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Disney and Anime Plagiarism?

Cliff posted more than 13 years ago | from the those-character-designs-look-awfully-familiar dept.

News 178

tenchiken asks: "Disney is at it again. A while ago they were accused of (ahem) lifting portions of Kimba for use in 'Lion King'. Now their newest movie, Atlantis has an amazing amount of similarity with GAINAX's classic Anime: 'Nadia, The Secret of Blue Waters'. Take a look at Ain't it Cool News's write up which has comparisons from the Anime point of view and of the Disney point of view. Details about the 'Lion King' and 'Kimba the White Lion' can be found here. Well, give Disney a little credit for The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, after all, those were original stories, right?" You know, I was looking at the ads for this movie just this week and I thought the exact same thing! While fiddling around on the web, I found this comparison, and it appears that both pages are using information from this Anime News Network feature. Check out the above links as they may put the similarities (and any differences) into better perspective. So are the creative juices running dry over there in Disneyworld? Or is this just your average case of an earlier work's influence on a new release?

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Welcome to the world of fiction (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#147834)

Yes, the plot of Atlantis is one giant cliche. Reading the comparison, it seems rather similar to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea too [and the subsequent Nemo movies].

Try watching late-night TV for a few hours and see how many of the same cliches come up there.

This is what Disney does for Christ's sake! They make familiar stories. Whether familiarity comes from the fact they're folk tales, or just that they use a bunch of tired old cliches ... it doesn't matter, Disney films are for kids, who haven't seen these cliches used a thousand times already.

I often wonder about adults who go to Disney movies - unless they're animators themselves.

Re:Required Reading (for nasty distrustful geeks ; (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#147835)

* Why are there no direct family relationships in Disney, just a thousand uncles and a complete lack of stronger family bonds- in what is purportedly family material?

Just so you know, this is kind of incorrect. In the Disney comic books Lady and the Tramp did become (ahem) life partners, and had several children. The most notable of their children was "Scamp."

That said, Mr. Disney most definitely had a very particular philosophy of life which was reflected in just about all of his works, but most especially his theme parks and TV shows. This leads to a certain amount of unsubtle progressive/capitalistic preachiness.

I personally find his ideas rather naive but mostly harmless. Furthermore, just about all creative works contain morals. Some of the ideas age well, and others become offensive, but later fade away into irrelevancy.

The (classic) animated movies themselves are actually rather free of context and so don't really suffer from any of these problems. An exception is Song of the South, which is enjoyable to people in East Asian markets, but much of the U.S. would have trouble with it for the same reasons that for them "Huckleberry Finn" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" are difficult (and misunderstood) books today.

Anyway, yeah, to an adult in the Americas, now or in the last few decades, some of the older comics, whether Disney or D.C., can be rather disturbing in a modern context.

Re:Seven original stories (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#147836)

It has often been quoted that there are 7(?) original stories and everything else is simply a variation of those core themes. I've heard that somewhere else... did you rip that off?

A Proud Tradition (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#147838)

This just helps to expose how utter farcical it is to allow the copyrighting of ideas rather than words.

Yes, "Atlantis: The Lost Kingdom" is much like "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water". But as the article notes, "Nadia" in turn borrows a huge amount from Miyazaki's "Laputa". The idea for "Laputa" of course came from the eponymous magical island from Swift's "Gulliver's Travels."

But of course this masterwork of the übertroll Swift was really a satirical updating of More's "Utopia," which was a Renaissance answer to Plato's dialogues concerning ideal government, notably 'The Republic' as well as 'Timaeus,' where the parable of Atlantis is described for the first time in extant Western literature (albeit with attribution to Solon).

Copyright applied to ideas is really nothing but a sham. If anyone is getting ripped off here, it is either Plato or the supposed Atlanteans.

tentacle rape (1)

vipw (228) | more than 13 years ago | (#147839)

i won't believe it's a rip-off of an amime unless there is tentacle rape.

Re:Well... (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 13 years ago | (#147841)

They only need to extend copyright back to around 1910. Anything older than that is still fair game - and there's a lot of material they haven't used yet. Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, various works of Shakespeare...

Just imagine a Beowulf cluster of.. err, I mean a Beowulf cartoon made by Disney!


Re:What ***I*** want to see. . . . (2)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#147842)

Better still, Disney's version of Otaku No Video :D

Re:Not quite. (3)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#147843)

And to think I saw my first glimpse of 'Atlantis' and thought to myself, "Oh good, for once in their lives they are taking a _broader_ concept and writing their own damn story around that". Of course, this was before I saw the side-to-side story elements between that and Nadia. And the side-to-side _character_ designs between that and Nadia... *yeesh*

Required Reading (for nasty distrustful geeks ;) ) (3)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#147844)

"How To Read Donald Duck"

I don't know _where_ my brother turned this up years ago, but one reading of this small book will make your jaw drop, and answer questions you never thought to ask, like-

  • In what ways are Disney comics destined for Latin America rewritten and altered by Disney to express American _political_ ideology by way of crude allegory?
  • Why are there no direct family relationships in Disney, just a thousand uncles and a complete lack of stronger family bonds- in what is purportedly family material?
  • What is Donald Duck's undying aim in life, and is it seen as admirable?
  • What is the gravest sin in the Disney world?

_Highly_ recommended...

Re:Plato's Forms explains all. (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 13 years ago | (#147846)

Ok, I can understand a +5, funny...
But a +5, interesting?

Wow! You guys are on the Ball! (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 13 years ago | (#147850)

Not! I think this one has been out over a week or two. Geez.

Disney's modus operandi (3)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 13 years ago | (#147851)

This has little to do with creative juices. Disney is out to make money. In their animated work, the machine works like this: take a classic (aka 'proven') story, tweak it to their satisfaction, and release it under their own animation style and direction (and usually too much spontaneous breaking into song for my taste... ;-).

