There are those who will claim that simply because 2012 hit The Hunger Games and 1999 Japanese cult classic Battle Royale are eerily similar to each other, that one is somehow a rip-off of the other. An even cursory glance at each film reveals this as untrue: One of these films is an adaptation of a novel about a group of unwilling adolescents entertaining the near-future masses by participating in a battle to the death, and the other is an adaptation of a novel about a group of unwilling Japanese adolescents entertaining the near-future masses by participating in a battle to the death.
Jokes aside, The Hunger Games is not a rip-off of Battle Royale, because if it were, it would be a much better film than it is. So here are 10 reasons why Battle Royale is so much better a film, that to call The Hunger Games a rip-off is unjust.
10. Opening Scene
Battle Royale and The Hunger Games both begin with a written prologue describing acts of parliament in both worlds, the Millennium Education Reform Act and the Treaty of Treason, which both aim to punish disobedience in society by forcing children to battle to the death. The prologues are largely the same and I don’t want to split hairs about which used the better font but what occurs after the prologue is where Battle Royale takes its first step into being the superior film.
The Opening Scene of Battle Royale depicts a media-frenzy as the winner of this year’s contest emerges from the arena. There is violence to the reporters themselves, packed shoulder-to-shoulder, scrambling over each other in contest to trying to capture the best footage, held back by a wall of soldiers with assault rifles. Helicopters fly overhead and the camera shakes as if it were a war documentary. The winner emerges: a young girl covered in blood, clutching a teddy bear. She smiles.
After the prologue of The Hunger Games comes a quiet, civilised TV interview in which the show’s gamekeeper reiterates what was already established in the prologue. End scene. Both movies begin with a prologue and then a scene involving the media, but the difference is that Battle Royale does so in a way that is loud, exciting and surprising. Case in point: Listen to the opening score from each scene and tell me which sounds like a film about children killing each other for entertainment.
One point to Battle Royale.
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