Jason S sends me this link
to an article in which producers Laurie MacDonald and Walter Parkes discuss why The Island
flopped. Basically, it's because they had to give away the twist to sell the movie. And once you know the twist, there's no particular reason to see the movie except, I suppose, that Scarlett Johansson is hot, and Michael Bay knows how to blow stuff up real good. They also blame their stars and the title, which some people take as poor sportsmanship, except of course that they are responsible for both, so they're really blaming themselves.
A twist is not a hook, because you can't tell anyone before they see the movie. The hook to The Sixth Sense
was the kid who sees dead people. The twist was, well, you know. Twists are good. Twists are fine. But you still must have a hook.
UPDATE: Bill Cunningham writes in with this link
to a Variety
article about how an 1979 film by UCLA film professor Myrl Schreibman (whose class I never took, by the way) bears startling similarities. Except for the budget, that is! Wonder how the lawsuit will go...
Moral of the story? If your plot twists feel familiar, maybe that's not just because they're trite and hackneyed. Maybe you actually saw them on late night TV! If you come up with fresh and original stuff, you won't get sued!
If you read yesterday's Variety then you know that THE ISLAND has a helluva lot more problems than just giving away the twist...
Yeah, I'd say it wasn't just that the "twist" was unoriginal. Pretty much every aspect of the plot was highly derivative of previous films, if not outright stolen. And I don't just mean the film that it apprently aped in large part, as you referenced. I actually blogged about this before the film came out:
IMDB wrote about it...
they took the producer's comments completely out of context to make it look like an attack on the actors.
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