Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Children Killing Each Other (Hunger Games & Battle Royale)

Yes, I know it has been a while, but I haven't forgotten about you. Too make up for this time apart I am giving you a double whammy review, a compare and contrast of The Hunger Games and Battle Royale. I am embarking on this journey because there has been a lot of talk on the internet about how The Hunger Games is just Battle Royale with white people. Before we get into things that isn't the most accurate simplification because The Hunger Games was actually more racially diverse than Battle Royale. I am pretty sure this will be riddled with spoilers so don't read on after the jump if you plan on watching either of the films.
I was disappointed the tributes from District 9 didn't get much screen time.

Now lets start from the very beginning of each, as it's a very good place to start. Now I only got to see the trailers at The Hunger Games (THG from now on) and three of them had me squealing like a little fangirl. Those trailers were THE AVENGERS, Dark Shadows and CABIN IN THE WOODS!!!! I must not lose focus, this is supposed to be about the movies I have already seen. Alright, first off they both actually start out quite similar to each other with simply text explaining the circumstances that have lead up to these adolescent death matches although Battle Royale (BR from now on) had far more epic music from the get go. Both also begin with a gathering of eligible children, but this is also where the differences begin. In THG the gathering is all of the children within a district for only two of them to be whisked off, trained in the art of death and thrown into an arena until only one survives. In BR this gathering is a class of grade 9 students riding the bus to their year end school trip... or so they think.

"I think I have pooped my pants"
Now both of the films have something that makes me think of drugs, in BR the drugging of a bus full of teens and in THG Effie's clothing just seemed like either I was on something or she was on something when she put together her outfit. Of course the hallucinogenic Effie most definitely reminded me of the video girl in BR explaining the rules. Both in bright colours and both far too cheerful to tell children they are going to be killing one another. Also had I not known from reading about the cast before hand, I would have never guessed that Jack Donaghy's wife Elizabeth Banks was the one playing Effie (for those not in the know, that was a 30 Rock reference). In THG Katniss volunteers in place of her sister and Josh Hutcherson, I mean Peeta, is selected as the boy from their district. Alright now we are pretty much at the same point as in both films and also where they are going to begin to differ...

"We are so excited to have you here to kill all your friends"

So they are all in the given places where they are going to prepare themselves to mutilate each other. Wait a minute in THG there's only twenty four kids up for the slaughter, whereas in BR forty some-odd kids are going to utterly destroy one another... I think I know which movie is going to have the better kills. Another major difference in the films is that THG is televised as a reality TV show, BR is not, the public only finds out about the winner at the end. Of course in both people can volunteer to participate, although generally for different reasons, in BR the guy who volunteers pretty much just signed up to kill a bunch of people, not for money or prestige or anything but living out his deadly fantasies. Now we arrive at another major difference, in THG the tributes have three days to practice their skills to acquire kills, then are placed in an arena for as long as it takes to have a winner. In BR they are given bags with food, a map and a random weapon then have three days to murder their peers and if there is more than one person left they all die.

Now I am going to be strictly talking about THG for a bit since at least half of the movie is focussed on the lead up to the fight which is definitely not the case in BR. So now random stuff that has pretty much nothing to do with BR! First off that special pin Katniss gave her sister certainly didn't help protect her from getting selected, so why the hell would she give it back to Katniss to protect her and help her win the game!?! Then her boyfriend tells her that hunting people is no different than hunting animals which she is good at. So it is just as easy to kill a squirrel as it is to kill a person... Oh and they get to say good bye to their friends and family, a luxury the children of BR don't get. They also get to meet one of the previous winners as a mentor. He is a depressed alcoholic. Do they really want to win and end up like him? Oh and seeing the style in the Capital, it's not just Effie who was dressed by a colourblind capuchin. Well everyone there except for the district 12 stylist, he just has a little gold eyeliner.

