this summer of 'Hitchhiker', 'Fantastic Four', Jedi Corpse-sequels and Bewitched remakes.

I posted a review of the thing here. It'll be a sad thing if Bay's best movie evar gets kicked to the curb - the META-context alone is scintillating. (Sorry for the lack of images - we had some server problems last night...)
posted by vhsiv at 6:24 AM on July 26, 2005


> Have you actually seen Armageddon or Bad Boys?
posted by mikeh at 9:21 AM EST

Yes, and I thought both of them sucked @ss. 'Plot'? For either one of them? If there was one in either movie, it was a casualty of the Bruckheimer-Bay process...
posted by vhsiv at 6:32 AM on July 26, 2005


There wasn't an original idea in "The Island" except maybe that you can fly a rocket bike through two layers of plate glass window and an entire office floor, and then hang on to a two ton steel and glass logo as it falls eighty stories and you won't so much as break a friggin' nail. That was original.

To say this was Bay's best movie is like saying "Bio-Dome" was Paulie Shore's best performance as an actor.
posted by JWright at 7:29 AM on July 26, 2005


I saw The Island recently and it is essentially Logan's Run meets Blade Runner--more so Logan's Run than anything else. It also manages to grab scenes from every significant scifi and action movie made in the past thirty years.

You know the scene in True Lies where Arnold Shwarzenegger is hanging off a roof being held up by a horse? Well Mr. Bay even copies that except instead of a horse and Arnold you have Ewen McGregor and Scarlett Johansson.
posted by jabberwock at 7:45 AM on July 26, 2005


schoolgirl report:

I think the Matrix movies fall into a similar mould as well...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:53 AM on July 26, 2005


Wouldn't "Clone Wars" have been a better post head?
posted by wfrgms at 8:21 AM on July 26, 2005


> To say this was Bay's best movie is like saying "Bio-Dome" was Paulie Shore's best performance as an actor.

And what if it is? Mr. Shore still doesn't have any Oscars lined-up on his mantelpiece at home...
posted by vhsiv at 8:33 AM on July 26, 2005


Mr. Bay even copies that except instead of a horse and Arnold you have Ewen McGregor and Scarlett Johansson.

...imagines Ms. Johansson wearing only a saddle & bridle, shakes head violently, goes back to work...
posted by alumshubby at 8:40 AM on July 26, 2005


(There is also a recent book by Kazuo Ishiguro called "Never Let Me Go" that deals with cloning.)
posted by cass at 8:43 AM on July 26, 2005


WinnipegDragon: D'oh, total brain lock on that. And on multiple levels, really. The non-existence of reality, and the possible (in the first movie anyway) non-existence of Zion.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:01 AM on July 26, 2005


Lavek - thanks for the tip.
Sounds like DreamWorks optioned "Spares" some years ago, let the option expire, and then made a movie with a very similar plot. Paramount think it is so similar that they have dropped their plans to take over the option and make a movie of Spares.

Saw this quote from Michael Marshall Smith, author of "Spares" elsewhere on the net:

"By co-incidence, I've just had an email from someone who had been a possible producer of SPARES, on this very subject. The novel was - theoretically - under option at Paramount, and I've exchanged emails with my agents about this whole situation frequently over the next couple of weeks. The bottom line is yes, there sure as hell are similarities between THE ISLAND and SPARES. Yes also, it was DreamWorks (the people behind THE ISLAND) who had SPARES under option for a number of years. And yes, the Paramount option has now dematerialised. But do I - without even having seen THE ISLAND's script - fancy litigating against a major Hollywood studio? Not so much.

The similarities may purely be co-incidental: it's very hard to tell, and very, very hard to make a case. It could just be a zeitgeist thing. The one thing that's certain is that THE ISLAND has killed SPARES's chance of being a movie. That's pretty much the way things work in LA, I'm afraid. I can either get cross about it and rant and rave, or chalk it up to experience and choose to regard it as a validation of my decision to focus my attention novels, rather than drown in the glamorous but very, very shallow waters of Hollywood. The book still exists. Film is not the be-all and end-all. And so I shall keep telling myself, as I petulantly kick the fridge."
posted by w0mbat at 9:24 AM on July 26, 2005


Oh please, Hollywood is so insanely derivative, are we even surprised? Is someone gonna sue every other director of a cop flick that features a moral hero against corrupt officials because it resembles a previously written plotline? Yeah right. The whole clone thing has been done ad nauseum - btw, dont forget that one with Ah-nold.
posted by elendil71 at 9:28 AM on July 26, 2005


Typical Hollywood crap. Sigh.

