Is The Hunger Games so different from Battle Royale?

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Ok, this is just me wanting to get a general opinion from the strongly-opinionated people of the Escapist Community. As I'm sure many of you are aware, The Hunger Games movie released today/tonight. For those of you who don't know the plot, it focuses on a bunch of kids being thrown together (by their government) and told to kill each other in order to earn supplies for their respective villages. I read it, didn't like it because it focused less on fighting/killing and more on the romance between characters, along with the politics behind the "game" itself.

On the other hand, you have Battle Royale. The plot of the story is... there are a bunch of kids who are thrown together (by their government) and told to kill each other in order to survive. Last person standing wins. In the book, it's described as originally being a way to keep down the population, while also being a source of sick televised entertainment. A movie was made based off the book, but it received a relatively poor reception. They even made a sequel, which did worse.

Now, to me, these books seem really similar. I liked Battle Royale significantly better than The Malnourished Games. However, with all the hype due to the upcoming movie, everyone's fanatic about it. Barely anybody I talk to has even heard of Battle Royale. I feel that it should have more recognition, especially if such a similar movie is so popular. So, my question is: what's so different about the Hunger Games? If there is no difference, how'd it get so popular? Escapist Community, any thoughts?

tl;dr : Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

I can't really speak much for The Hunger Games as I have yet to see the movie or read the books, but I get the general gist of it.
I wasn't aware that Battle Royale was unpopular to be honest, I've seen the movie and read the manga and I thought it had a reasonably good cult-following.
But I think they are different movies, The Hunger Games seems to have a different fixation on the relationships and not simply the game, while Battle Royale is a very violent film which has a big focus on the game and survival. Not to mention that The Hunger Games is a 12A-PG13 and Battle Royale is a hard 18, The Hunger games is more accessible to younger people basically.

That's what I can tell at least.

I didn't like the books for the same reasons you mentioned, though I'm not sure the word "romance" is appropriate, considering how indecisive the protagonist is.
Maybe that's why younger readers like it-get an excuse to watch a "relationship" without it ever getting serious or real.

being similar does not making somthing a rip-off

is fallout a rip off as mad max? NO they both just happen to use the "desert wasteland" theme

The Hunger Game and Battle Royal both took their core concept from Greek myth, so calling either a rip off doesn't really seem fair (unless you really want to go back to whoever wrote the story of the minotaur). Personally I really liked The Hunger Games precisely because it does focus on the politics of the situation and on the relationships between the characters.

I think they are different since Hunger Games has less blood. At least that's how it looks like to me.

ShadowStar42:
The Hunger Game and Battle Royal both took their core concept from Greek myth, so calling either a rip off doesn't really seem fair (unless you really want to go back to whoever wrote the story of the minotaur). Personally I really liked The Hunger Games precisely because it does focus on the politics of the situation and on the relationships between the characters.

I don't get it. What's the minotaur story got to do with Battle Royale? A hero killing a monster isn't exactly the same as school kids forced to kill each other. I mean, yeah, killing is involved, but apart from that...

techmec21:
Now, to me, these books seem really similar. I liked Battle Royale significantly better than The Malnourished Games. However, with all the hype due to the upcoming movie, everyone's fanatic about it. Barely anybody I talk to has even heard of Battle Royale. I feel that it should have more recognition, especially if such a similar movie is so popular. So, my question is: what's so different about the Hunger Games? If there is no difference, how'd it get so popular? Escapist Community, any thoughts?

tl;dr : Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

It's simple, they have the bigger budget and it's a western novel. While the Battle royales movie wasn't bad it still had a much smaller budget and never got really popular outside a cult following. And it couldn't compete with the book or the manga.

Same reason why the american Ring and Grudge movies did better than their asian counterparts over here.

While I am not a fan of either franchise if you want to start the rip-off game then they both rip elements straight from Greek mythology and are take offs of the gladiatorial match's.Battle Royale focused on the fighting and is extremely violent,Hunger Games pay more attention to romance and politics.

Just to be clear I haven't read nor do I want to watch the Hunger Game film. I had have a summary of it on Wiki. So whatever I say about the Hunger game is not to my fullest knowledge of it.

Battle Royal was unpopular? I mean yeah the sequel was terrible but I do remember that film was recommended in this dvd review magazine.

As for the differences well for one thing as you already mention the school kids are fighting for survival while those kids in the Hunger Games are fighting for their villages (even when they don't want to in it at all). Sure Battle Royal had a romance or two (the main characters in the film and those other kids aswell) but the Hunger Game is huge on romance. Also from the trailer were the two kids who repersent their village have a skill toward something like that girl is good with a bow and arrow while the kids in Battle Royal weapons is whatever in their bags.

I can probably name a few more but I rather not due to my igornances toward the Hunger Game.

