While I was stuck on a an active volcano in Costa Rica last week, one thing came to mind. It wasn't "Damn, I hope someone clears my browser history before I get buried by pyroclastic flow". I was thinking about the movies 'Dante's Peak' and 'Volcano' and how films with such similar subject matter came out at the same time. It happens a lot more then you might think, and the phenomenon is called "Twin Films".
No, not that or 'The Parent Trap' or whatever. Twin Films are movies with similar plots that come out around the same time from different studios. Despite studios knowing what other studios have in the pipeline, it still happens a lot. Sometimes it's just a topical issue, other times it's (allegedly) to torpedo another studios movie. Either way, I wanted to look at some of these twin movies and do what any good parent would do. That's right, lets judge which one is better.
'A Bug's Life' (1998) vs 'Antz' (1998)
I think for people my age, this was a defining decision. People who watched 'A Bug's Life' ended up as well-adjusted and productive members of society. People who watched 'Antz' as kids, like me, are broken-brain freaks. That said, I still do genuinely like 'Antz' a little bit more than it's PG counterpart. It's a dog-eat-dog world down in the soil with the bugs, not some fairy wonderland. Grow up.
'Antz' - Critic Score: 93% | Audience Score: 52%
'A Bug's Life' - Critic Score: 92% | Audience Score: 72%
'Jobs' (2013) vs 'Steve Jobs' (2015)
I've never been an Apple devotee or a Steve Jobs acolyte, so I didn't have a huge interest in either of these movies. That said, one was a competent film (Steve Jobs) and the other was not (Jobs). These two films were a good example of topical twin films. Just a race to who can drudge out Job's post-death biopic first. Sometimes, however, being first doesn't mean being best. I think this is the only scene I liked from 'Jobs'.
'Jobs' - Critic Score: 28% | Audience Score: 40%
'Steve Jobs' - Critic Score: 86% | Audience Score: 73%
Volcano (1997) vs Dante's Peak (1997)
I genuinely am not sure why or how both of these came out at the same time. Maybe the Mt. Saint Helens eruption being 17 years old made it retro? Or maybe it was just parallel-thought to get on the disaster movie train as it was leaving the station. Either way, neither of these movies are particularly good. While Pierce Brosnan is undeniably handsome and has my devotion, I'm going with 'Volcano' solely for this scene below which scarred me for life as a kid.
'Volcano' - Critic Score: 50% | Audience Score: 31%
'Dante's Peak' - Critic Score: 26% | Audience Score: 38%
'Armageddon' (1998) vs 'Deep Impact' (1998)
I feel like it's impossible not to pick 'Armageddon' here. Which is good for me considering I'm sure you guys would string me up by my ankles and drop me in a river if that wasn't the case. As many of you know, Harry Stamper is an American hero on par with George Washington, Ben Franklin and Larry Flynt. As much as I'd like to give the nod to child Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski, they just can't hold a candle to Harry & the gang. Also, TBT to one of the funniest commentaries ever by Ben Affleck
'Armageddon' - Critic Score: 38% | Audience Score: 73%
'Deep Impact' - Critic Score: 45% | Audience Score: 43%
Olympus Has Fallen (2013) vs White House Down (2013)
These movies were an amalgam in my brain for a long time. I really didn't have much to distinguish them other than I knew Gerard Butler was in one and Tatum was in the other. Who was in which one, though? I had no idea. That is, until 'Olympus Has Fallen' spun off two more sequels with a combined 66% critic score on Rotten tomatoes. By default, I gotta ride with my boy Mike Banning and the 'Has Fallen' gang.
'Olympus Has Fallen' - Critic Score: 49% | Audience Score: 66%
'White House Down' - Critic Score: 51% | Audience Score: 62%
There is a ton of other examples like Tombstone/Wyatt Earp, The Prestige/The Illusionist, Goodbye Christopher Robin/Christopher Robin, Smallfoot/Abominable etc etc etc. But for now, vote for what you think is the better twin. If the embedded form doesn't work, click here.