The clothing that seems to be on fire is really cool and I really wish I could have something to wear that does that. And there are tributes named Glimmer and Marvel. I thought naming the baker Peeta was bad enough, but no it got worse. Speaking of Josh Hutcherson's character, now I am going to gush a bit. These were just a few thoughts that went through my head watching the movie: "Awe, Josh doesn't think he can win the game and his family doesn't believe in him." "Awe, Josh is a special effects make-up artist." "Awe, Josh can throw a big heavy thing." Yeah I think Josh Hutcherson is good looking, so what, wanna fight about it? Oh now we are at the good part of the film, adolescents plotting the demise of other adolescents (how many ways can you say kids killing kids?).

"I decorate cakes in our district where most people can't even afford a cupcake."
In BR on their abandoned island "Danger zones" are implemented where if you are in them for too long your techno necklace will explode and you die. In THG Katniss hides out in the edges of the arena which pisses off the people behind the scenes, then BAM there's a forest fire (my favourite form of natural disaster). Looks like Katniss was in a Danger Zone. In both alliances form between some of the children although in BR it is mostly people who were friends before and they are just living, in THG it is a gang of hooligans going around killing people. Josh you have terrible taste in friends. Another major difference, in BR there are guns, a lot of which feel like they gain infinite ammo when put in the hands of the crazy volunteer.

Kind of good looking in that "I'm going to kill you" sort of way.
Also in BR the guy in charge of the battle is actually this classes' old grade 7 teacher and he is having some trouble on the home front with a daughter who hates him. As well there is a second person in the battle who wasn't in the class, he was a previous winner who was then drugged and brought to the island to make the game more interesting. He forms an alliance with our two leads and then out of no where the old teacher appears to give the female lead an umbrella, then just leaves. Back to THG and ooo, that Kato guy is pretty hot too. Then a girl amongst the hooligans kills a lizard, what a bitch. Why are these kids in both movies making all these friendships and alliances, in the end that will just make it harder for them to kill each other. I can barely keep up with the amount of subplots in BR and OH, back in THG Katniss has just made friends with a little girl tribute, I'm sure nothing bad or heartbreaking is going to happen there.

Now one of the subplots in BR has hacked the computers the organizers are using, how clever. In THG something happens that I never saw coming whatsoever. After Katniss blows up the supplies mountain her new BFF gets stabbed and dies, really who would have ever expected that to happen? Her district riots, but of course none of them could have possibly volunteered in her place, twelve year olds can kill muscular eighteen year old guys with swords right?

Back in BR they have an adorable little truck driving around like the types they are importing to Canada now. And just when I thought the male lead was dead, now he is walking around with his girlfriend and the previous winner. In THG Katniss steps on Josh because he is so well camouflaged, so they go hide in a cave together. She must agree with me because even she can't resist him and cuddles right up next to him. He must be having so many awkward erections right now. And now, the moment we have all been waiting for THE CLIMAX! ...of the films you sicko. Side note in BR the annual battle is all to do with discouraging children from boycotting school, yet the only kids in the classes that are guaranteed to survive are the ones who are boycotting it because they wouldn't have been going on the trip where everyone is kidnapped.

"I told you I wanted an A bitch"

THG now has this really ugly dog thing chasing all those who are left and kills someone who I only remember seeing one other time in the movie. Now in both movies we have our sets of "lovers" against one last person. THG its the hottie Kato and since they are two on one obviously they defeat him. In BR our lovers are facing the guy they had trusted the whole time and we hear them get shot off screen. THG now it's only Katniss and Josh, last minute rule change! Again something else that I completely did not see coming what so ever, they can't both survive, so what is their solution? Double Suicide! But this game has to have a winner so they both get to live. In BR land the guy who "won" has gone to the compound where the old teacher is lurking, then out of no where... our two leads are still alive! Now it gets really creepy because the teacher wants to do a double suicide with the female lead, so her boyfriend shoots him. Blood splatters and the teacher falls to the ground, then gets back up to answer the phone, then he actually dies. We are left with our lovers escaping the island and being wanted for murder. See, they aren't the same movie.

And now I leave you with one last dose of Josh Hutcherson:

I'd catch bread from that boy any day.

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