This process is so institutionalized it's even got a name: "Disneyficiation".

The fact that they've taken to poaching story concepts from much more recent manga and anime works is perhaps somewhat depressing, but no different in style than Snow White. They even did it to themselves: IMO, Fantasia 2000 was mostly a Disneyfied knock-off of the original!

Re:Not quite. (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#147856)

Spoiler Alert so don't say I didn't warn you :)

In the original story (by Hans Christian Andersen), the bargain is that the mermaid will be given legs in exchange for her voice, but every step will be extremely painful, like she is walking on knives. If she doesn't get the kiss of true love by the third sunset, she'll die. The mermaid fails to get the prince to kiss her by the third sunset, and the sea witch shows up to offer her one final choice - if she will kill the prince, his blood will return her to mermaid form and she can return to the sea. She chooses instead to die because she really loves the guy, but in the end it turns out death has really turned her into some sort of air spirit instead.

It's not exactly happily ever after, but it rings pretty true to me. Sometimes true love just won't happen even when you really need it to.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:A Proud Tradition (2)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 13 years ago | (#147857)

Actually, if I recall correctly, the story treatment for Nadia was done well before Laputa. It just happens that the treatment was done by the fellow who would later make Laputa--that being Hayao Miyazaki himself. (More details can be found in the FAQs on [] about such things.)

I haven't seen Nadia yet, though I do intend to start getting the DVDs, since the first one was just released. But in my opinion the whole "they ripped off Nadia!" deal is the work of a few sad sacks who simply don't like Disney and will look for whatever reasons they can find to bash it. Either the resemblances come from plot points commonly used by a lot of other stories, or else they're sheerly superficial.

Look at common plot points. If the movie "ripped off" anything, it would be Stargate, Laputa, Titan A.E., 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a bit of Castle of Cagliostro, some Raiders of the Lost Ark, and a few other things. If I wanted to get really anal, I could go into all the old-timey radio shows that featured wisecracking switchboard operators like the one seen here. But really, what's the point?

The thing is, there are a lot of commonly-used ideas in here. Submarines, giant sea monsters, ancient relics that could do incredible damage in the wrong hands, greedy fortune-seekers wanting to put their wrong hands around those relics, giant monsters attacking ships, and so on. As Shakespeare said, there really is nothing new under the sun. It's all been done before, in some form or other--and the most successful tropes tend to get used over and over again, just because they are so successful.

And as for superficial coincidence . . . consider the case of Nancy Stauffer [] , author of some rather obscure childrens' books back in the early 1980s, and her claims of infringement by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. There are an awful lot of coincidences there--use of some similar names, such as a character named "Larry Potter" who wears glasses and has a cousin named "Lilly"; use of the term "muggles," which Rowling says she came up with on her own--but most of the "coincidences" she cites are just plain silly--such as the fact that both books have castles by lakes in them! The books weren't even widely known--the most they ever got was small-press publication, in America--whereas J.K. Rowling was writing her stories ten years later in England. It's unlikely in the extreme she could possibly have seen Stauffer's books--but she wrote what she wrote anyway, and golly gee, there are all these coincidences--but most of them, such as castles and lakes, are found in a lot of fantasy novels, not just the two of theirs, so it's not surprising that two unrelated fantasy novels would both have them.

As I've said, I haven't yet seen Nadia, but I really believe that most of the similarities between them are just that sort of coincidence. Either they're trappings common to many of those stories (just as fantasy stories or Westerns often have similarities), or they're outright coincidence.

Re:Yeah, they ripped off stuff but... (2)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 13 years ago | (#147858)

Well, the writers of the movie indicated that they'd never seen Nadia [] , but they did homage some elements from Miyazaki. I see no reason not to take them at their word. I mean, you have to admit that Nadia has been a fairly obscure series, as anime goes, up to now. It had a crappy Streamline dub that's long been out of print, then in the last year or so a limited edition VHS sub, and the DVDs are only starting to come out now. I've been an anime fan since 1991, and I've never seen Nadia--nor have I had a chance to. Why should they have?

Re:Simba == Kimba? (1)

portnoy (16520) | more than 13 years ago | (#147861)

I don't know about this one. If I name my animated lion character "Lion", would an earlier lion character named "Zion" mean I'm plagarizing or that I'm just not very imaginative?

Most of the names in Lion King are fairly pedestrian wordsfrom Swahili (Rafiki=friend, Nala=pretty, ...). Simba is just "lion" in another language.

Re:Can't wait for Disney's version of (3)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#147862)

Hmmmm. What song will the Death Rape machine sing? And will Elton John be the voice?


Good and bad of copyright law (1)

Felinoid (16872) | more than 13 years ago | (#147863)

Picture this... You spend years writing a story. Then your friend copys you and makes a similer story. Change a few words but it's basicly the same.
Now the rejection letters in the mail read
"This has already been done.. try something original"

You want to kill...

Now picture this. You spend years writing a story and publish...
Now 15 other writers you never heard of before clame you copied them.

The problem is simple. A lot of storys are going to be very much alike.

In programming...
A friend of mine was working on a program with someone else..
That someone else make some small changes and clammed it as his own.

On the other hand.. I wrote my own BBS ground up and some idiot I never meet in my LIFE ordered me to stop using HIS software.

(My prompt looked like his prompt.. My prompt looked like everyones prompt..)

Basicly my 3 year old BBS was somehow a clone of his 6 month old BBS..

Anyway.. There is the problem..
Some people are theafs.. some people are crybabys.. and current IP law isn't very good at telling the diffrence..

family bonds (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 13 years ago | (#147865)

Yeah, how come all female Disney lead characters' mothers are dead?

