Movie Night… Kind Of
Today was movie day. Unfortunately, it just was not the movie I was expecting to see today.
(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)
I had originally planned on seeing The Hunger Games today. Unfortunately, that did not go as planned so I’m left deferring it another week. Knowing how I am with movies, this pretty much that the odds are I won’t see it until it hits DVD. I’m not saying that I won’t see it next week. I’m just saying that given my past theater attendance, chances are extremely thin.
Besides, I finished the last book of the trilogy Monday and was a little bit Gamed out.
So, I fell back to an alternate. I watched the director’s cut of Battle Royale. For those who don’t know, Battle Royale is a Japanese movie based off a novel by Koushun Takami. The premise of the movie is that a group of students are forced to kill each other until one remains alive.
A lot has been brought up about the parallels between this and The Hunger Games. While I have not seen the movie for The Hunger Games, I have read the books, the opposite situation that I have with Battle Royale.
(I should note that most of my observations about Battle Royale are about the movie, while those of The Hunger Games are about the books)
First off, there are some inconsistencies with Battle Royale movie which bugged me a bit. The biggest was the beginning of the movie in which the press is hounding a girl who is, presumably, the victor of the last Battle Royale. The scene implies that there is some knowledge of the game, even if they don’t know the full details of what happens in the game. Yet, the class that has been kidnapped to play the game act like they don’t have any idea what the game is.
Watching the movie, you can’t help but to start making comparisons to The Hunger Games. It’s only natural. There are a lot of similar points between them, even beyond the basic plot. But there are also a lot of differences as well. With the exception of two added boys, everyone in the battle royale know each other because they are all members of the same class. This helps to make the movie a bit more shocking since the former classmates start to turn on each other even before all the players are on the field.
Also, the incentive to win is different in Battle Royale. In The Hunger Games, the games promise riches and luxury for the winner. For the winner of the battle royale, all there is to win is freedom. And to further motivate them, each is fitted with a collar rigged to explode when it gets a signal (the effectiveness of the collars is demonstrated early in the movie, even before the game begins). At the end of three days, if there is not one survivor, there will be no survivors.
Battle Royale, even without the comparisons to the more popular Hunger Games, remains an interesting movie. The students react to the violent nature of their situation differently. Some start to form alliances along friendship lines, some a bit stronger than others. Others opt out of the game… permanently.
I would recommend this movie if you are curious about it. It is a grim view of how a group of people can turn on each other with just the right provocation. But, it is not a movie for everyone. It is incredibly gory and violent, which many people may see as a big turn off.
- How a Japanese franchise benefited from “The Hunger… (shortformblog.com)
- Eternal Sacrifice of Youths and Maidens: The Hunger Games and Battle Royale (tor.com)
- Book Review: Hunger Games vs. Battle Royale (shelflifeofabookseller.com)
- Before ‘Hunger Games,’ there was ‘Battle Royale’ (mercurynews.com)
- Before There Was The Hunger Games, Japan Had This Brutal, Bloody Opus [Culture Smash] (kotaku.com)