Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Similar Subjects

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. After spending a number of weeks looking at actors who tend to play the same characters, it’s time to spotlight two films with eerily similar plots that came out at roughly the same time. There are surprisingly more examples than might be obvious, and this series will examine the similarities and differences between the two, and how their simultaneous releases affected each other.

Deep Impact / Armageddon

Release dates: May 8, 1998 / July 1, 1998

The similarities: An asteroid/comet is heading towards Earth. Choose your savior: Robert Duvall or Bruce Willis.

The differences: The former film had much more to do with life back on planet Earth in preparation for the arrival of the comet, while the latter focused on the testosterone-heavy mission into space to destroy the damn thing. The respective taglines underline the difference between the tones of the film, both of which merge action and romance. The former’s was “Oceans rise. Cities fall. Hope survives.” The latter had many, the highlights of which were “School’s out...forever,” “Time to Kick Some Asteroid,” and “Take the Ride of Your Life.”

The releases: Both films made a lot of money, and most people didn’t care for either one of them. “Deep Impact” brought in $140 million domestically, while “Armageddon,” which had the benefit of being released right around July 4th, made $202 million, currently ranking as the 121st highest-grossing film of all time. The latter film earned a handful of award nominations, but topped its four technical Oscar mentions with seven Razzie Award nominations, and a win for lead actor Bruce Willis.

Which one is more likely to be remembered? Neither. They’re probably best remembered as a pair because of their similar themes more than anything else. Far better action movies have been made both before and since then. The former probably has less notoriety since its director is an Emmy-winning TV director, whereas the former was helmed by Michael Bay. Enough said.

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