'The Hunger Games' & 'Divergent', Plus More Films With Strikingly Similar Plots
Lately it seems like every time I flip on the TV or watch a new movie trailer on YouTube (and that thing called the theatre that I sometimes go to still), I have an instant feeling of déjà vu. I swear I have seen so many similar apocalyptic movies lately that I think the world is actually ending. In fact, it’s not just movies about the world ending, but many movies being produced from the same genre are also taking on comparable plotlines. Below is a list of movies with all the spoilers you could possibly imagine, which are insanely and undoubtedly alike.
The Hunger Games vs. Divergent
When I first read the synopsis for Divergent, I was almost positive I had just read the summary for Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. I know you Shailene Woodley fans are going to get all up on me on the Twitterverse, but come on. Even the cover illustration was similar to the fiery mockingjay symbol we’ve all seen before. In Veronica Roth’s book, which is an upcoming movie starring Woodley, Kate Winslet, Theo James, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller among others, the city is divided into five different factions. What an intriguing coincidence considering there are 12 districts that surround the Capitol in Collins’ work. Oh yeah, there’s also the fact that both Katniss of The Hunger Games and Beatrice Prior, also known as Tris of Divergent, were born into dystopian societies. OoOoo spooky. Seriously though, this could also be The Hunger Games vs. Divergent vs. The Giver.
Since I know someone is bound to challenge me, I have recognized that the factions are split so as to reflect specific characteristics of an individual’s personality. Rather than having their name drawn from a giant fish bowl by an Effie Trinkett-esque woman, each person instead takes a test, which will tell them what faction they’re in. The factions are as follows: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave), Erudite (knowledgeable).
So while this is a slight difference, I still have to be that person and point out the fact that the 12 districts of The Hunger Games actually do vary by wealth and what they produce, indeed shaping how each of the contestants perform. For instance, District 4 specialized in fishing, so it’s no wonder that Finnick Odair of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was always carrying a fishing spear. And of course, as all parallel movies go, there’s a heroine in both who happen to stand out from the others in a way that the antagonist of the story feels they must be silenced to prevent rebellion. In this case, Tris becomes “divergent” because she fits into three different factions, which is something that she can be killed for if discovered. On the other hand, Katniss simply acts out more than any other tributes have in the past, causing an uprising.
White House Down vs. Olympus Has Fallen
I find it humorous that so many of these movies actually premiere during the same year. It’s like a big joke that those in the movie industry are playing on the audience just to mess with our heads. So here’s the thing. I am a HUGE Morgan Freeman and Gerard Butler fan, so I have to admit that Olympus Has Fallen already won me over from the beginning (plus it came out first), but two movies about the White House being taken over by terrorists seems slightly unnecessary. We could have at least spaced them out a bit. Pretty sure there’s just some political statement going on here beneath the surface.
Friends With Benefits vs. No Strings Attached
I’m not sure what’s worse… the fact that the exact same movie came out or that they were released within such close proximity to one another. It’s also eerie that both Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis had just been in Black Swan together before these films made it to the big screen. Both were based on a man and a woman who happened to meet (Portman and Ashton Kutcher when they were children, and Kunis and Justin Timberlake in New York City) and refuse to date. The couples make it a point that they don’t want anything complicated in their lives (I can throw out a high five for that) and engage in relations that are strictly sexual. Several sex scenes result, making us stuff our face with popcorn out of embarrassment or take on pointless conversation with the person next to you to avoid awkwardness, and eventually both couples can’t help themselves and fall in love. Awwww.
Flightplan vs. Non-Stop
Guys, I can’t. Was it truly necessary to make yet another airplane movie? I mean I’m already afraid of turbulence as it is. Yet it looks like Liam Neeson is going to experience some tough competition with Jodie Foster having starred in Flight Plan, aka the exact same movie. Foster stars as Kyle Pratt, a U.S. aircraft engineer, who has in fact helped design the plane she is flying on with her daughter. It isn’t until she wakes up from a mid-air nap that she realizes her daughter is missing, causing her to become erratic as any mama bear would, only to have the air marshal and plane crew tell her that she’s taken a little too many cuckoo pills and is merely upset that both her husband and daughter died in a recent roof accident. Obvi we know Foster wouldn’t make that kind of thing up and because that would be a far from thrilling movie.
So if you enjoyed that movie the first time, as I did, you can sit back, relax and watch it again starring Neeson! Except this time, Neeson is the air marshal on a plane secretly being hijacked by one of the passengers on board and he’s like is it Colonel Mustard in 20A with the crying baby or Professor Plum in the bathroom with a cigarette. Clearly we don’t know because the movie hasn’t been released yet and that would just be horrible PR. However, what has been revealed from the trailer is that Neeson continuously receives anonymous texts, because texting on planes now, from a big jerk who says someone is going to be killed every 20 minutes if (s)he doesn’t see the Benjamins in their bank account. Just like Flightplan, everyone thinks Neeson is crazy and/or the bad guy despite his best attempts at convincing the plane’s crew of an attack. Wait, did I just write about this? Side note: You should still see this because Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery is in it.
Deep Impact vs. Armageddon
Sorry, but my heart will forever be with Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis and Liv Tyler in Armageddon. The entire crew singing Leaving On A Jet Plane made me cry… and the fact that Willis died. I’ll never forgive the writers for that one. But real talk here. A meteor-asteroid-giant space ball that’s going to destroy earth if a few good citizens don’t save the day? Been there, seen that, saw it again.
The Time Traveler’s Wife vs. About Time
Let’s give a big round of applause to Rachel McAdams who starred in The Time Traveler’s Wife twice but with two different men. That must have been confusing for her because it was confusing for me. Really though, wasn’t it possible to at least let McAdams play the time traveler rather than the time traveler’s girlfriend? In both films, a man meets McAdams — although Eric Bana who plays Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife meets her when she’s a little girl and that’s weird — and falls in love. The only difference between these movies is the fact that Henry dies in one movie whereas Tim’s (Domhnall Gleeson) dad (Bill Nighy) dies. BUT, we’re still sad, so it’s really the same anyway.