Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homage, reference, and free association: Round 2

Here's another bunch of scenes, shots, and movie moments that may have been inspired by others.

Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope (1977) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The introduction of Darth Vader's massive spaceship — entering the frame from above the camera and almost filling the screen for several moments until it has finally passed — is similar to the entrance of the Discovery in 2001. The Death Star's docking bay, meanwhile, bears a strong resemblance to the one on 2001's space station.
Cars (2006) Cool Hand Luke (1967)
In an apparent nod to Cool Hand Luke star Paul Newman, who voices Doc Hudson in Cars, Lightning McQueen is sentenced to repair a road by towing a large paving machine. He pulls the machine as quickly as possible to finish his task in a hurry. As the title character in Cool Hand Luke, Newman inspires his fellow chain gang prisoners — also tasked with repaving a road — to work as quickly as possible in order to confound their overseers.
Dirty Harry (1971) The Law and Jake Wade (1958)
After a shoot-out with bank robbers, Harry confronts one of the injured perps who is thinking of reaching for a nearby gun. "I know what you're thinking," Callahan tells him, pointing his own gun at the man, "'Did he fire six shots or only five?'" The man surrenders, then begs Harry to tell him if Harry did in fact have bullets left in his gun. Harry takes aim at the man and fires, then chuckles when the gun clicks harmlessly. After being held at bay by a pistol that has been buried for several years — and which may or may not have been able to shoot — outlaw Clint Hollister asks Marshal Jake Wade not to keep him in suspense and to let him know if the gun would have fired. Jake points the weapon at Clint and pulls the trigger, only for the gun to fail.
Toy Story 3 (2010) Mission: Impossible (1996)
Woody's pull string gets snagged as he falls from a tree, putting him in a similar position as Ethan Hunt during the infiltration of CIA headquarters.
Toy Story 3 (2010) Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Lotso's enforcer, Big Baby, finally decides he has suffered enough at the hands of the bullying bear and tosses his boss into a trash dumpster in the same way Darth Vader redeems himself by throwing his oppressive master, the Emperor, down a shaft of the Death Star.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Bilbo's momentary but unexpected transformation as he lunges for the ring around Frodo's neck is reminiscent of the equally jarring split-second metamorphosis of Large Marge.
Jaws (1975) The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Steven Spielberg seems to have taken inspiration from the Gill-man's first film. The shark's first victim is "stalked" in underwater shots of her swimming and treading water, just as Kay is watched by the Creature. Above the surface, the woman reacts to the first bite, as Kay responds to the Creature touching her leg. The Orca's boom winch strains as the shark pulls on Hooper's diving cage in the same way the Rita's winch strains when trying to recover the Creature in a fishing net. When cage and net are finally brought to the surface, they are both badly damaged.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon is also echoed in another Spielberg film, this time as the captain of the boat taking Malcolm to Isla Sorna refuses to get too close to the island, claiming that it is known as the "Island of the Five Deaths." Similarly, Captain Lucas tells his passengers that their destination is referred to ominously as the "Black Lagoon," and that no one has ever returned from it alive.
Jurassic Park (1993) The Valley of Gwangi (1969)
Spielberg may also have taken inspiration from master stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen's 1969 film about an isolated valley still teeming with prehistoric life. In one scene from Jurassic Park, a Gallimimus is snapped up by a T. rex, which appears seemingly out of nowhere, in the same way a similar dinosaur is taken by Gwangi, himself a T. rex look-alike. In another, a banner in the Jurassic Park visitor center falls to the floor as the escaped T. rex wreaks havoc in the lobby, echoing the "Gwangi the Great" banner seen when Gwangi breaks free from his cage and terrorizes the town.
The Valley of Gwangi (1969) Mighty Joe Young (1949)
Harryhausen, in turn, used in Gwangi a trick from Mighty Joe Young (a film he worked on with mentor Willis O'Brien), in which Gwangi, like Joe before him, is lassoed by cowboys.
Jurassic Park (1993) Destination Moon (1950)
Spielberg also used a technique similar to one found in a classic 1950's sci-fi film. To explain the science behind cloning dinosaurs, theme park owner John Hammond shows his guests a cartoon featuring an animated character named Mr. DNA. In Destination Moon, investors are shown a Woody Woodpecker cartoon to be taught the technicalities of rocket science.
Jurassic Park 3 (2001) Strangers on a Train (1951)
The third Jurassic Park film includes a reference to the Hitchcock thriller, where Mrs. Kirby, trying to impress with exaggerated tales of her adventuresome spirit, tells once-renowned archaeologist Alan Grant that she and her husband have reservations for the "first commercial flight to the moon." The impulsive Bruno Antony, trying to impress tennis star Guy Haines, boasts of similar plans.
Jurassic Park 3 (2001) Peter Pan (1953)
Jurassic Park 3 also includes a reference to Disney's animated Peter Pan. The presence of the Spinosaurus is preceded by the musical ringing of a cell phone the dinosaur has swallowed. The crocodile in Peter Pan is ominously announced by the ticking of a clock that the reptile has eaten.
