I had spent about an hour or so trying to record a vlog of my thoughts on this particular topic, but my computer sucks. I've chosen the primitive practice of typing, which in all honesty, is probably a better thing. At least you can read this in a far less sarcastic and snarky tone as apposed to the one I was using in the vlog. As a twenty one year old college co-ed, I was smack dab in the middle of the target audience for Suzanne Collins' trilogy when the novels were first released. At the wake of saying farewell to my wizarding Harry Potter novels, The Hunger Games were quick to fill the void my years at Hogwarts left behind and the one Twatlight was NEVER going to. A premise of teens in a dystopian society randomly selected to fight to the death seemed like the lovechild of Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" and Richard Bachman (Stephen King)'s The Running Man. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I cranked through the book in a single sitting and I was floored by how much I enjoyed it. Fast forward to about four months later when I was exposed to a little Japanese movie called Battle Royale.
Fast forward to now when The Hunger Games is breaking box office records, generating memes out of its ass, and creating fictional romances that are wetting teenage panties faster than Edward Cullen ever did. Out of all of this, the horror hipster patrol has been crying foul and pushing up their glasses harder than they ever have before. Why? BECAUSE THE HUNGER GAMES IS STEALING FROM BATTLE ROYALE ALSKDJF;ALSKJFALSKJF! Seriously? Seriously?! Get over yourselves. All of you. We're bitching about this and yet we remain silent when every single romantic comedy in the history of everything contains the exact same plots, the exact same results, with the exact same character archetypes? Coooome OOOOOONNN. Suzanne Collins herself has repeatedly denied having ever seen or even heard
of Battle Royale until she’d already turned in the manuscript of the
trilogy’s first novel, and you know something...I believe her. The guy who created the screenplay for Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had never seen the Gene Wilder original, and it shows. Things like this DO happen. After Collins had turned in her manuscript, she asked her editor if she
should see Battle Royale, to which he replied "No, I don’t want that world in your head.
Just continue with what you’re doing,’” This was all mentioned in the New York Times last April and she's apparently still not seen the film or read the manga. Despite the "teens battling to the death with one survivor" concept, there is absolutely nothing else similar between the two.
The Hunger Games trilogy is less about the actual games themselves, but about the underlying corrupt government that has forced the citizens of the "districts" into these games and their treatment throughout the year. The trilogy mainly focuses on the citizens residing in the districts outside of The Capitol (the elite society/people of power) and how they attempt to survive the mistreatment and gain their independence from those oppressing them. The games are a major factor in wanting to escape the control of The Capitol, but it is far less about the terror of the games and more about overthrowing the government...and the personal lives, relationships, and feelings of those enduring these games. Battle Royale on the other hand, is far more sinister. The film/mangas are predominately overwhelmed by the gore, brutality, and horror surrounding the means in which those fighting the battle use in order to survive. The design on paper may be the same, but the look and feel of these two are entirely different. Comparing these two are like comparing two siblings. Same sets of DNA, with remarkably different results.
The things people have been complaining about in the wake of this all are frightening to me. First things first, for those that are "boycotting" THG because it "stole from BR", get over yourself. I'm pretty sure your lack of $7.00 really made a major dent in its box office record opening for a non-sequel and you alone are going to be the reason two and three aren't made. Congratulations. Second, people are claiming that if BR was given a proper American release, we wouldn't be in this situation anyway. Even if that were true, it wouldn't have made a difference because Americans are lazy and wouldn't want to read subtitles AND they would have watered down the gore to get a precious rating. Chances are, THG would have just been made faster but as an American remake. On that subject, people are mad that the American remake will never happen. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! So first we bitch and moan that we're Americanizing films and now we're going to be mad that it isn't happening? Oh get off it. If anything, be thankful THG exists because it is shining new light to a film you love so much. The L.A. Times confirms that Battle Royale’s DVD
sales have gone up with the success of The Hunger Games, so there you go. The film you hate SO MUCH is paying it forward to the one they apparently ripped off.