They feature a similar framing device, but are in the end very different books. Also, I personally don't buy the idea that the novel has a huge focus on romance, considering the romance is largely survival tactics for the first couple books. Relationships and politics being important to Hunger Games I'll buy, but the romance was always secondary. I will admit that Battle Royal seems to be the more violent work, but Hunger Games isn't necessarily tea time with grandma. The damn mutant bees still scare me.

Edit- also, better is a subjective statement. Personally, I like the focus on the politics and relationships over the framing device. For me the framing device is just one part of what winds up being a greater whole, though I'll admit I am not all that well aquatinted with Battle Royale. The lessened focus on violence also makes it more accessible I suppose, which isn't always a bad thing.

I've heard that Battle Royale was incredibly successful, at least the book was, in Japan, it's native country. I reckon it's just the fact that Japanese stuff, JRPGs and certain 'kids' anime aside, tends to be popular there and hidden away in the West, except to geeks and nerds like us. Not to mention it was somewhat influential, and Stephen King recommended it a few years ago as a book worth reading. Otherwise, I can't really comment, as I've not read the book or manga nor seen the films, so I have no real right to an opinion.

I agree that The Hunger Games focuses largely on romance and politics, but I always considered the romance more of a tactical advantage rather than the characters genuine feelings, at least from Katniss' point of view. The whole love aspect to her was really just there to gain the most popularity with the crowd and sponsors who would give them better equipment.

Never seen or read either. They seem disturbingly similar, but I think they're separated by a decade or so, come from different sides of the world, and are targeted at different audiences.

I've been wondering the same thing as the OP.

Regarding greek mythology: people were sent by their villages to face the Minotaur as tribute to King Minos but that's where the similarity ends. They were a tribute to an openly hostile foreign government (not their own nation), nobody was ever expected to survive and all of the villages who sent tribute were rewarded (by not having war with Minos' army). The story has a bit more in common with gladitorial combat but it's still pretty thin and gladiators are neither greek nor mythical.

I haven't seen the hunger games yet, but when I heard about it the first movie I thought about was battle royale!! Most people haven't heard of battle royale though, and apparently the hunger games books were popular. When I see it I'll have a more substaintal opinion.

techmec21:
tl;dr : Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

Battle Royale is basically horror, a government imposing something horrific on their youth.

Hunger Games isn't really about the death match but rather oppression (since none of the capitals children ever have to go though this) Media in war, the how war effects people (over the trilogy anyway)

Are they the best books ever? no, pretty average. they are however another instance of genera fiction not just aimed at men and that important in and of it's self since there isn't a lot of that about.

The Hunger Games is Battle Royale. For pussies.
And racists...if you come to think about it.

Jokes aside, I loved Battle Royale and the books were decent schlock. And I do love me some Jennifer Lawrence.

That is how popularity works, you don't win with quality you win with marketing.

I haven't read the books nor seen the movie, from what I've heard it's supposed to portray this bleak society with brutal kid on kid violence, yet the movie is rated PG and shows very little blood? How is that supposed to work?

techmec21:
-snip-

Yes - its Battle Royale with a plot. At first I was wondering if it would do better or worse with a plot and after reading the books and seeing the film, I can confirm that yes it is definitely 100% better with a plot.

As for the whole romance thing, you can ignore it as I did and still find it amazing - granted, the books focused on the romance aspect a little more than I hoped it would (since everything else that goes on seems far more important imo) but its not like Twilight where that was the only thing anyone cared about. Its closer to Harry Potter if anything since romance is an aspect of it but a pretty small one.

It was the politics of it that interested me the most - and I hate politics in general. Why they have the Hunger Games really does turn your stomach and provided it does, you should be interetsed in the other two in the series; Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Although I still think the first one is the best - it doesn't allow you to put it down.

Try reading the first one and see what you think. Everyone I know that has read them couldnt find a bad thing to say about them and most people did it within 2 days regardless of their speed of reading or whatever plans they had.

imahobbit4062:
I haven't read the books nor seen the movie, from what I've heard it's supposed to portray this bleak society with brutal kid on kid violence, yet the movie is rated PG and shows very little blood? How is that supposed to work?

PG-13 and it had plenty of violence, they just used cinematography tricks to get away with having a guy use a broadsword to hack people to death. And then there's the bees... Those fucking bees!!! I know it's just the concept behind them that keeps scaring me, but those damn bees!

kman123:
The Hunger Games is Battle Royale. For pussies.
And racists...if you come to think about it.

I'm guessing you haven't read the third book then?

Anyway, what sets this apart from Battle Royale is the plot really. I quite enjoyed Battle Royale but I still liked Hunger Games more because I was far more invested in the characters, and it didn't leave me with so many arbitrary questions.

