Dueling movies: A look back

Somehow every few years it seems like two nearly identical movies come out within months of each other. Sometimes these movies are about the same subject matter, and sometimes they are just two adaptations of the same material. Just this summer we got two separate adaptations of the classic tale of Snow White and now we are getting our second movie about Abe Lincoln in a few months (however Spielberg’s version completely skips over his vampire hunting years.)

Whenever these movies come out people will naturally compare them to each other, so the question is which one is better? Let’s look back at a few of them.

Snow White and the Huntsman vs. Mirror Mirror (2012)

Let’s start with the one that’s still fresh in everybody’s minds, the battle of the Snow Whites. Frankly neither of these films is great, or even that good, but one is basically unwatchable. Nothing is worse than an unfunny comedy, and with jokes like “Snow White? Snow way!” that’s exactly what Mirror Mirror is. The performances in Huntsman also make it somewhat memorable; everyone does a pretty good job, even Kristen Stewart outperforms the boring Lily Collins. Charlize Theron’s performance as the evil queen shines brightest of all, especially when compared to the very annoying version played by Julia Roberts.

Armageddon vs. Deep Impact (1998)

A giant space rock is going to hit Earth and to stop it NASA sends a team to blow it up… or in half. Once again neither of these films is a masterpiece, but Armageddon is actually a lot of fun. Deep Impact pretends to be scientifically accurate (it isn’t), and it just comes off as boring. The characters aren’t particularly memorable in Deep Impact, but the ones in Armageddon really stick with you. The plot of Armageddon also seems to follow the right people, the guys on the spaceship, but in Deep Impact they are almost an afterthought.

Antz vs. A Bug’s Life (1999)

Early computer animated films that center on an ant seen as an outcast by the rest of his ant society. These films started off the big rivalry between Pixar and Dreamworks, and just like many of the films that would follow, A Bug’s Life was simply better than the Dreamworks version. Antz is a good Woody Allen film, while A Bug’s Life is (regrettably) one of the most overlooked Pixar films. Even nowadays A Bug’s Life is one of the best animated movies of all time.

Dante’s Peak vs. Volcano (1997)

More dueling disaster movies dueling in the late 90’s, this time we got volcanos threatening to wipe out American cities. One more thing these movies had in common, they tanked at the box office. These forgettable films are both pretty dumb, but at least Dante’s Peak actually seemed to know a thing or two about how volcanos actually work.

Octopussy vs. Never Say Never Again (1983)

The Battle of the Bonds. Back in ’83 we got two Bond movies, one “official” one with Roger Moore, and one that brought back Sean Connery. Both of these look pretty dated now that Skyfall is out, in fact they were probably dated when Goldeneye came out; nevertheless the choice here is an easy one, it’s Never Say Never Again. Octopussy is usually considered one of the worst Bond movies, if not the very worst. All the silliness of the Moore era is at the forefront in this one, including James Bond wearing clown makeup. Meanwhile Never was directed by Irvin Kershner, who was coming off directing Empire Strikes Back.

Observe and Report vs. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)

An out of shape guy tries to be a cop, and fails, and he gets a job as a mall security guard. Other than the obvious these films are pretty different. Paul Blart is your average dumb Happy Madison comedy, while Observe and Report is a twisted dark comedy. Observe and Report isn’t for everyone, while Blart takes the mass appeal route. Observe and Report is the clear winner here.

The Prestige vs. The Illusionist (2006)

The Illusionist is a fine film, I enjoyed it. I know some people, including a magician friend, who prefer it for its realism. However, in the battle of the Victorian era magicians The Prestige comes out on top. The Prestige is one of my favorite movies, the amazing Christopher Nolan film is an absolute masterpiece. Its twist ending is well earned and it’s one of the most rewatchable films I’ve ever seen.

  • Cole

    Is that Independence Day above Armageddon and Deep Impact?

  • https://twitter.com/yuungyeti Yeti Murphy

    nice article! although the picture above the armageddon/deep impact part is definitely from independence day

    • Liam Goodwin

      Doh! Updated.