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DVD Shopping Bag: Battle Royale vs The Hunger Games

A new Blu-ray allows us some insight

By Robert T. Trate     March 06, 2012

 

Possible Spoilers for The Hunger Games – Possible Spoilers for Battle Royale
 
When I first heard about The Hunger Games, I had no clue what it was about. A friend of mine called it the next Harry Potter.She then followed that statement with “In no way is it the next Twilight”. A little while later I saw the first trailer for The Hunger Games and let out a “meh”. After all it looked like 1984 meets Battle Royale. Now I had never seen Battle Royale before, though not for a lack of trying. I knew the premise and immediately called foul. Now, my friend is a true and die hard Geek. Yes boys, the kind of girl you want to find who is both smart, beautiful, knew who Ralph McQuarrie was, and knows the best original Star Trek movies are the even numbered ones. In short, I trusted her opinion about The Hunger Games. So much so that I put the computer the away, turned off the TV, and picked up Suzanne Collin’s original book.
 
Now, I haven’t done this too many times in my life. Unlike most people, I do it in reverse. If I really enjoy a movie, I’ll then go and pick up the original novel. If I can’t wait for a movie (The Road), that is when I’ll read the novel first. This was a case of curiosity, plain and simple. The thought of being “that guy” and saying the book was better right after a movie actually makes my skin crawl. To avoid that, I’ve told myself that these are two different mediums with two different outcomes. So, believe it or not, when I was finished with “The Hunger Games” I actually went out and picked up the second novel. Now I have this incessant need to see how Gary Ross (Seabiscuit and Pleasantville) is going to adapt the book. With that said, let’s get back on track.
 
As it would have it, Anchor Bay Entertainment is releasing, for the first time in North America, the complete Battle Royale Box Set on Blu-ray. Would you have guessed it is the same week as when The Hunger Games arrives in theaters? The opportunity presented itself and I jumped at it. I had the story for The Hunger Games well in my head and this old desire to see a film I could only ever get as a bootleg. It was finally time to watch Battle Royale.
 
The comparisons are quick and easy to make. Society has gone to hell and, to keep the balance, people in power have children fight one another to maintain order. Some of the children are willing and some are not. Many make alliances where others strike out on their own. There is a game maker, an arena, a prize, and above all it is very horrific. This is all that I found to be similar in both The Hunger Games and Battle Royale. I also found many similarities in two different stories about a young boy chosen to do an unthinkable task and save the world/ universe, as he knows it. There was an old wizard, a shady guy who turns out to have a heart of gold, and a faceless villain who wants to rule. If anything we should be celebrating the differences between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale.
 
If Suzanne Collins did indeed see Battle Royale before she wrote her novel then it probably had some influence on her just has Professor’s Tolkien’s work had an obvious effect on George Lucas. After seeing Battle Royale I felt that it was lacking many things that “The Hunger Games” had. In the beginning of Battle Royale we learn that society is in upheaval and its children are running wild. The Battle Royale Act is used as a deterrent to keep children in check. There is nothing shown of society itself. We see flashbacks of when the children are disrespectful to a teacher. What this man’s teaching practices are or were isn’t shown; was he even a good teacher? For the purpose of the story at hand we see the children chosen and the battle they wage to save their own lives. That is the story that directorKinji Fukasaku told. Of course we have a questions as to why this has happened. The effect it actually has on the society it is trying to protect. Above all, we wonder if this will really solve the overall problem? Collin’s novel (the movie’s verdict remains to be seen) answers a lot of those questions and updates all of the same ideas for our modern world.
 
Battle Royale was released in the year 2000. Reality TV was a little more than MTV’s Real World, Road Rules, and a new show called Survivor. It wasn’t the juggernaut it has become today. What Collin has done is given us a world that is so very different from the one we know, but wrapped it in our excesses. A state controlled by fear with its wealthy living in the most decadence of opulence. There is more at stake for the inhabitants of Collin’s novel whereas Class 3-B simply gets to live as their prize.
 