Laputa + Little Mermaid (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 13 years ago | (#147866)

I saw an English-dubbed version of "Laputa" a decade ago in the theatre. It's fantastic! Everything a Miyazaki movie should be. I saw the preview for the Disney dub at the beginning of the VHS of "Kiki" and kept waiting for the damn theatrical release. What the F*** is going on?

OTOH, I still think the 70s TV animated version of "The Little Mermaid" is the best one: it's far scarier (like good fairy tales should be!) and there's no annoying sidekicks, dammit.
Especially when they combined it with "The Golden Prince." Now that's a freaky movie.

One would think (1)

The Cat (19816) | more than 13 years ago | (#147867)

that with the umpty-billion dollars that Disney makes just for sneezing, they could afford to hire a writer or three that could come up with an original story here and there.

I was also especially happy to hear they plan to lay off 4000 people right between the releases of two movies that will each gross eight figures at least.

Something about their overly-happy sounding commercials rings a little off at times like these.

What ***I*** want to see. . . . (3)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 13 years ago | (#147868)

. . . is Disney's version of "Akira". . . .

That should be a laugh riot. . . .

Re:Call Me Naive (1)

beckett (27524) | more than 13 years ago | (#147869)

"plato"'s atlantis? we're not talking about original sources of information, we're talking about unique story elements in "Nadia" that were transplanted almost intact into Disney's "Atlantis". there is a difference between original source material and plagarism. surely you looked through the links in the /. article!

Call Me Naive (2)

beckett (27524) | more than 13 years ago | (#147870)

but i'd think that Disney has enough resources to thuroughly check and make sure their stories are indeed original. I knew of the "Lion King" deal (heck, the simpsons even made fun of it) but when stories parallel like this, it makes disney look like they are rewriting history.

that being said, it's not like their animated movies are original at all but they are fairy tales that have been "disneyized". I could accept "the little mermaid", but for disney to copy wholesale "Nadia", it's not so much ignorance as it is revisionist.

Walt's NOT dead!! (2)

Mikeman (30246) | more than 13 years ago | (#147871)

He's not dead!!! He's frozen!!!!

Re:Not quite. (1)

Trunks (35615) | more than 13 years ago | (#147873)

If I recall correctly, Little Mermaid was based off another story as well. The ending was much different...the prince ended up marrying someone else and the mermaid dies.

Re:Plagerism of Jules Verne? (1)

David_W (35680) | more than 13 years ago | (#147874)

In defense of Gainax, every episode of Nadia starts with "Based on Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." At least they give credit when they adapt a story. :)

Re:Not quite. (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 13 years ago | (#147877)

The Little Mermaid, maybe. Aladdin, was "lifted" from Arabian folklore. Disney in reality has came up with little "original" material since Mickey Mouse. Disney's animations are usually just re-tellings of history or previous works (ahem, Hunchback of Notre Dame?). A good site on the subject of the "Disneyfication" of history is here.

The only way Disney is original is in how it can take so many varied stories from many cultures and shoehorn them into its single stock script. Truly amazing...

Re:Not quite. (2)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 13 years ago | (#147878)

The Little Mermaid, maybe.

Nope. A Hans Christian Andersen story.

Re:Disney Classics (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 13 years ago | (#147879)

Mononoke isn't a Disney copy because Disney didn't make Mononoke.

That's a product of Studio Ghibli, whom licesensed it to Disney (under a fairly protective contract, no editing was permitted) through Miramax. Had this not happened, you'd likely have seen a Disney movie very similar to Mononoke eventually.

Of course, every Anime fan should fear the fact that Miramax has Ghost in the Shell 2, and who knows what they'll do to it (edit wise...)

Can't wait for Disney's version of (5)

kahuna720 (56586) | more than 13 years ago | (#147880)


Differences of opinion (2)

joq (63625) | more than 13 years ago | (#147881)

Realistically now, take a look at how many movies were based on samples from books, some parts may have been used, but were the authors really slighted when the entire book wasn't used? Could have been a name or town, etc. Not everyone is James Patterson to command mega bucks for their work, so there are plenty of times plagurism occurs. Similarly situations arise where many would like to claim something as theirs when others may have thought of something similar and acted in better fashion or faster to make something out of it.

Wouldn't surprise me if Disney ripped things here and there, as long as the entire concept isn't ripped then legally they violated no laws. Personally when I think of Disney I think of small children or do good family doo hickey types while for Anime I tend to think of younger, hip, into fashion, skateboarder, biker, geek types. So the comparison to me personally is non existant. Don't buy Disney if you think it affects you, however aren't there better things to bitch about [] ?

Re:Disney Classics (1)

hilker (69291) | more than 13 years ago | (#147883)

That's why the official titles are Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves[...]

Seven Dwarfs, actually. "Dwarves" was an obscure variant until Tolkien popularized it.

Plagerism of Jules Verne? (1)

L-Train8 (70991) | more than 13 years ago | (#147884)

Without seeing either movie, I will throw out my opinion, for what it's worth. It seems the stories of both movies owe quite a bit to Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs. But the world of professional animation is a small one, and I'm sure that some of the Disney animators had seen Nadia, whether they admit it or not. Maybe some of the similarities are a tribute to the anime.

It doesn't seem to me that there is enough in common between the two, that didn't already come from Verne and Burroughs, as to make this cause for outrage.

Re:Wait until they rip off Eva. (1)

Maul (83993) | more than 13 years ago | (#147888)

Quoted from The Food Court [] :

Ritsuko: "The Third Impact will occur if Disney comes into contact with any anime."

Gendou: "According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the first two angels, Kiki and Laputa, will arrive shortly."

