Predator is a science fiction/horror franchise where ruthless aliens hunt down human beings for sport and pleasure. I’m not a fan because it’s so grotesque and pointless, but I caught the last part of the latest entry, Predators, some time ago. I was impressed enough that I watched the whole thing last week.
What occurred to me while I was watching this increasingly violent and grotesque movie was that it’s just like The Princess Bride.
I’m supposed to warn there are spoilers ahead, but I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say there is kissing in The Princess Bride, but none in Predators.
SO SPOILERS, OKAY?
The major plot points of the two movies match in an astonishing way. Predators has a group of people stranded on a planet, and at one point they tumble down a long cliff. That made me realize the resemblance: There were three attacks before this. The first one involved sharp objects that were set in clever traps, the second was much less clever and involved brute beasts, and the third involved a character callously using his wits in a way that results in someone’s death.
Described in this general way, these three attacks resemble the sword fight with Iñigo Montoya, the attack by the giant, and the battle of wits with the Sicilian. A skeptic might point out that these looked different in the two movies. Of course they do—these are two different stories in different genres, and no particular character in Predators corresponds to Westley or Buttercup. but the structure is the same.
Moving on, the characters in Predators encounter weird things in a jungle (yes, they spend most of the time in a jungle, but see how this turns out.) Westley and Buttercup spent time in the fire swamp. Then the characters are taken inside a grounded spaceship by someone who at first seems friendly, then turns hostile. This corresponds to Westley being taken inside a cave and at first cleaned up by the Albino, but is then subject to torture. The characters get out of the spaceship, and then things turn similar to a comical degree.
A character has a swordfight with one of the predators. That’s right—a swordfight! It occurs in the same part of the movie where in The Princess Bride, Iñigo has his “Hello. My name is Iñigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die” swordfight.
From there, the movies have their different action scenes for their climaxes. But what is interesting is that in Predators, a main character is paralyzed, then barely manages to recover enough to do something crucial in the climax. This is just like Westley being too weak to fight, but managing to stand and intimidate Prince Humperdinck.
The remaining characters go on to an uncertain future, but in a way that continues the adventure from the start. This corresponds to Westley telling Iñigo he would make a great Dread Pirate Roberts.
Overall, here is how the plot points line up (including the water escape at the start which would not have sounded like an impressive match at first):
Water Escape: The doctor escapes from being stuck in a tree by falling into water, Buttercup escapes from a boat by jumping into water.
Sharp Attack: Sharp objects in clever traps, sword fight with Iñigo.
Brute Force Attack: Brute beasts attack, the giant attacks.
Wits to Death: A character uses his wits and causes someone’s death, the battle of wits to the death with the Sicilian.
Long Slide: The characters have a long, violent slide down a cliff, Westley and Buttercup have a long, tumultuous slide down a cliff.
Wild Scenery: The characters have adventures in the jungle, Buttercup and Westley have adventures in the Fire Swamp.
Friendly Shelter that Turns Hostile: The characters are taken to a grounded spaceship by a host that seems friendly but who turns hostile, Westley is taken inside a cave and is cleaned up by the Albino but is then subject to torture.
Swordfight: A character has a swordfight to the death with a predator, Iñigo Montoya has a swordfight to the death with Count Rugen.
Paralysis: A character is paralyzed and barely manages to recover for the climax, Westley is too weak to fight but stands and intimidates Prince Humperdinck.
Uncertain Ending: Characters go their way to start the adventure again, Iñigo will become the next Dread Pirate Roberts.
So, do I believe the plot points were copied from The Princess Bride on purpose? Yes. Again, these are two different stories, and the actions scenes look different from each other. But the similarities in plot structure are too great.
Even if you disagree with me, you should see the lack of originality in Hollywood. Don’t try too hard to see plot similarities in movies. Just let it come to you as you’re watching a movie and you say, “Hey, I’ve seen this story before.”