Watching Battle Royale for the first time in nearly a decade, and am struck, having just seen both, just how sorry and pathetic a xerox The Hunger Games really is of this film.
Excellent acting, true pathos, a real sense of attachment and emotional involvement with every single one of a 30+ character cast, most of whom were, I believe, younger than those in the US bastardization. Kinji Fukusaku shows what a real director can do with this sort of material: proper camerawork and framing (none of this nauseous shakycam, quick cutaway and overreliance on greenscreen and CG crutches), a much better script, and a more intelligent, far less blunt take on a very similar politicosocial message.
…Further, this wasn’t dumbed down and made “safe” for a pampered YA audience looking for the next emo “hottie” Twilight wannabe – killing is as brutal and disturbing as it would be in the real world (though not overdone, this isn’t a Tom Savini job).
And best of all? The message is realistic. Trust no one, at least not fully. While both recognize where things are headed, with the old and rich eating the young and poor and exploiting them to their own ends (and in both political and entertainment arenas), Suzanne Collins’ silly little lovechild would have us believe that romance and trust will save the day, and that there are no TRUE “baddies”, even in a 1%er dystopia. Even the bad guys are given a backstory, some ambiguity, a rationale, as if they’re just as well meaning as the rest of us. The real world is already showing us quite different.
You want the real version? Skip the weird looking girl and ignore your teenage daughter’s squeals of delight, and check out Battle Royale.