I like weird pairings of movies to watch back to back, linked through a more abstract connexion rather than just sequels or series. This week is a tad of the old Ultra-Violence, at least one of them will be.

 For me, HUNGER GAMES just didn’t do a lot for me. Without a doubt Jennifer Lawrence has charisma, as in she tends to jump of the screen with an inexplicable appeal that goes much deeper than just having a sexy look about her.

HUNGER GAMES is the latest Young Adult (often abbreviated as YA) novel adaptation that has gone wild after HARRY POTTER became the book-to-movie phenomenon, that equates to several hundred million dollars. The first film is watchable, albeit a setup for sequels already in the making.

The problem for me the entire movie was that I had already seen the Japanese controversial movie BATTLE ROYALE.

Eclipsing anything in HUNGER GAMES, BATTLE ROYALE brutally tells the story of a junior high (not even High School aged) class of kids dropped on an island where they have to kill each other so the last student may survive. Unlike the PG13 rated HUNGER GAMES, BR is a hard “R”, and rightfully so. Seeing Japanese kids in their school uniforms chopping each other up graphically with tons of gore was a lot more impactful.

BATTLE ROYALE came out in 2001 and didn’t get a U.S. release on home video officially until 2013 because it was so controversial. It spawned a sequel (BATTLE ROYALE II) completed by the first film’s son when his father passed away. The storyline was so similar to HUNGER GAMES and the sequel books that a lawsuit was filed since the novels were written after both BATTLE ROYALE features were released.

Similar ideas can be had by two individuals. Proving the intent to steal ideas is nearly impossible. I will say that they are exceptionally similar, but to me BATTLE ROYALE makes a more stark and deep social commentary.

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Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


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