Yeah, they ripped off stuff but... (2)

Maul (83993) | more than 13 years ago | (#147889)

They certainly did rip off lots of concepts from Nadia, and even some animation sequences from what I've seen of it.

It wouldn't be entirely fair if I were to say that the movie was a TOTAL rip off, as I haven't seen it yet. Much like the Lion King, there is probably quite a bit of noticable influence.

The Lion King was sort of a mix between Kimba the White Lion and Hamlet, IMO. It didn't completely rip off of Kimba, but it was easy to tell that Disney took a lot of influence from that show.

Why doesn't Disney just go ahead and say something like, "We were influenced by Gainax's brilliant Nadia series." If they had said something like this when announcing the movie, they would probably get better PR. Instead, they flat out lie and deny that any of their animators have ever seen these series.

I think if they admitted the similarities as tribute or influence, instead of anime fans calling foul on Disney for ripping off Nadia, they'd be heading to the theater more eagerly to see Atlantis to find the tributes to Gainax's work.

Knowing Disney there is probably a decent amount of differences in the show, and I'm sure with all the lame songs that'll be there, that it won't be nearly as good as Nadia anyway.

Disney Classics (5)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#147890)

All of "Disney Classics" are just that-- classics that have been through Disney's machine.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? Pinocchio? Cinderella? Sleeping Beauty? Aladdin? The Sword and the Stone? Brer Rabbit? Dumbo? Jungle Book? They're all classic folktales from various cultures. Disney never claimed to create the concept, just the adaptation you see under their banner.

That's why the official titles are Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, or Disney's The Little Mermaid. Same goes for Disney's Atlantis. They're adaptations of classic stories.

With each new medium (voice, tablets, scrolls, books, silent movies, talkies, animated movies, modern cinema and now computer-rendered movies), classic stories are told and retold and re-retold with the new medium's strengths or with a new angle to keep it fresh.

There are some legitimate causes for complaint if a new work draws too substantially or too unoriginally from an older work; Lion King, Mononoke, and Atlantis may suffer from being on the borderline of this issue. But to say that Disney isn't putting something original or fresh into any of their adaptations of cultural classics is a big stretch.

This has been going on far longer than Disney's corporate life, so why piss on Disney's parade? Oh, yeah, this is slashdot, where groupthink and corporate bashing is the norm. Where selling an adaptation of a public-domain concept is considered evil. Get over it.

Re:Plato's Forms explains all. (2)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 13 years ago | (#147894)

This lack of variety to be seen in the artistic world at a fundamental, reductionist level is only excacerbated by the forms of Plato; there exists only one perfect form of each concept. You have your forms and ideas mixed up. Each form is an imperfect representation of the divine idea. And, of course, there exists the divine idea of a troll, very closesly perfected here.

Re:American 'innovation' has its uses... (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 13 years ago | (#147897)

Who cares if it's plagiarism so long as we get a version of Ultimate Teacher with decent lip synch?

You're watching their lips?


Re:Shakespere? (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 13 years ago | (#147898)

There are many specific similarities between Kimba and Simba. This page [] has quite a detailed description of the visual similarities.


Polymer City Chronicals (1)

Acinonyx (93583) | more than 13 years ago | (#147899)

Heh, already heard this one today. See [] . Great comic strip.

Simba == Kimba? (5)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#147900)

Ok, when ripping a script, at least change the name of the main character more than one letter. You see, if i turned in a history paper that was ripped off the internet and i only changed the spelling of a few words, my teacher would not only turn me in for plagiarism, he would smack me in the head with my own stolen paper for blatant stupidity. Come on, people, if your gonna steal something, do it right.

You didn't read the links, did you? (2)

Carnage4Life (106069) | more than 13 years ago | (#147901)

There are some legitimate causes for complaint if a new work draws too substantially or too unoriginally from an older work; Lion King, Mononoke, and Atlantis may suffer from being on the borderline of this issue. But to say that Disney isn't putting something original or fresh into any of their adaptations of cultural classics is a big stretch.

If you had bothered to read the linked articles, then you would have seen that they aren't simply talking about Disney retelling classic story with a modern twist but ripping off of a large amount of the plot for their non-classic movies (Lion King, Atlantis) from recent works that are still under copyright which is and if this were the U.S. with it's Disney bought Sonny Bono act would be under copyright for decades more which is PLAIGAIRISM.

Slashdot overreacts sometimes, this isn't one of them.


Re:are you moderators nuts? (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 13 years ago | (#147905)

These stupid moderators make me cough.
Escaflowne - ugh. Now I'm gonna be sick.
63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,

So what if Disney rips off Gainax? (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 13 years ago | (#147906)

Does anyone notice all the millions of ripoffs that happen in Japanese animation?

Let's see......

Dragonar (ripoff of Gundam)
Shurato (ripoff of Saint Seiya)
Big-O (ripoff of everything)

And numerous other examples.
63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,

Re:Simba == Kimba? (3)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 13 years ago | (#147907)

Well, Tezuka had extensively borrowed ideas from Disney as well, that's why his wife refused to sue Disney: she said her husband would have been flattered, not angry.

Re:who can sue? (3)

CaseStudy (119864) | more than 13 years ago | (#147912)

Sounds like a pretty airtight case, if it could ever hit the courts.

Yes, it is... for Disney.

The copyright holder for Nadia must show that protectable elements of the work were taken. The artwork isn't close enough to be infringing, and the plot elements listed on the oldcrows page (e.g., "the bad guys are interested in Atlantis so they can capture and use the power source") are far too vague to be protectable. Furthermore, the guy who authored the page has added a link to the following statement:

After seeing Atlantis,
I must say that it is not Nadia. It doesn't really take much from Nadia at all. If anything, it is much closer to Laputa. Atlantis was a decent film, but too short in my opinion. It needed a bit more storytelling such as the 123 minutes of Laputa offered.
In six months or so, before Atlantis is out on video but well after the theatre run is over, perhaps Disney will put Laputa on the big screen for us. Of the three stories, Laputa is the masterpiece. Nadia had a great finale (and a great beginning), but way too much time was wasted in the middle. In fact, I see a lot more of Laputa in the finale of Atlantis than anything of Nadia in the rest of the film.