The debate will continue, undoubtedly, as we will compare The Hunger Games movie to Battle Royale in a few weeks. We could go so far as to compare Collin’s novel to the novel “Battle Royale” by Koushun Takami. As far as the Blu-ray goes (out March 20th) this was an incredible transfer packed with more special features then any fan could hope for. Up next is Battle Royale II: Requiem vs. Catching Fire
 
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
 
1. Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] (see Tim Janson’s Review)
2. The Deer Hunter [Blu-ray + DVD] (Universal's 100th Anniversary)
3. Charade [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's's 100th Anniversary)
4. To Catch a Thief [Blu-ray]
5. Plan 9 From Outer Space [Blu-ray]
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
 
Blade of Kings Bluray/DVD Combo Starring Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Bingbing Fan and Edison Chen
 
Blade of Kings Starring Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Bingbing Fan and Edison Chen
 
Columbus Circle [Blu-ray] Starring Kevin Pollak, Giovanni Ribisi and Jason Lee
 
Dead in the Water [Blu-ray] Starring Teri Hatcher and Bryan Brown
 
Evil Roy Slade & Brother's O'Toole - Double Feature [Blu-ray] Starring John Astin and Pat Butram
 
London River Starring Brenda Blethyn, Sotigui Kouyate, Francis Magee
 
Reindeer Games (The Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] Starring Ben Affleck, James Frain and Dana Stubblefield
 
Shades of a Killer Starring Kemal Yildirim, Mohammad Amar, Saima Yildirim
 
The Skin I Live in (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet
 
The Town (Blu-ray/DVD Ultimate Collector's Edition) Starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner
 
Wyatt Earp's Revenge Starring Val Kilmer, Shawn Roberts, Matt Dallas and Daniel Booko
 
ANIME
 
Grave of the Fireflies
 
Hetalia: Axis Powers - The Complete Series Starring Todd Haberkorn, Patrick Seitz and Christopher Bevins
 
Kimikiss: Pure Rouge Complete Collection
 
Sands of Destruction: The Complete Series S.A.V.E. Starring Luci Christian, Todd Haberkorn and Robert McCollum
 
CARTOONS
 
Adventure Time: It Came From the Nightosphere
 
Despicable Me [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary)
 
The Lion King 1 1/2 Special Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging) Starring Julie Kavner, Jerry Stiller, Matthew Broderick
 
The Lion King 1 1/2 Starring Julie Kavner, Jerry Stiller, Matthew Broderick
 
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Special Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging) Starring Matthew Broderick, Neve Campbell, Andy Dick
 
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Starring Robert Guillaume, Neve Campbell, Andy Dick
 
Tennessee Tuxedo And His Tales: Complete Collection Starring Don Adams and Bradley Bolke
 
Transformers Prime: Season One (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray] Starring Peter Cullen and Frank Welker
 
Transformers: Prime - The Complete First Season Starring Peter Cullen and Frank Welker
 
CLASSICS
 
Charade [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's's 100th Anniversary) Starring Walter Matthau and Cary Grant
 
The Deer Hunter [Blu-ray + DVD] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring John Savage, Robert De Niro and John Cazale
 
The Deer Hunter DVD (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring John Savage, Robert De Niro and John Cazale
 
Destry Rides Again [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring James Stewart and Mischa Auer
 
My Man Godfrey DVD (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring William Powell
 
To Catch a Thief [Blu-ray] Starring Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Charles Vanel
 
Sullivan's Travels DVD (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Joel McCrea and Robert Warwick
 
COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
 
The Blues Brothers [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring James Brown, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
 
Car Wash [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Otis Day, Darrow Igus and Richard Pryor
 
Duck Soup [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx and Zeppo Marx
 
The Jerk [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Steve Martin
 
Kevin Smith Triple Feature [Blu-ray]
 
Meet the Parents [Blu-ray + DVD] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro
 
