April 19, 2012

Movie Review: Battle Royale

Lance Cpl. Sean Dennison
Desert Warrior Staff

Battle Royale is the OG Hunger Games.

Beginning as a novel in 1999, with a movie adaptation following shortly afterwards, the novel tells of a dystopian future where high school students are randomly selected to partake in a Darwinistic bloodbath called The Program. Officially touted as a military research program, it is also used to muscle the population into the government’s complete and unwavering control. Handed weapons and given maps and explosive tracking devices, the students choose their battles, with themselves, against each other and against their captors.

That’s the easy part of this summary.

More difficult to peg down are the complex relationships of the characters, predominately at ages just cusping on adulthood. They’re kids thrown into a violentally surreal world where adult situations confront them. The reactions range from complete mental breakdowns, wanton rage, and, in one of the movie’s more bleakly humorous scenes, food poisoning.

While The Hunger Games devotes its energies exploring its own world, Battle Royale merely uses its setting as medium for the exploration of the human psyche when face-to-face with death. Critics deride this method as a form of navel-gazing or a thin excuse to shock audiences, and in many ways they’re right. However, there is something deeper brewing in the film, something people rarely willingly confront: the evil within themselves.

In short, this is way better and more meaningful than The Hunger Games

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