The release of ‘The Hunger Games‘ on the big screen has been highly anticipated for a long time, but some of that anticipation wasn’t exactly of the positive sort.
When The Hunger Games book was released back in 2008, some were quick to point out that the book’s plot followed very close to that of another book-to-film sci-fi horror flick: Battle Royale. The internet is ever quick to jump to conclusions–myself included–but there’s some level of truth to all of the vitriolic criticism.
In case you’ve never heard of Battle Royale–which is likely, given that the movie was only ever able to garner a cult following–here’s the plot: In the not-so-far future, the global economy is faltering and teens across Japan are beginning to grow more and more rebellious. Naturally, the government’s solution is to hold a death match on a remote island.
In Battle Royale, the “contestants” (victims?) are chosen randomly by lottery and are shipped off to the island with nothing more than a bag, and in that bag is a random “weapon”. If you’re wondering why weapon is in quotes there, that’s because some students get the short end of the stick and get, say, a frying pan as their weapon, while another gets a gun.
If that plot sounds familiar to you, that’s probably because it’s almost the exact setting in The Hunger Games. That being said, there are quite a few differences.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale is the content. Hunger Games, while a bit brutal, is rated at P3-13 and is comparatively tame when you look at Battle Royale‘s excessive gore and unfiltered brutality. Hunger Games also takes itself a bit more seriously and has a more substantial plot. Granted, that doesn’t necessarily make it any better than Battle Royale.
So the question, then, is did the author of The Hunger Games rip off Battle Royale? According to the author, the answer is no.
Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, went on record several times to say that she had never read, much less heard of, Battle Royale when she was penning the script for her book; Collins claims that the first she heard of Battle Royale was after she submitted the manuscript of the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy. For more on that, you can check out this link.
There may be some strong similarities between the two works, but Battle Royale wasn’t exactly the first to use the setting; 1987’s The Running Man by Stephen King had a very similar setting, and even that wasn’t the first to use the setting.
Regardless of whether or not The Hunger Games ripped off Battle Royale–I won’t make a claim one way or another–I’d say that both films are deserving of a look. If you’d like to see a trailer for Battle Royale before diving in, you can check out the embedded video below.
Which do you like more? The Hunger Games or Battle Royale?