Furthermore, even if the holder of the Nadia copyright could somehow prove that Atlantis used protectable elements, all Disney has to show is that the authors of Atlantis were not exposed to Nadia. Constructive knowledge (i.e., "being in the animation business they should have known") isn't sufficient; they must have actually known about it, as copyright law (unlike patent law) doesn't protect against independent creation.

Not that similar (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 13 years ago | (#147913)

I once viewed about five episodes of Nadia, and I've seen the Atlantis trailer. I don't see that much similarity in the plot. Both are set in the "Jules Verne future", but that's about it.

Shakespere? (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 13 years ago | (#147916)

A while ago they were accused of (ahem) lifting portions of Kimba for use in 'Lion King'
Really? The first time I saw "The Lion King", I thought "Hamlet." It was Shakespere all the way; a big ole' story of pathetic fallacy.

Aristocrats... (1)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 13 years ago | (#147922)

The Aristocrats was an original, more or less.

Re:Not quite. (4)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 13 years ago | (#147923)

For those of you who read paper books, I would suggest reading David Koenig's Mouse Under Glass : Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks, ISBN 0964060507 (hardback) or 0964060515 (paperback). It covers all of Disney's classic movies and where they ripped the story off.

David also wrote two other interesting secrets of DisneyLand books: Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland and More Mouse Tales : A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland

Interesting reading for both Disney fans and haters.

Interesting thoughts (3) (142825) | more than 13 years ago | (#147925)

Lets the expansion of the copyright time limits and the fierceness of the protections that come from Disney.

Given that, is it suprising that they want to make sure others don't do what they did -- take the work that came before them?

Will the copyright expire on any of the Mickey Mouse stuff?

BOOYA!!!! (2)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 13 years ago | (#147927)

Or how about Disney's first "tenticle fetish" theme ride?

Re:Not quite. (1)

BrodeCo (155149) | more than 13 years ago | (#147928)

Irony, people. Learn it. Live it. Love it. I am shocked and appalled that nobody in this thread so far could pick up on this. This is an annoying trend in online chatter, and I understand that it can be hard to distinguish this form of humor in written form, but Jesus.

MPAA hypocrisy (4)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 13 years ago | (#147929)

Or is this just your average case of an earlier work's influence on a new release?

Just your average case of MPAA hypocrisy, that's all.


I dont see what the big surprise is (1)

TotallyUseless (157895) | more than 13 years ago | (#147931)

Disney has been doing this for a couple of decades, and no one has bothered to complain before now. Most of their movies have always been based off of other works, or more recently, from history. Pocahontas, The Hunchback, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and countless others are all based on history, popular fiction, or fairy tales. Disney seems to have long ago lost the ability to produce original story content. It seems surprising that people are just now picking up on it

Re:Call Me Naive (2)

TotallyUseless (157895) | more than 13 years ago | (#147932)

i have read it, and i appreciate what you are saying... but look at these plot points [] the 2 movies share, and tell me how many of these we in plato's version? did he have a sandy-haired hero with round, oversized eyeglasses and a red bow tie like both these movies have? did plato have a high-tech submarine with an international crew like these both do? These are just a few things these movies share. The list is much longer. I dont think that anyone is questioning that if someone sticks to plato's source, there will be similarity between movies about Atlantis. That is different than letting someone else write your movie, and you just redrawing it.

Atlantis: the Lost Refrences (2)

LancerAdvanced (166294) | more than 13 years ago | (#147935)

When I saw the trailers to Atlantis, While I did see a slight resembalance to some anime works, such as Laputa, Mononoke and Nadia I saw something else that struck me quite a bit more... The resembalance to James Gurney's Dinotopia...

While it may again be a case of similar source material, it may go farther as well..

1) The Disney's Atlantian machines have a remarkable resembalance to the "Strutters" in Dinotopia.

2) Dinotopia: The World Beneath has a very similar plotline: Scientist searching for a lost civilization, explores underwater for an entrance, then a cavern crawl, to the remnants (though uninhabited in this case) of a lost civilization they find a crystalin power source and then leave, upon which point the crystal brings out the worst in party members and a struggle ensues for the crystal.

3) Some similarity can be seen between Disney Atlantis' location on a plateau surrounded by waterfalls, and Dinotopia's waterfall city. There is some simiarity of architecture as well, but that can be more easly explained bythe efforts of both Gurney and Disney to make a "ancestor culture"

I'm not saying it happened, but after Seeing much the same thing happening in SW:TPM w. the design of Theed and the end parade in parcicular I wouldn't rule it out, and considering the similarities in source material between Nadia and Atlantis: I actually worry a little more about this possibility.

Not quite. (1)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 13 years ago | (#147937)

Well, give Disney a little credit for The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, after all, those were original stories, right?,

The Little Mermaid, maybe. Aladdin, was "lifted" from Arabian folklore. Disney in reality has came up with little "original" material since Mickey Mouse. Disney's animations are usually just re-tellings of history or previous works (ahem, Hunchback of Notre Dame?). A good site on the subject of the "Disneyfication" of history is here [] .

Disney does NOT plagarize! (1)

The Gline (173269) | more than 13 years ago | (#147938)

It just borrows really, really expensively.

(BTW, you know how you REALLY fit "42 penguins in a rack"? Cuisinart!)

Another Site (2)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 13 years ago | (#147939) has an article on their front page.

