Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Are There Any Original Ideas Anymore?

Hey there everyone. Welcome back to "From the Mind of Dan". I was just sitting around playing "Angry Birds" in Google Chrome (yes, this dedicated FireFox user uses Chrome to play freakin' "Angry Birds") and listening to "Weird Al" Yankovic. For those of you who don't know Al (@AlYankovic on Twitter), he's a parody artist who takes original songs by artists (examples: "My Sharona" by the Knack, "Lola" by the Kinks, "Party in the USA" by Miley  Cyrus, and so on) and morphs them into something new. Now mind you, he does do original songs too. I got to thinking though, are there really any ORIGINAL ideas anymore. Now I am not here to call Al a theif (he's one of my favorite artists) or anyone for that matter, but now a days I believe everything borrows from somewhere. 

Now sometimes a TV show borrows from a TV (can you say 'cheap TV cross over' boys and girls) or it takes a nice established premise ("The Simpsons") and adjusts it for a more mature audience ("Family Guy"). Sometimes it's a cheap spin off that people aren't entirely interested in. In other cases it's a musical artist that borrows from elsewhere. The best form I can really think of though is movies borrowing from literature. The biggest culprit of this? Disney. Disney has little to no original movies from the list of their most popular ones. Granted their work with Pixar is original and a few of their films aren't blatantly plot borrowers but a lot of them are. I now present for you a brief list of a few Disney offenders. 

*"The Lion King"- Everyone loves the story of Simba! Simba as a young boy (cub) has his father, the king (Mufasa) killed by his evil uncle (Scar) who then blames Simba for it and assumes the throne, only to have Simba to return years later and gain his vengeance. I love that film and I love that story. Audiences also enjoyed that story a few centuries ago when William Shakespear first published and performed the play "Hamlet". 

*"Beauty and the Beast"- Who doesn't know the story of this one? Beauty goes to castle and falls in love with a beast. It's a movie that teaches you to look past a persons outward appearence and look at their inner beauty. Ironically this was the intention of the original French fairy tale "La Belle et la Bete"! 

*"Aladdin"- Here's a classic tale that spawned a few sequels, video games, and a TV series. There's no way ANYTHING in this one was ripped off...wait....Aladdin...a magic lamp and a wish granting Genie....40 Theives....didn't....oh yeah, those are some of the tales in "1001 Arabian Nights". NEXT!

*"The Little Mermaid"- Fairy tale. 

*"Snow White"- Fairy Tale

*"Hercules"- Greek and Roman Mythology.

*"Mary Poppins"- A children's novel series written by P.L. Tavers. 

Yes it's true there are some Disney movies that I can neither confirm or deny are original like "Bambi" but for the most part Disney lifts their content from elsewhere and then takes the liberty of making it kid friendly, so now I ask you, do you think there are still truly original ideas out there or do you believe that everything is borrowing from something at this point. Sound off with your thoughts below in the comments. 

From the Mind of Dan this is Dan Signing off. 

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