battle royale with cheese

A lot of people believe that there are no more original ideas. Everything that comes into creation through the medium of music, television, movies or any other type of art form has already been done.

It’s a strong position to take because you can easily reduce the argument to the question, “Where did all of the ideas come from then?”

If it were me that held such a strong view, I would simply respond to the reductive argument with, “The Force”. The problem being that people might think that I meant that weird tree in Avatar instead of the REAL force in Star Wars.

The most interesting case for intellectual theft comes in the form of the recent movie adaptation of The Hunger Games.

I have read the Hunger Games Trilogy, but will stick to discussing the first book and film now. The strong female protagonist, Katniss, gives a much need boost of independence to the female gender but falls into a rut similar to the horrible example set by Bella in the Twilight saga.  Many of you are thinking that I am a 24-year-old man with the pop culture mind of a 15-year-old girl.

You are correct.

The Hunger Games trilogy chronicles the tale of a sixteen year old girl living in a post apocalyptic version of the United States where the government annually organises a tournament where 24 teenagers fight to the death.

In the real world this is unimaginably horrible. In the fictional world of “Panema”, where I can totally suspend disbelief, it rocks.

In a lot of ways the scenario of The Hunger Games is pretty much like high school, but without the finality of an arrow going through someone.

Battle Royale is a Japanese novel also adapted to film with a similar premise revolving around one class of students being shipped off to a random island and forced to fight to the death. Also awesome in theory, not practice.

Both movies have dark sub-plots involving a corrupt dictatorship, mini Romeo and Juliet doomed romances, and a lot of teenage carnage. Battle Royale, which saw a large number of theatrical re-releases, is particularly more intense in this department.

Since the cinematic release of The Hunger Games there have been a lot of comparisons of these two movies because of parallel premises, but many more exist as well; to name a few Running Man, Logan’s Run and so on.

While many conservatively minded people are appalled by the vision of the future where children butcher each other, it has been around for decades.

With a history of violence between teenagers and evil dictatorships, we are left wondering, why is this so appealing?

Are audiences so perverse in that they love watching adolescence in a gladiatorial setting so that entire franchises can be set around it?


The only difference between us and our ancient Roman brethren is that we put it on a big screen instead of a coliseum, but even those are very similar. Sure the action taking place on the big screen is all fake, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting excited at the thought of some poor pubescent athlete getting taken down by a hammer.

Almost all sports are predicated on this love of combat and I only realised the simple goal of humanity after I saw Battle Royale and read the Hunger Games.

No matter how many sportsmanship campaigns orrules there are, or critics of these movies, one thing remains the same. People want to say to the other, ‘I am the master of my domain and I will fight you to the death so you know it too!.’ Whether there is a big piece of metal in the shape of a bowl at stake or your life, people want to win. And where there is competition you will find fans rooting for your victory or your violent failure.

All in all, I think that the Hunger Games/ Battle Royale sensation is an awesome example of how much people fear, what seems like, the inevitable return of gladiator competition.


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