‘Battle Royale’ differs from ‘The Hunger Games’
Published: Sunday, March 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, March 5, 2012 00:03
Every year, a select group of teenagers are sent to a remote destination to fight to the death until only one remains. Does this sound like a certain highly anticipated movie coming to theaters March 23?
Well, that's not what I'm talking about. The 2000 Japanese film "Battle Royale" may have a similar premise, but offers a slightly more plausible, less glamorous interpretation of this dystopian future.
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the film tells the story of a not-too-distant future when the Japanese government and economy have collapsed. Due to the horrible situations, the children decide to rebel against adults by boycotting school and disrespecting their parents.
The parents, fearing for their positions of power, pass the Battle Royale law to teach the kids a lesson. The rule states that each year a class from one of Japan's high schools will be taken to an island to battle it out.
Each student is given a small sack filled with water, bread, a compass and a random weapon, which could be anything from an AK-47 to a set of binoculars, and they are told they must kill one another until only one player is left, or they'll all be killed.
At first the students are apprehensive it could be a trick, a joke or a dream but it isn't long before they are driven to kill by a paranoid sense of kill-or-be-killed. As the film progresses we see the way in which this group that was once so united against authority figures quickly crumbles.
Obviously, I haven't seen "The Hunger Games" yet, but I know the books have been heavily compared to the "Battle Royale" book. However, I doubt there will be many similarities between the two films other than the plot.
The children in this story do not seem to know there is a possibility they will be sent to the battlegrounds, whereas Katniss and her peers are well aware of the lottery.
Also, there are 43 children sent to the battle, while there are only 24 in "The Hunger Games." While this doesn't seem like it would make that big of a difference, it actually causes one of my biggest disappointments with "Battle Royale." In this film you have to witness every single death, and with that amount of competitors, it tends to unnecessarily lengthen the movie.
There are some interesting back stories,though, that get explored, like Mitsuko Souma (Kou Shibasaki), whose alcoholic mother sold her to a pedophile, or Shuya Nanahara (Tatsuya Fujiwara), whose father committed suicide because he couldn't get a job in the horrible economy.
While this isn't necessarily the film for every fan of "The Hunger Games," "Battle Royale" is the movie for you to see if you're a fan of horror and sci-fi crossovers. It's hilarious at times, because it's a Japanese film made in the late ‘90s, but it's hard not to get wrapped up in the story and truly be terrified of the concept.
The film is a little hard to find online, but you can get a copy of "Battle Royale" through Netflix.