I've so far avoided the books and films because of its similarity, but if its different enough to be worth reading on its own merit, I'd like to give it a try.

They're similar but hardly identical. I guess it's an unusual plot device, hence the similarities seem starker here than they do in the one billion other incidences of works of art having similarities with one another, but I'd hardly call them copy/paste clones.

I'd agree with kman123 that the books are enjoyable schlock. Not great literature by any means, but highly entertaining. And I, too, love me some Jennifer Lawrence. Or at least however much of her it's appropriate to love, given our difference in age.

The core plot of the books is, from what I understand (not having read either battle royal or any of the hunger games series) but the world of the two is very different. While the titular battle of battle royale is merely for the amusement of depraved adults, the hunger games represent a cultural domination on the part of the aristocracy that subjugates the working classes and makes them sacrifice their best and brightest children for a shot at prosperity.

If that doesn't seem like a big enough difference to you, well... shut up, girls are finally flipping out over a series with a better moral than Twilight. Don't ruin it.

techmec21:

Now, to me, these books seem really similar. I liked Battle Royale significantly better than The Malnourished Games.

I asked the same question a few weeks ago. After some debate i decided to read the first book and read the synopses of the other two books cos i heard it goes quickly downhill after 1. I've read all of the first Battle Royale manga and it is definitely better. But that doesn't mean that The Hunger Games doesn't have enough originality to stand on its own. I really liked the whole build up and publicity that went into the Games version. Not as violent as i'd hoped but the ending with the dogs was a bit suprising!

I'm not sure if i want to go and see the film but i'm certainly curious. I think the best plan is to wait and hope that Bob covers it in a review.

It does really suck that Battle Royale isn't as recognised as it should be though....

From what I've read about Battle Royal, it's more about the Tournament itself than the characters. The Hunger Games books are the other way around, being told from a first person perspective. It's not just about the fighting but about rebellion.

VaudevillianVeteran:
But I think they are different movies, The Hunger Games seems to have a different fixation on the relationships and not simply the game, while Battle Royale is a very violent film which has a big focus on the game and survival. Not to mention that The Hunger Games is a 12A-PG13 and Battle Royale is a hard 18, The Hunger games is more accessible to younger people basically.

That's what I can tell at least.

I honestly don't think they should have kept it PG-13 TBH. I mean the whole emotional aspect isn't served by watering down the violence and what happens in the Arena is pretty brutal. I mean seeing a twelve year old girl transfixed by a spear shouldn't be hard to watch just because you were invested in the character, it should be hard to watch because it's a twelve year old girl with a spear in her chest! The whole point was to emphasize the brutality and indifference of the Capital, and from what I heard from N-chick's review there are a lot of parts were you can see them trying to get around making it an R movie: "Blood doesn't work that way".

Now I'm wishing Scorsese had directed this

kman123:
The Hunger Games is Battle Royale. For pussies.
And racists...if you come to think about it.

How's that last part?

Queen Michael:

ShadowStar42:
The Hunger Game and Battle Royal both took their core concept from Greek myth, so calling either a rip off doesn't really seem fair (unless you really want to go back to whoever wrote the story of the minotaur). Personally I really liked The Hunger Games precisely because it does focus on the politics of the situation and on the relationships between the characters.

I don't get it. What's the minotaur story got to do with Battle Royale? A hero killing a monster isn't exactly the same as school kids forced to kill each other. I mean, yeah, killing is involved, but apart from that...

It was inspired. I believe he inspired the main character. I probably won't watch it. Still need to see BR.

I don't know, the themes of both are fairly similar. Based on Greek myth, talks about the cultural glorification of violence through the use of children, etc. I wouldn't call it a ripoff, just very similar (in the same way that Avatar is really just a much weaker version of the same themes in Dune).

So I haven't read all the books, but can someone please explain to me why the hell the hyper-advanced supercity needs coal?

techmec21:
snip

I actually just read the book. My sister talked about it and left me the book so I read through it in a day. I also just read through 80 chapters of Battle Royale a couple days before that so yeah I can see where people are comparing the two.

I guess I might as well throw up a spoiler warning.

How popular one is compared to the others seems pretty obvious to me. Hunger Games was marketed as a book to teenagers and up, featuring a female protagonist. Already you're reaching out to a broader demographic then Battle Royale. Most of the fighting in hunger games wasn't even in the book. Nearly all the competitors were killed elsewhere. The fight that killed Rue was over in a paragraph or two. Guy stabbed her, he got shot with an arrow. More time was spent singing to her and pointing out how Katniss braided her hair with flowers as an act of rebellion. Battle Royale was very graphic. Brains on the ground, one lady scooping a persons brains back into their head, using duct tape to secure your organs to try and buy extra time, I can't even imagine those scenes playing out in hunger games. One appeals to a much harder crowd then the other.

