Nolan Copycats

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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Denis Villeneuve

Sam Mendes

These 2 directors are successful and talented. But there is no denying that they lack a distinct voice or a thruline among all their movies and they seem to be influenced by christopher nolan in an unethical way.

When directors like jon Favreau(Iron Man) or Martin Campbell(Casino Royale) say they are inspired by batman begins it doesn't feel like they are copying the movie or style because once you look at their movies you notice that they are nothing like batman begins and their inspiration is only thematic and not filmmaking wise.

But if you take Denis, he is trying to build his whole career like Nolan. After making decent thriller like sicario and prisoners he made arrival which feels like a sci-fi movie nolan would do with maybe more action. Then he wanted to do blade runner , an existing IP like batman hoping that he would get fans of blade runner 2049 to support him in his other movies by buying tickets like Nolan fanbase do. But it backfired and the movie bombed. But still the intentions are there.

Sam Mendes is a different case. He had a distinct style until revolutionary road/away we go. But once his career was down, his films started becoming franchise but more importantly like nolan he tried copying his storytelling style by making 2 or 3 tense scenes taking place at the same time that are all ramping up and intercutting between them. Even 1917 looks like Dunkirk from the trailers. I am pretty sure they greenlit this movie after Dunkirk's success.

So what do you guys think of this Copycats. They are talented of course but they seem to be confusing copying for success formula or its just on purpose just so they can be successful.



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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.
not a valid counterpoint to be honest



Both Nolan and Villeneuve are excellent, and I find very little, if anything, in common between their styles...



I mean there are some similarities but I suspect that's mostly the product of the way of film industry functions at the moment with Nolan being thje archetypical smaller scale artier director who moved into mainstream cinema successfully.

Ironically execs would probably point to Blade Runner 2049 and say "see THATS why we dumb down big sci fi blockbusters and make them non R".



Welcome to the human race...
not a valid counterpoint to be honest
Very well...

These 2 directors are successful and talented. But there is no denying that they lack a distinct voice or a thruline among all their movies and they seem to be influenced by christopher nolan in an unethical way.
Depends on how you define a "distinct voice" when it comes to filmmaking, I guess - to say nothing of how you distinguish between ethical and unethical influence.

When directors like jon Favreau(Iron Man) or Martin Campbell(Casino Royale) say they are inspired by batman begins it doesn't feel like they are copying the movie or style because once you look at their movies you notice that they are nothing like batman begins and their inspiration is only thematic and not filmmaking wise.
So in trying to prove that Villeneuve and Mendes have no distinctive voices of their own, you cite two journeyman directors who have even less claim to being distinctive filmmakers. There's also the matter of how you think said directors taking thematic inspiration is acceptable whereas taking "filmmaking" inspiration (as if themes aren't part of filmmaking) is not, which does sound like a superficial judgment.

But if you take Denis, he is trying to build his whole career like Nolan. After making decent thriller like sicario and prisoners he made arrival which feels like a sci-fi movie nolan would do with maybe more action. Then he wanted to do blade runner , an existing IP like batman hoping that he would get fans of blade runner 2049 to support him in his other movies by buying tickets like Nolan fanbase do. But it backfired and the movie bombed. But still the intentions are there.
When it comes to action, Arrival might as well be Primer when you put it next to Inception or Interstellar. Nolan doesn't have a lock on this particular brand of "smart" sci-fi so it definitely seems like a reach to act like Villeneuve is stealing from him and him alone in making a film like this - it's not like people haven't clocked Nolan's more obvious influences, after all. As for Blade Runner, that doesn't have anywhere near the built-in fanbase that Batman does so trying to project that sort of commercial motivation onto Villeneuve doesn't work.

Sam Mendes is a different case. He had a distinct style until revolutionary road/away we go. But once his career was down, his films started becoming franchise but more importantly like nolan he tried copying his storytelling style by making 2 or 3 tense scenes taking place at the same time that are all ramping up and intercutting between them. Even 1917 looks like Dunkirk from the trailers. I am pretty sure they greenlit this movie after Dunkirk's success.
Nolan didn't invent cross-cutting. Or war movies.

So what do you guys think of this Copycats. They are talented of course but they seem to be confusing copying for success formula or its just on purpose just so they can be successful.
I think that Nolan, for all his strengths as a filmmaker, should not be seen as such a be-all and end-all of contemporary filmmaking success that other filmmakers should be judged based on whether or not their choices happen to correlate even slightly with his. Even Nolan himself can be viewed as delivering lesser variations on other works (don't get me started on how many movies Interstellar made me wish I was watching instead).



I think that Nolan, for all his strengths as a filmmaker, should not be seen as such a be-all and end-all of contemporary filmmaking success that other filmmakers should be judged based on whether or not their choices happen to correlate even slightly with his. Even Nolan himself can be viewed as delivering lesser variations on other works (don't get me started on how many movies Interstellar made me wish I was watching instead).
Yep I'd agree with that, not that I dislike Nolan and there's definitely a place for his kind of films but as a standard of excellence does I'd say tend to promote rather plot heavy films with a lot of exposition and quite straight forward drama.

Blade Runner 2049 wasn't entirely free from that either I spose but it did also have a rather more subtle hand with the drama around K and Joi and more focus on building atmosphere. That film flopping has I'd guess set a very bad precedent in Hollywood although to be fair I think part of that was down to allowing the budget to become bloated.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
I mean there are some similarities but I suspect that's mostly the product of the way of film industry functions at the moment with Nolan being thje archetypical smaller scale artier director who moved into mainstream cinema successfully.

