Bionicle is, all things considered, is packed with originality. Its storyline centers around living robots that have elemental powers and live in a “tribal island” setting (for the first few years, at least). Eventually, it does go into a more sci-fi setting, but it still has a lot of original concepts. Especially the reveal of Mata Nui being a 40-million-foot-tall robot got.
However, not everything in Bionicle is truly original. I saw a YouTube comment pointing out that Web Of Shadows is a lot like Star Wars Episode III: both are the third installments of a rather infamous trilogy, both have a main hero being tempted to turn bad, both have a wise old guy with a walking stick, both have a side villain who exists to sell toys, and both have a close friend vs. close friend fight. Admittedly, the two movies aren’t exactly an equal comparison, but they do share some elements.
But if there’s anything else you can think of that Bionicle flat-out “stole” from another franchise, then write about it here.
The first “homage” that I can think of is to the 1987 horror movie Prince of Darkness, directed by John Carpenter.
The “Prince” in question is a cylindrical vat containing a glowing green gaseous substance that mind-controls various characters to serve it.
It’s possible that I’m missing the point entirely, but when I first saw Toa Mata 20 years ago, my impression was that they might have been influenced by the Power Rangers series.
The Power Rangers series was first released in 1976 and has been going on for 45 years, with a new design and story every year since.
They almost always have their own unique attributes, elements and image colors, and team up to fight against an army of evil.
In addition, from the middle of the story, a warrior with a special coloring (most often gold or silver😉) is added to the team, and that person is often associated with the truth of the story.
In addition, warriors are almost certain to receive acquired power-ups, and in this case, they will most likely wear additional armor.
As you can see, this feature has a great deal in common with the Mata~Nuva saga.
From the Metru saga, the setting changes to Toa being more of a Jedi-like guardian, rather than an angelic holy spirit warrior, and the atmosphere of the story quickly becomes more “western science fiction”. (I like them both)
The former was released only five months after the latter, so maybe not much time for “ripping off” to occur.
The real rip off is seen in MNOG, where a lot of the lore is lifted straight from Maori mythology (on top of the names obviously). Particularly the depiction of Makuta as a primal force of destruction / the void is identical to the Maori deity Te Kore, from whom the universe is said to have emerged. Mata Nui fills the role of Te Ao (the light) etc.
Also (mostly) removed from MNOG during development are “Papu” and “Rangi” as some form of creators to the island, which clearly refer to the Maori creators of the world Papa and Rangi.
I think this is more a coincidence than anything else. I mean, the way you’ve phrased it, this could just as equally apply to A New Hope as it could Web of Shadows. Tropes are tropes for a reason.
I mean, it’s certainly had its homages and references to other media (Revenge of the Sith included) as any franchise does, but aside for the Maori language I can’t think of anything it’s directly “stolen,” unless you want to roll with the Lord of the Rings comparison. But again, that comes around to the topic of tropes.
The story of the GSR being built while a planet is slowly going under and then flying off into space just before the planet gets “destroyed” (in this case, split into 3) is eerily similar to the origin of Superman.
Also this might be a bit of a stretch but I did hear someone say in a Youtube video that the Bohrok story was just rebranded Aliens (I mean think about it, the krana are basically facehuggers that turn you evil, and the concept of there being a Xenomorph queen is replicated with the Bahrag.
I always felt like 01-04 were a kind of spiritual successor Beast Wars and Beast Machines. It was the entire beast/robot relationship in a less than technological land; the Vok being GBs and, of course, the happenings of transmetals that sold me on that idea.