While this is rant about originality in movies, I think Cracked.com pretty much sums up a point that John Beiswenger needs to realize:
Originality is actually pretty overrated when it comes to movies, at least when it comes to basic story lines. There’s really only so many basic stories that can exist. The main character is trying to get somewhere (the Odyssey), get something (the legend of the Golden Fleece), win someone’s heart (the Iliad), get revenge (Cain and Abel) or save the world (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure).
Believe it or not, sharing even a massive amount of plot similarities doesn’t make movies the same (exception: The Hangover and The Hangover Part II). Does anyone really feel like they get nothing out of watching The Lion King if they’ve already seen Hamlet? If they’d kept every single line of Shakespeare’s original text and just made Hamlet an animated lion, I’m pretty sure that would have still been a significantly different experience.
The basic plot is like a mannequin. You’re pretty limited in the number of shapes you can come up with — curvy or straight, thin or fat. The rest of the movie — the subplots, the personalities, the atmosphere, the pace, the number of explosions you add — that’s like the costume you put on the mannequin. Someone pointing out that a plot is “basically the same” is pointing out that two designers are using the same fat mannequin. One could be wearing a bloodied Viking costume and one could be wearing a flowery muumuu, but they’re both size 40, so they’re “basically the same.”
At one point, Joseph Campbell even came up with a concept he called the “monomyth,” which is a basic outline that describes almost every myth and epic adventure in history, and which George Lucas used as an outline to write Star Wars. Since then, tons of stoned people and nerds have “stumbled upon” the amazing coincidence that Star Wars is really similar to The Lord of the Rings or the Greek myths or something.
It’s amazing because George Lucas pretty much ripped that shit right off, directly, and Star Wars has still done such a good job of becoming its own story that people have to get very high or spend way too much time thinking about it in order for them to notice.
So yes, everything has been done before, and finding its previous incarnations can be a fun and worthwhile exercise, but acting like the new version is repetitive or unnecessary just because something similar exists is stupid. Again, unless we are talking about The Hangover Part II.