Deliverance (1972) Zardoz (1974) Excalibur (1981)
Director John Boorman seems to have inspired himself: he has used shots of hands emerging from below the surface of water in two of his films. A third, Zardoz, offers a slight variation, with the hand rising from a pile of grain.
Christmas Vacation (1989) Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Clark's swimming pool fantasy from Christmas Vacation is remarkably similar to Brad's fantasy from Fast Times.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
This scene, in which Frodo, Sam, and Gollum watch the Haradrim army and their giant elephant-like Mumakil marching toward Moria reminds me of the Gungan army and their giant fambaas (seen as the shot above pans right) en route to engage the Trade Federation's battle droids.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) Seven Chances (1925)
During the battle against the droid army, Jar-Jar Binks inadvertently looses a wagonload of boomers, boulder-sized explosive balls which roll down the hill as he scurries to avoid being hit by them. Buster Keaton has owned this gag since his 1925 film Seven Chances, which found him running down a hill pursued by an avalanche of dislodged rocks.
The Avengers (2012) Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
The battle against the invading Chitauri aliens in The Avengers is similar to the battle between Gungans and battle droids in The Phantom Menace in that the invading army is controlled by an orbiting "mother ship." Once Iron Man destroys the ship, as Anakin destroys a similar one in Phantom Menace, the Chitauri collapse, as do The Phantom Menace's battle droids.
Batman & Robin (1997) Blonde Venus (1932)
Poison Ivy's emergence from a gorilla costume in Batman & Robin is a direct lift from Marlene Dietrich's "Hot Voodoo" number in Blonde Venus.
From Russia with Love (1963) North by Northwest (1959)
The James Bond film contains a scene in which Bond is chased and fired upon by a gunman aboard a helicopter, reminiscent of the famous crop duster sequence in Hitchcock's film.
Independence Day (1996) The Right Stuff (1983)
An anonymous comment on my original Homage post pointed out a similarity between the end of Independence Day and the Chuck Yeager crash scene toward the end of The Right Stuff. Rightly so.
Pale Rider (1985) Shane (1953)
Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider borrows heavily from one of my favorite Westerns, Shane. Two notable examples are when Preacher helps Hull break a rock that the miner has been working on for a long time, just as Shane helps Joe Starrett clear the tree stump that has vexed Starrett for just as long, and when Spider is shot down by hired guns in much the same fashion that Stonewall Torrey is killed by Jack Wilson.
Total Recall (1990) Forbidden Planet (1956)
The Arnold Schwarzenegger hit is similar to the 50's classic in that it, too, features an expansive machine of unknown purpose deep under the surface of another planet. It's not until the end of each movie that the function of the alien technology is discovered.
Iron Man (2008) Alien (1979)
The lab where Pepper seeks out Obadiah, who has suited up as the sinister Iron Monger, is dark and rife with hanging chains, making it eerily reminiscent of the section of the Nostromo where Brett searches for Jones, the cat . . . and finds the alien.
Kiss Me Deadly, et al.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Repo Man (1984)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Goldmember (2002)
Captain America (2011)
A handful of films have used this before — a character opens a mysterious closed container (the Ark of the Covenant, a car trunk, briefcase, wooden box, even his own pants) and is lit up by a glow from within.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Ray Harryhausen
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
The 7th Voyage of
Mysterious Island (1961)
One Million Years B.C (1966)
Obi-Wan's weapon of choice when battling monsters in the Geonosian arena? A stick — the same preferred by the creature-fighting heroes of many a Harryhausen film.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) Minority Report (2002)
It looks like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were thinking alike when they plotted these chase scenes, both from 2002. Each director set their chase on an automated assembly line, where swinging robot arms posed as much danger to the protagonists as did the pursuers. Pictured above, both Anakin and Anderton nearly lose their right hands as machine parts clamp down upon them.
Salt (2010) Die Another Day (2002)
If you thought the opening moments of Salt looked familiar, you'd probably watched the same scene eight years earlier in Die Another Day. Both films begin with a secret agent being taken captive in North Korea, tortured, then released many months later during a prisoner exchange in the demilitarized zone.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Major Dundee (1965)
Aragorn's plea to the Army of the Dead — ghosts of soldiers who deserted their king long ago — to aid him in defending Minas Tirith recalls Dundee's proposition to the Confederate prisoners he hopes will help him battle the Apaches.
The Lady from
Gorilla at Large
The Man with the
Golden Gun
The hall of mirrors scene at the end of Orson Welles' famous film noir has spawned its share of imitators.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) The 10th Victim (1965)
The bra gun wore by Dr. Evil's "fembot" assassins is based upon a similar device worn by a killer played by Ursula Andress in The 10th Victim.
See also:
Homage, reference, and free association
Homage, reference, and free association: Harry Potter edition