Ironically execs would probably point to Blade Runner 2049 and say "see THATS why we dumb down big sci fi blockbusters and make them non R".
I think there is a valid reason why 2049 bombed. It's not entirely audience fault or its entirely the brand blade runner's fault. The movie bears significant blame on why it bombed.



I think there is a valid reason why 2049 bombed. It's not entirely audience fault or its entirely the brand blade runner's fault. The movie bears significant blame on why it bombed.

To be fair when you take home viewing into account it probably didn't "bomb" but it is likely still some way off of turning a profit. The problem really IMHO is that studios have pretty much abandoned mid budget films(outside of a few well known names), everything has to be either a mega budget blockbuster or a small production. An r-rated somewhat arty drama based on a cult film should probably have been looking at around half the budget it had.

For what it was the film was very well received but these days it was never going to be a success on the level of say 2OO1.



This is a bizarre topic. Denis's movies remind me nothing of Nolan and Mendes got his start before Nolan did. Maybe his Bond movies have a hint of Nolan but that's pushing it. Nolan has a pretty distinct voice. I assume guys coming up may be inspired by him.

As far of Blade Runner 2049. I am still in amazement that movie got made at all. 1.) Nobody was clamoring for it. 2.) It is the antithesis of what Hollywood is pushing for now socially. 3.) I don't think it was ever really going make money.

But God dammit am I grateful it got made because it's amazing. Whatever you want to say about it, it's probably the most gorgeous movie I've ever seen.
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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
This is a bizarre topic. Denis's movies remind me nothing of Nolan and Mendes got his start before Nolan did. Maybe his Bond movies have a hint of Nolan but that's pushing it. Nolan has a pretty distinct voice. I assume guys coming up may be inspired by him.

As far of Blade Runner 2049. I am still in amazement that movie got made at all. 1.) Nobody was clamoring for it. 2.) It is the antithesis of what Hollywood is pushing for now socially. 3.) I don't think it was ever really going make money.

But God dammit am I grateful it got made because it's amazing. Whatever you want to say about it, it's probably the most gorgeous movie I've ever seen.
don't you think the movie itself was to be partially blamed for its box office performance ? director denis doesn't yet have an eye for commericality and including crowd pleasing elements in his movies



Professional horse shoe straightener
Villeneuve's movies are nothing like Nolan's. Villeneuve released his first feature before Nolan released his too.

Please tell me which parts of 'Maelstrom', 'Incendies', 'August 32nd on Earth' and 'Polytechnique' are "copying" Nolan.
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Nolan's movies are much more fast paced and dialogue driven, where as Villeneuve's are slower paced, that rely on more visual storytelling compared to dialogue. Comparing the two is like comparing Martin Scorsese to Sergio Leone.



Professional horse shoe straightener
don't you think the movie itself was to be partially blamed for its box office performance ? director denis doesn't yet have an eye for commericality and including crowd pleasing elements in his movies
That's exactly why Villeneuve is so much better than Directors like Nolan.



Why did Blade Runner 2049 flop when the first one is so well liked and regarded as a classic?



Why did Blade Runner 2049 flop when the first one is so well liked and regarded as a classic?
The problem I'd say is that its still ultimately a cult film, well known as cult films go yes but its not anywhere close to say Batman in terms of appeal plus of course the film was R-rated and much less action focused. I mean for what it was it made plenty of money, just not nearly as much as a $150 million blockbuster is expected to.

I'd say that extends into the marketing as well, films like Blade Runner 2049, Tron Legacy or Ghost in the Shell all I'd say had a similar problem in that they assumed too much audience knowledge in trailers that did a very poor job of telling you what the films were actually about.





don't you think the movie itself was to be partially blamed for its box office performance ? director denis doesn't yet have an eye for commericality and including crowd pleasing elements in his movies
And some of us are hugely glad of that.

If we are measuring a director's quality on his/her ability to draw in big audiences, then the Russo Brothers and Cameron are the greatest directors of all times. Or worse even Michael Bay. In fact, Bay knows exactly how to play to the gallery.

However, in reality the commercial success of a movie depends on several other things :actors, subject, marketing, etc.

On a side note, this thread is an example of what I was saying in the 'Originality" thread.



Why did Blade Runner 2049 flop when the first one is so well liked and regarded as a classic?
The original flopped, as well. Over the years it developed a cult like status. But that following was confined to an audience whose size was small compared to the comic book fans.

Additionally the movie was, and to a large extent still is, considered a niche subject. It urges you to think about humanity and ideas around it, without rewarding you with smash-bang visuals. It was presented in a non-commercial manner. Combine that with huge production costs, and it is deemed as a commercial flop.

But for its fanbase, it remained true to its subject. And therefore it continues to be loved amongst its fanbase.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
And some of us are hugely glad of that.

If we are measuring a director's quality on his/her ability to draw in big audiences, then the Russo Brothers and Cameron are the greatest directors of all times. Or worse even Michael Bay. In fact, Bay knows exactly how to play to the gallery.

However, in reality the commercial success of a movie depends on several other things :actors, subject, marketing, etc.

On a side note, this thread is an example of what I was saying in the 'Originality" thread.
Well james cameron is one of the greatest directors of all time. Russos are a different story. They are worth nothing outside MCU. So they are nobodies.