The first time I saw The Abyss, I spent the whole time thinking “Wow. This is pretty good, but I already saw 2001.
I watched Avatar thinking the same thing, only about Dances With Wolves.
Terminator 2 was almost a shot-for-shot remake of the first Terminator, only with better CGI and an obnoxious teenager.
The Abyss is better than 2001. Superior pacing. Better acting. Stronger sense of plot, characterization and story. Avatar is way better than Dancing With Wolves. And T2 beat T1.
Cameron is gifted at taking an idea and running with it, of building on another’s work.
As writers, we can learn from this. We spend a lot of time trying to be “original” — as if there is any brand-new story under the sun. Maybe we should be more honest with ourselves and strive to do something derivative that’s so damn good it doesn’t matter.
Just my two cents. What do you all think?