Re:another comparison (1)

Phokus (192971) | more than 13 years ago | (#147944)

You missed the part where the critic says "uh huh" afterwards; he was being sarcastic.

That still doesn't explain why some of the characters look almost identical.


Phokus (192971) | more than 13 years ago | (#147945)

HAHAHAHAHAHA, that was the funniest thing i've heard all week. You have to know what that movie is to get the joke though...

If you don't, urutsukidoji is the movie that started the tentacle rape anime genre ;)

Re:hmm (1)

CaptainCap (194813) | more than 13 years ago | (#147946)

What! You wasted a "First Post!" on something that is actually funny!

Alladin WAS a cartoon ripoff... (1)

CaptainCap (194813) | more than 13 years ago | (#147947)

Of that great Popeye musical cartoon about Alladin and his lamp, with Popeye, Bluto, and Olive Oyl. Most of the Popeye tunes were also better.

It's not like this hasn't been done before. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 13 years ago | (#147949)

and i'm talking about what was copied. Look into it, Gainax has a habit of plagerism. Besides, it wasn't a straight copy this time, thank God.

Re:Not quite. (3)

elefantstn (195873) | more than 13 years ago | (#147950)

Actually, Aladdin is not lifted from Arabian folklore - it's not Arabian at all. In the 19th century, there was a craze in Europe for all things Arabian, and translators could sell books by offering the largest collection of the "1001 Arabian Nights." A French translator, in an overzealous attempt to outdo his competitors, made up the Aladdin story to add to his collection. Of course, the story that sounded like it came from Arabic ouvre but still strangely appealed to Europeans (wonder how?) became the most popular.

Give me a major break! (2)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 13 years ago | (#147951)


All the griping about Atlantis: The Lost Empire being a ripoff of Japanese anime makes me wonder if you can't do anything inspired by an earlier work.

Think about this: remember the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark? If that movie wasn't a rehash of the vast majority of movie serials from the 1930's and 1940's I don't know what is. :-/

Anyway, having seen Atlantis, the movie is more like something inspired by a combination of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Gainax's Nadia and the Secret of Blue Water, the Hayao Miyazaki-directed movie Lupin III: The Castle of Caligostro, and the Miyazaki movie Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

The movie can get clichéd in spots, but gawd, the visuals and musical soundtrack are AWESOME. I highly recommend seeing this movie on the largest movie theatre screen you can find and make sure the theatre has a THX-certified sound system, too.

disney up to no good? (3)

gtx (204552) | more than 13 years ago | (#147955)

if you'd like more examples of disney badness, check out The Society of Disney Haters [] 's website.

after spending some time on the SODH website, nothing disney does surprises me anymore.

"I hope I don't make a mistake and manage to remain a virgin." - Britney Spears

hmm... (1)

Muusifer (207368) | more than 13 years ago | (#147957)

Isn't this a bit like Books of Magick and, *shudder*, Harry Potter ?

Re:Shakespere? (2)

djocyko (214429) | more than 13 years ago | (#147959)

your comment seems to implt shakespeare was the original source. That's rather silly when nearly everything he "wrote" was stolen or sourced from some other older (or current) story (already in existence). Just another case of the idolization of Shakespeare for no good reason.

Seven original stories (3)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 13 years ago | (#147960)

It has often been quoted that there are 7(?) original stories and everything else is simply a variation of those core themes.

With a desire to see the plagarism, just about any story told can be accused of being heavily copied from an existing one - often without the script writers even being aware of the orginals existence. Take a look at the way, every time Spielberg makes a movie, several people sue him for stealing their ideas (kind of curious how he manages to keep copying the majority of his movie from several places at once).

The way things are going, I wonder how long it'll be before scriptwriting follows the original PC cloning and those working on it are kept in closed environments where the companies can prove they never saw anything from the outside?

Re:It's not the same Disney anymore (2)

kstumpf (218897) | more than 13 years ago | (#147962)

Come on... that kind of scenario is a bit dated. I agree, its a shame, but the world is a much different place than it was 40 years ago.

And I doubt it was merely Walt keeping Annette Funicello out of anything skimpy. Take a look at all the episodes of "I Dream of Jeannie" and count how many times you see Barbara Eden's belly button. You won't! It was too risque' at the time.

Anyways, its a good comparison... Mickey Mouse is a corporate identity and women are showing alot more skin on TV.

If Disney weren't so aggressive, they likely wouldn't be around at this point.

Oh yeah? (5)

kstumpf (218897) | more than 13 years ago | (#147963)

Well animation and stories arent the only things falling prey to plagiarism! I recently installed this OS I kept hearing about (its called FreeBSD [] ), and it is almost the same as Linux! They even have bash and man pages and... all kinds of stuff they copied from Linux!!! Talk about a ripoff.

Cough cough...

Re:Not quite. (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 13 years ago | (#147964)

The first line of the original Aladdin reads, "Aladdin was a little Chinese boy..."

Plagiarism is animation? How do you prove that? (1)

hillct (230132) | more than 13 years ago | (#147967)

It looks like the plot outlines are similar, and the storylines track, but is it truly plagerism if the animation, soundtrack and dialog are original?

Movies get remade, look at the Planet of the Apes... in that case the two movies have a producer in common and they secured the rights to make it, but to what part of an animated movie would you secure such rights wo as to avoid a charge of plagerism? Is it the script, the whole original film? These are questions that need to be explored before such accusations can be made.



