With the novelty of Avatar now well and truly worn off, the film and its director have come under fire by a UK artist who claims to have been totally ripped off. Roger Dean, the mastermind behind album art for outfits such as Asia and Yes found overwhelming similarities between his work and James Cameron’s and has called foul play.
Dean is seeking around $50 million after accusing director Cameron of “wilful and deliberate copying, dissemination and exploitation” of his original artworks. Refusing to believe the parallels are simply coincidental, Dean has claimed that “the similarities of each such work are substantial, continuing, and direct so as to rule out any accidental copying or similarity in scenes common to the genre.”
Specific emphasis is drawn towards Dean’s Tree of Life artwork which bears an uncanny resemblance to the famed Home Tree of Pandora, worshiped by the Na’vi, as well as his works Pathway and Floating Jungle.
It’s also alleged that Cameron took unwarranted influence from Yes album covers. Even the man himself didn’t dispute the resemblance when it came up in an 2010 interview with Entertainment Weekly. When asked whether the inspiration for floating mountains came from a Yes album cover, Cameron responded that “it might have been, back in my pot-smoking days” – which may not be the best excuse, legally speaking.
Since its 2009 release, Avatar has gone on to become the highest-grossing film of all time, raking in a cool $2.8 billion internationally. This is the second time someone has pulled the plagiarism card against the 3D blockbuster. Earlier this year, Bryant Moore claimed that two scripts he sent to Cameron were used in Avatar without his permission and a judge has even given the go-ahead for that suit to continue.
Check out some comparisons between Avatar art and Roger Dean’s work below.