Monty Python and the Holy Grail [Blu-ray] Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam
 
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Terry Gilliam
 
The Nutty Professor [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring James Coburn and Eddie Murphy
 
Parenthood [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Steve Martin
 
HORROR
 
Classic Monsters Spotlight Collection [Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from Black Lagoon] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Boris Karloff and Ernest Thesiger
 
Devil Dolls
 
Edgar Allan Poe's Requiem for the Damned Starring Theresa Danko, Keaghlan Ashley, Remington Brimmer
 
Edgar Allen Poe's Requiem for the Damned [Blu-ray]
 
Haunting in Connecticut Starring Virginia Madsen and Elias Koteas
 
I Spit On Your Grave Double Feature Starring Camille Keaton and Sarah Butler
 
The Little Shop Of Horrors [Blu-ray] Starring Dick Miller, Jack Nicholson, Jonathan Haze and Mel Welles
 
Malevolence / Bereavement Double Feature Starring Michael Biehn, John Savage and Alexandra Daddario
 
Shackled Starring Brian Fortune, Ruth McIntyre, Donna Bradley
 
MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY
 
9 1/2 Weeks [Blu-ray] Starring Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Margaret Whitton
 
The Last Temptation of Christ DVD (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe and Paul Greco
 
Man From Snowy River [Blu-ray] Starring Terence Donovan, Kirk Douglas, Tom Burlinson and Bruce Kerr
 
Out of Africa Collector's Series [Blu-ray Book + DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Robert Redford and Michael Kitchen
 
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
 
Immortals (3D/ Blu-ray + Digital Copy)
 
Immortals [Blu-ray] Starring Henry Cavill and Mickey Rourke
 
Immortals (3D/ Blu-ray + Digital Copy)
 
Plan 9 From Outer Space [Blu-ray] Starring Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson
 
TV LAND
 
Above Suspicion, Set 1 Starring Ciaran Hinds
 
Agatha Christie's Poirot, Series 3 [Blu-ray] Starring David Suchet, Philip Jackson and Hugh Frasier
 
Agatha Christie's Poirot, Series 3 Starring David Suchet, Philip Jackson and Hugh Frasier
 
Cimarron City: The Complete Series - 26 Episodes Starring George Montgomery, John Smith, Audrey Totter
 
Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season Starring Kyle Chandler, Gaius Charles, Zach Gilford
 
Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] Starring Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Michelle Fairley
 
Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season Starring Harry Lloyd, Mark Addy, Alfie Allen and Sean Bean
 
Happily Divorced: Season One Starring Robert Walden, John Michael Higgins and Valente Rodriguez
 
Hawthorne: The Complete Third Season Starring Jada Pinkett Smith and Michael Vartan
 
Mi-5: Volume 10 Starring Peter Firth and Hugh Simon
 
BOX SETS
 
Hollywood Legends Spotlight Collection [Harvey, Spartacus, Touch of Evil] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring James Stewart
 
Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 4 of 4
1 
redhairs99 3/6/2012 11:26:33 AM

 Only thing I care about this week is Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray!!!

jedibanner 3/7/2012 5:18:25 AM

This is why I really like this site, sometimes you guy will come up with new things that I may have heard of but isn't mainstream and as popular as the regular sci-fy stuff.

I checked out the Battle Royale flick after reading this article and I must say I really liked it....up until the end but still. I found the ending very weak compared to the rest of the movie who was so great and very emotional on most students with their own personalities and conflicts towards the whole idea of ''killing your friends to survive'' approach.

Thanks Robert, great suggestion.

Now I NEED to find the 2nd one also.

RobertTrate 3/7/2012 12:43:13 PM

 It's on the box set coming out March 20th (which seems to be the day of the month, Muppets, Dragon Tattoo and Battle Royale). 

jedibanner 3/7/2012 12:59:24 PM

Hi Robert...well...that thing ain't cheap though, especially here in Canada. But my birthday IS coming up so...would be a great thing to add to my list.

Thanks Mania.

1 

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