Questions for kids (3)

Black Rabbit (236299) | more than 13 years ago | (#147969)

Who wrote Winnie the Pooh? Who wrote Peter Pan? Who wrote Alice in Wonderland? Who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, (and what is the proper title of the book)? How many kids these days are going to grow up thinking that these stories, and many others, were all written by Walt Disney? A. A. Milne, James Barrie, Lewis Carroll and Victor Hugo, (author of Notre Dame de Paris) probably turn in their graves every time one of these Disneyized corruptions of their work is screened. Whenever Disney gets it's hands on something you can count on a good deal of the story being changed, and any history corrupted. While many Hollywood productions seem to do this with any given novel turned screenplay, Disney films, for some reason, "redefines the standard", (where have we heard that term before?), and what is presented in the Disney film becomes the norm. For instance, the Seven Dwarves did not have names until the Disney flick, it's Disney's Pooh that kids picture, not the Ernest Shepard drawings. I realize that much of this can be put down as "artistic license", but consider that Disney is so big, so powerful, that many kids don't even realize that the books exist, let alone what the original plot was, or how old the book really is. Does that remind anybody of another huge monopolistic company that hates it when facts get in its way? Ahh, Disney! The Micro$oft of kidlit!

Re:Required Reading (for nasty distrustful geeks ; (1)

sunhou (238795) | more than 13 years ago | (#147970)

(Quoting "How to Read Donald Duck"): What is Donald Duck's undying aim in life, and is it seen as admirable? ... plus other deep questions...

And more importantly, why doesn't Donald Duck wear pants? Is it because he has to be ready to swim at a moment's notice?

Consistent (1)

iCharles (242580) | more than 13 years ago | (#147974)

OK, you take a company that has a theme park that starves its animals, owns a network that cancels quality television ("Sports Night" and "Cupid", to name two), appeals to the lowest common denomeantor, puts out historically inacurate Titanic Clones ("Pearl Harbor"), and now, they rip off other's work (after vigorously defending their own trademarks). Hmmmmm...

One other thing (1)

tulare (244053) | more than 13 years ago | (#147975)

If the suggestions of plagarism prove true (my inclination is to think so, although I confess ignorance in this matter), I sincerely hope DisneyCo gets their backsides nailed to the wall for it.
BTW, I have to confess a little bit of surprise. I was walking home after the last post thinking, "wow, I pretty much just flamed thirteen million people. I bet somebody's going to take it personally." I'm glad to be wrong - again!

What a surprise (5)

tulare (244053) | more than 13 years ago | (#147976)

While this whole issue is of questionable relevance to "stuff that matters" I guess I have to admit that it matters enough for me to add my own thought. So here goes: to the question of "are all their creative juices dry?" I have to answer that this is not just a Disney problem - more a Hollywood problem. There seems to be an inherent inability in the California entertainment scene to create anything truly groundbreaking, or even thoughtful and interesting. Note that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was all over the Oscars, which have traditionally been a members-only Hollywood exhibition. Or the way the X-Files started to stink the moment production moved down from British Columbia to LA.
There seem to be two issues at hand, and they may be related. First of all, Hollywood is so revenue-driven that they must try to hit the least common denominator with everything they do, which excludes a lot of highly artistic content which might just be too niche-market for the bean counters who run the show to approve. This also leaves out a good deal of stuff that just seems too wierd for the apparantly wierd people who decide what gets produced.
The other issue surrounds the culture of Southern California itself - at great risk of generalizing here, I'd describe it as soulless. Everything there has a price value, and that value seems to be the only one that matters. This highlights the age-old battle between Northern and Southern California with the northerners constantly accusing the southerners of being thoughtless and greedy. The fact is, it may not be possible for someone wholly immersed in the SoCal culture ideal to actually come up with much of anything that isn't plasticy and over-glitzy to everyone else. I know people from LA will vehemently disagree with this, but my rebuttal is: where's the content? When the best movies and television (in terms of quality, not ratings) are being made anywhere but hollywood, what is the problem?
My biggest concern is that Hollywood seems to behave as though it should be the cultural center for the US, and considering the "role models" it proposes, this would be a very bad thing indeed.

Insert flames here:

Wait until they rip off Eva. (1)

Vegan Pagan (251984) | more than 13 years ago | (#147977)

Speculate, if you dare.

Anime rip-offs (1)

Vegan Pagan (251984) | more than 13 years ago | (#147978)

Dragonball: Superman Sailor Moon: Batman/Superman (hero has two identities) Ranma: teeny-bopperishness (no wait, maybe teenybopperishness ripped off Ranma! No, Punky Brewster came first) Evangelion: the 60s

Why... (1)

Alpha Zulu (253293) | more than 13 years ago | (#147979)

...reinvent the wheel when you're a huge company and can just take the ideas of little ones. Its not plagarism, its called "sweeping little secrets under the rug" =P Come on, everyones doing it try too okay?

hmm (1)

kilgore_47 (262118) | more than 13 years ago | (#147981)

sounds like some mickey-mouse bussiness to me... ;-)


who can sue? (2)

kilgore_47 (262118) | more than 13 years ago | (#147982)

anyone know who owns the copyrights on the nadia flick? Because I bet disney is about to make a boatload of money, as they often do, off this movie. Sounds like a pretty airtight case, if it could ever hit the courts.


Los Angeles Times (2)

MasterVidBoi (267096) | more than 13 years ago | (#147983)

An Interesting and semi-related article [] was in the LA Times this morning, about how Disney is laying off a good chunk of it's animation group, and many of the older members think that the new environment does not foster the kind of (perceived) creativity that made Disney famous.

From the Article:
But longtime animators say the more serious problem is that the division--once the premier place to work--lacks the creative vibrancy that fostered such hits as "Lion King."

It's not the same Disney anymore (5)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 13 years ago | (#147989)

When I was a kid, I had a dream come true at Disneyland. I'd heard somewhere that Walt kept an apartment above the fire station on Main Street, so one weekend I decided to blow off all the rides and just hang out at the fire department and play on the antique steam pumper while my siblings used up all their ride tickets.