Also in Hunger Games the contestants that outplayed people on smarts alone were just about all women. Rue, the girl from District 5 and Katniss were all shown to be the crafty ones that can escape and survive through their own merits while almost all of the guys were just strong and grouped together. Rue could hide well, was very agile, had knowledge of plants and berries to survive and had nearly perfect aim with a slingshot. The girl from district 5 was able to steal from everyone else without anyone noticing, even Katniss who is shown to have keen senses from hunting didn't notice when the girl stole food from her and Peeta, though she noticed food was missing after it was taken. Of course Katniss has basic knowledge of plants and berries, can track animals, is a perfect shot with a bow and arrow, can sleep in trees, and has great reflexes. The male contenders are Peeta who was shown to hide himself well in mud, and a guy from District 3 who was allowed to live with the strong guys because he knew how to reactivate mines. Once that plan didn't pan out he was killed off immediately.

Appealing to women, especially the teenage girl crowd, will gain you a LOT of popularity. Look at Twilight. Hunger Games was made for that crowd. Battle Royale really wasn't. Personally I liked Battle Royale more. I didn't dislike the Hunger Games but it didn't interest me enough to read the second or third book.

DVS BSTrD:
I honestly don't think they should have kept it PG-13 TBH. I mean the whole emotional aspect isn't served by watering down the violence and what happens in the Arena is pretty brutal. I mean seeing a twelve year old girl transfixed by a spear shouldn't be hard to watch just because you were invested in the character, it should be hard to watch because it's a twelve year old girl with a spear in her chest! The whole point was to emphasize the brutality and indifference of the Capital, and from what I heard from N-chick's review there are a lot of parts were you can see them trying to get around making it an R movie: "Blood doesn't work that way".

I haven't seen or read The Hunger Games yet, I'm going to invest in it when I can because the story does seem interesting for the emotional connection. But they actually watered down the Battle Royale manga significantly too, in a different way though. It's strange how they worked to get the violence and such toned down so much when there was such praises said about the original Hunger Games, I suppose it does come down to getting a wider audience.

I didn't realise that The Hunger Games was similar to Battle Royale, now I think I'll have a look at the former... interesting. I watched the film and read some of the manga, which is better in my view. Battle Royale doesn't have a monopoly on survival games, but they are still in the same broad genre I think.

Also, greatest troll ever:

image

Queen Michael:
I don't get it. What's the minotaur story got to do with Battle Royale? A hero killing a monster isn't exactly the same as school kids forced to kill each other. I mean, yeah, killing is involved, but apart from that...

In the common version of the myth, Athens had lost a war with Crete, and King Minos of Crete demanded a tribute from Athens as a sign of subjugation. So every year, Athens had to send seven young men and seven young women to Crete, where they would be sent into the Labyrinth and killed by the Minotaur.

When Theseus learned of this, he took the place of one of the young men, was able to navigate the Labyrinth with help from Minos' daughter Ariadne, and slew the Minotaur so no Athenian youths would ever be killed by the beast again. That's the basic gist of it.

In The Hunger Games, the capital of Panem is able to demand an adolescent boy and an adolescent girl from each of the conquered 12 Districts every year, and force them to fight and die in a spectacle. The message is clear: "We have our foot so firmly on your necks, you will give us your children to be slaughtered for our amusement, and there is nothing you can do about it."

DVS BSTrD:
From what I've read about Battle Royal, it's more about the Tournament itself than the characters. The Hunger Games books are the other way around, being told from a first person perspective. It's not just about the fighting but about rebellion.

VaudevillianVeteran:
But I think they are different movies, The Hunger Games seems to have a different fixation on the relationships and not simply the game, while Battle Royale is a very violent film which has a big focus on the game and survival. Not to mention that The Hunger Games is a 12A-PG13 and Battle Royale is a hard 18, The Hunger games is more accessible to younger people basically.

That's what I can tell at least.

I honestly don't think they should have kept it PG-13 TBH. I mean the whole emotional aspect isn't served by watering down the violence and what happens in the Arena is pretty brutal. I mean seeing a twelve year old girl transfixed by a spear shouldn't be hard to watch just because you were invested in the character, it should be hard to watch because it's a twelve year old girl with a spear in her chest! The whole point was to emphasize the brutality and indifference of the Capital, and from what I heard from N-chick's review there are a lot of parts were you can see them trying to get around making it an R movie: "Blood doesn't work that way".

Now I'm wishing Scorsese had directed this

kman123:
The Hunger Games is Battle Royale. For pussies.
And racists...if you come to think about it.

How's that last part?

I might be wrong here, but I think he meant that it's Battle Royale but with a lower proportion of non-whites.

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