Which Portrayed Teens Hunting One Another for Sport Better : ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Battle Royale’?

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bill-swift - July 31, 2012

There's talk that the CW is interested in doing a television series based on the Japanese film Battle Royale, which has achieved cult status since it was released twelve years ago. Neither the deal nor the plans have been confirmed, but a TV series depicting the gory deaths of students every week probably isn't what we need to see right now. But that's just my two cents.

So you might be asking, "What about The Hunger Games?" After all, both franchises have been compared because of how alike their storylines are, which is basically having kids kill other kids.

But the similarities end there. Let me break it down for you.

The Premise. In Battle Royale, forty-two students from a randomly selected class are taken to an isolated island where they are instructed to kill each other, as part of a military research program.

In The Hunger Games, twenty-four boys and girls are randomly chosen from Panem's twelve districts to fight to their deaths to entertain the Capitol's citizens. The Games also serve as punishment for their previous rebellion against the Capitol.

The Goryness. In Battle Royale, the deaths and the killings are brutally described and hashed out in detail. Graphic stabbings, gunshots, exploding neck collars, and axes? Imagine them happening in the worst way possible and you might just get it right.

Suzanne Collins probably had a younger audience in mind for The Hunger Games, which is why the details of the killings are kept to a minimum. They're not lacking in detail but they just tell you what you need to know, and move on.

The Players. In this aspect, both franchises are pretty similar. We've got the crazies, the aggressors, and the truly good ones all mixed into one group. For example, Battle Royale's got Shuya and Noriko, while The Hunger Games has Peeta and Katniss as the good ones who eventually made it alive in the end.

The Actual Films. Battle Royale doesn't really hold anything back when it comes to depicting the deaths of each of the characters. In fact, I think it's pretty clear from the image above just how much gore you can expect from the film. Just Google 'Battle Royale' and check out the images that turn up, and you'll see what I mean.

Meanwhile, The Hunger Games don't really show the deaths as they happen on screen. But when they do, it's of the quick and instant ones, like an arrow shot through someone's chest or something. The most drawn-out death was probably Cato's, who was ravaged by a Mutt through the night. But again, we don't really see much of that on screen.

The Conclusion? Both books and their respective movie adaptations are interesting and carry depth and a message beneath all the violent themes. In short, both are pretty amazing in their own right.

Battle Royale is perhaps more comfortable with depicting all that gore, and while that's not necessarily wrong, it might not sit well with many people. The Hunger Games seems like the "safer" alternative. It still carries a pretty strong back story while focusing on the survival aspect of the Games (we are following Katniss, after all.)

Weigh in: Personally I'd go for The Hunger Games because rolling heads just aren't my thing. But what about you? Which movie reigns supreme: Battle Royale or The Hunger Games?

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