I got my wish. Walter Eugene Disney wandered in about four o'clock and his first words to me were... "where are your parents?" When I'd assured him that I was not an orphan and well looked after, he wanted to know if I was having fun. I could hardly speak, I was so happy. He wished me and my family well, and then left. I still don't know for sure if the rumors about his loft above the firehouse was true or not. I didn't care... I'd got to say "hello" to Walt.

Fast forward fifty years. Michael Eisner makes more money in a year than Walt did in a lifetime. Disney, BuenaVista, and their subsidiaries routinely make movies that feature nudity, foul language, and violence. Disney gets sued over underwear. Disney gets sued over wages and benefits. Disney announces layoffs just to perk up the stockholders. Disney is no longer a kindly old grandfatherly type that wants to know where your parents are; Disney is now just another faceless megalithic corporation that just wants to know where your money is.

As an aside, did you know why Annette Funicello never wore a bikini in any of her beach movies? Yup, Walt. He thought it would make a bad impression on youngsters if a former Mouseketeer showed too much skin. He held her to a contract provision for the rest of her career just because his sense of moral obligation made him sure that that was the right thing to do.

If there is an afterlife, I feel sorry for Walt, looking down on what has become of his dreams for family oriented entertainment and family values.

That wonderful day in the firehouse is gone forever.

Re:man, this just happened to me too (2)

number one duck (319827) | more than 13 years ago | (#147992)

Its easy to get these things mixed up. It was Damon, not Afflec, who was in WWII. He was in the other theatre of operations though, over in france.

The Little Mermaid (1)

crowchild (326687) | more than 13 years ago | (#147993)

The Little Mermaid is old, even if not as old as the Arabian story of Aladdin. Hans Christian Anderson published it in 1836. It's went on to become part of the collective unconsciousness, so a lot of people don't realize where it came from.

I think the original post was meant as sarcasm. ;)


Re:Interesting thoughts (1)

koreth (409849) | more than 13 years ago | (#147994)

Expire, maybe not. But this paper [] argues that the Mickey Mouse copyright isn't valid to begin with.

Give and take. Or how about just take. (2)

koreth (409849) | more than 13 years ago | (#147995)

Or is this just your average case of an earlier work's influence on a new release?

Hardly the first time Disney has poached earlier works for their animated films. What irks me is that at the same time they're making millions retelling other people's stories (and here I'm thinking more of Aladdin and Snow White and other renditions of classic stories) they're doing their damndest [] to prevent anyone else from doing the same with their classic stories.

I'm not so bullheaded as to refuse to ever see a Disney film, but when I'm deciding what to go see I definitely take into account the fact that Disney's lobbying is a big reason there won't be any significant American contribution to the public domain [] for years to come.

It's an open source story (1)

Ybrog (443335) | more than 13 years ago | (#148001)

Quit crying about it

another comparison (1)

hallsa (444611) | more than 13 years ago | (#148002)

The below website offers a similar comparison of the two movies, but it is interesting to note that at the bottom of this other page it states that both movies came from the same source material. This doesn't necessarily explain everything, but it does some of it at least. tml []

Relevant section ---- a few similarities are inevitable! Indeed, both productions are a hybrid of the "steampunk" adventure fiction written by Jules Verne (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and the modern Atlantis mythology popularized by Edgar Cayce (On Atlantis). As such, similarities are inevitable - similar sources, similar plots, similar scenes, similar characters, similar designs.

Re:One would think (2)

Lothar+0 (444996) | more than 13 years ago | (#148003)

that with the umpty-billion dollars that Disney makes just for sneezing, they could afford to hire a writer or three that could come up with an original story here and there.

Actually, it's precisely because of Disney's lack of originality that partly explains why they are successful (marketing usually fills in the rest). The public has been conditioned to enjoy familiarity and uninventiveness, or at least settle for this as the norm. A standardized committment to quality in all spheres of consumption usually emphasizes the standardization, and not the quality. *cough*Redmond*cough*

Come to think of it, does this make children's stories the breeding ground for Disney's crass expectations of what they'll eat up at the box office, since they have that built-in familiarity during those impressionable ages?

Re:Seven original stories (2)

nougatmachine (445974) | more than 13 years ago | (#148004)

You, my friend, are exactly right. It seems to me that a place where so many people are in favor of the GPL, which allows you to modify things slightly and then release software that is in a sense "derivative", would understand that writers often "share" plots in a sense.

For that matter, aren't most Slashdotters against software patents? It seems to me that this arguing over plot similarities and owning ideas for stories is analogous to the patenting of software ideas.

Company A:"This database allows you to sort the entries by a user-specified criteria! We have a patent on that!"
Slashdot community:"Another company trying to claim ownership of ideas..."

Re:Plagiarism? Nothing new. (1)

sgt_getraer (448034) | more than 13 years ago | (#148005)

...A movie I just saw (the title escapes me) was based pretty closely on the ideas from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where some superpowerful girl runs around killing evil stuff. (Yet her superpowers seemed to consist mostly of whining because her sword wasn't sharp enough).

Um, wow, you just described 80% of all anime to come out in the last decade...

Doesn't Plato own the rights to Atlants? (1)

nohonor (450357) | more than 13 years ago | (#148006)

I thought Plato was the first to use the word Atlants in a work!

Well... (1)

JonWan (456212) | more than 13 years ago | (#148007)

This was borrowed from Jules Vern and it's public domain. So what I want to know is what is Disney going to do when their copyright extensions make it so there is no public domain to borrow from?

Billg (1)

return 42 (459012) | more than 13 years ago | (#148009)

Well, when Microsoft collapses under the weight of their defunct business model, Billg can always get a job defending Disney's right to innovate. He'd be real good at it...
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