That said, Logan's Run the book is far superior to Logan's Run the film. However, they're working on a Logan's Run film remake as we speak. Hopefully it will be closer to the book than the previous film.

I'll probably go see The Island, as I'm also a fan of the 'sploding and kicking. And Scarlett. I'll probably put back a few drinks first, and I'll sure have a huge bucket o' buttery popcorn. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 10:14 AM on July 26, 2005


One question - Why do the clone manufacturers ever let their clones have anything resembling an upper brainstem? It would keep the costs and security issues way down...
posted by Samizdata at 10:53 AM on July 26, 2005


Hmm, I seriously don't get it. I thought it was one of the better "block-buster" type movies this summer. Better for me than, say, Batman, Fantastic Four, War of the Worlds, Star Wars etc. (and I would say "Star Wars" has nothing in the way of more "originality" when it comes to this derivative complaint anyway; The Island was also sexier and "more fun", the dialogue was better and it was hardly less "intellectual").

Usually I agree with the critics (the "tomometer") but I was entertained and thought it succeeded by the metric of its type of movie. Far more of an insulting movie to me is this new Charlie & the Chocolate Factory movie and its box-office and critical success. I read maybe 30 reviews, and not one critic (outside a few Internet ones) thought the Burton/Depp movie was superfluously made and obviously inferior in vision and performance to the 1970s movie.

That is the real cinematic insult.
posted by dgaicun at 11:59 AM on July 26, 2005


> One question - Why do the clone manufacturers ever let their clones have anything resembling an upper brainstem? It would keep the costs and security issues way down...

It's dumb plot-point, best left forgotten. Just kick back with the popcorn and have another swig of the High-C - it goes down better that way...
posted by vhsiv at 11:59 AM on July 26, 2005


Let's patent the idea of making clones. Let's patent the idea of making movies about a bank of clones for our organ needs. Let's patent the idea of cloning Scarlett.

The movie was OK, but confronted with Bewitched and the like, it seemed like a viable option. Like zoogleplex says, get a few drinks beforehand.
posted by kadmilos at 12:01 PM on July 26, 2005


Can't eat popcorn any more, for medical reasons, but the Hi-C sounds lovely...
posted by Samizdata at 12:02 PM on July 26, 2005


dgaicun: I read maybe 30 reviews, and not one critic (outside a few Internet ones) thought the Burton/Depp movie was superfluously made and obviously inferior in vision and performance to the 1970s movie.

Isn't this a non-sequitor given that Charlie is not a remake of that other movie loosely based on Dahl's book and somewhat maliciously mangled screenplay?

Then again, Charlie stops being an adaptation of the book once it gives up on the whole mystery of who or what Wonka really is. But Charlie creates more than enough rope to hang its self without contrasting it to the equally problematic Wonka. At least Charlie properly identified the protagonist.

In regards to The Island, I think the point is that mashups using motifs that have been used many times before are ok, but unacknowledged plagairism is still a no-no.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:19 PM on July 26, 2005


Samizdata: it explains that in the flick, in one of the wispiest bits of non-science in the whole damn thing.
posted by hototogisu at 12:35 PM on July 26, 2005


Logan's Run. Hopefully it will be closer to the book than the previous film.

Who cares about that. Hopefully it will have much more nudity
posted by tkchrist at 1:06 PM on July 26, 2005


High-C: Because they don't serve Kool-Aid in movie theaters.

I appreciated 'The Island; because it WAS a mash-up, and an ably constructed one at that.

Actual plots are problematic these days, especially for people like Bay (and writer-directors like Brian DePalma, Simon West, Paul W.S. Anderson, David Goyer and Stephen Sommers and performers like Berry, Affleck, Jolie, Pitt and ...) The charm in 'Island' is that it all came together without suture-marks.

Unlike most movies I go to these days, I was engaged a full 85% of fthe time I was in the theater. Whether Bay had intended it or not, I was simultaneously engaged in a game of 'spot the premise' even while I was watching the through-line of the Ewan MacGregor-Scarlett Johansson narrative. There may even be a future for this kind of meta-plotted picture. On the basis of 'Island's box-office receipts so far, no. But I'd be up for the challenge...
posted by vhsiv at 1:15 PM on July 26, 2005


Cass: I just read that! Not a new theme by far, but a decent novel, though conservative, which had its own slightly different characters 'on the set'. But if I had known the whole plot I would not have read it, as the suspense / tension is the main support for the story.
posted by uni verse at 2:34 PM on July 26, 2005


When I first saw the trailer for The Island, I assumed it was a blatant ripoff of Never Let Me go.
posted by bingo at 6:13 PM on July 26, 2005


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