Have you ever been talking with a friend and they mention this movie you absolutely have to see? Then you go and look it up and it has absolutely nothing in common with the film your friend described? Well, take heart — your friend isn’t insane (at least, not in this case). Even beyond mockbusters (films developed to trick well-intentioned relatives into buying you inferior films), much of the cinematic world is guilty of inadvertently choosing similar titles. Here is a quick glimpse of my favorite examples.
* (The) Deep Blue Sea: One is a tragic relationship story with Tom Hiddleston and Rachel Weisz. The other is a film about genetically enhanced sharks that terrorize an underwater science lab. Try not to get them confused, especially as the one with the sharks also features two of Hiddleston’s “Avengers” cohorts. As I haven’t seen the serious one yet, I can’t give an honest opinion about whether genetically enhanced sharks would make it better.
* Life Is Beautiful: There are two Indian films with this title, but I’ll concentrate a bit more on the more recent 2012 release, which is a coming-of-age story about six teenagers in a working-middle-class neighborhood. Their generally positive experiences are a bit of a contrast to the 1997 “Life Is Beautiful”, which featured Roberto Benigni and a horde of Nazis. That “Life Is Beautiful” was one of those delightful, extremely moving films which I can’t watch again. (A topic for another time, kids.)
* Taken: The first is a 1999 film with Dabney Coleman trying to convince his kidnappers not to kill him when the ransom’s not paid. The other is the 2008 film with Liam Neeson out to find and kill his daughter’s kidnappers. Sure, you have some similarities, but I’m thinking the kidnappers in the former have it a little easier than when Liam Neeson is on the case.
* Possession: A popular film title with no less than five films in its ledger. Most of the films tend to have a supernatural bent, the most recent being the Sam Raimi co-produced “The Possession”, dealing with the Dybbuk Box. However, romance also enters the picture with a British silent film in 1919 and the 2002 rom/mystery/drama/floor wax/dessert topping “Possession” with Aaron Eckhart and Gwenyth Paltrow.
*Trepass: 1992 Ice-T, Ice Cube and Ice Paxton… sorry, Bill Paxton. This one had a mix of gold-hunting firemen and gangsters executing one of their enemies. This sort of situation always ends well. Flash forward to 2011 and we see Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman are trapped during a home invasion, where we get standard marriage fault lines and copious back story. Perhaps they should have called Liam Neeson for help…
There are many more films with identical titles I didn’t talk about, e.g., “The Kid”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “Crash”, “Kicking and Screaming”, “Red”, “Blue”, “Up”, and “Chocolat”. Have you got a film that can be mistaken for another?