Judging by the box office and cultural impact, I am the last person in America to watch The Hunger Games. I’ve got my excuses for why I haven’t seen it yet. First, when it came out in theaters, I was busy helping coaching in the state basketball tournament. Secondly, I have a woman who lives at my house and is related to me by marriage that sees the description of a movie containing the words dystopian, science fiction, post-modern, and battle to the death and loses interest very quickly. This is not meant as a knock on my wife (if I wanted to do that, I’d snarkily mention that both “8 Seconds” and “Urban Cowboy” would reside in her top 10 favorite movies list). As going to the movies by myself isn’t my favorite thing to do, I wind up watching a majority of movies once they are released on DVD.
As you, no doubt know, Hunger Games is based on the Suzanne Collins novel of the same name. Every year, each of the 12 districts that make up Panem sends to one male and one female “tribute” to the Hunger Games which is a televised spectacle in which the 24 children battle to the death until there is only one victor.
Admittedly, the movie is much better than I thought it was going to be. Following the success of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, Hollywood seemed desperate to take popular literary franchises and turn them into big screen cash. The last big literary franchise – the Twilight series – figuratively and literally… sucked.
I’m not going to go into the details of the plot because, surely, you’ve already seen the movie. Heading into the movie, the biggest question I had was how big of a Battle Royale rip boff was this movie going to be? In fact, knowing I was finally going to watch the Hunger Games this week, I re-watched Battle Royale (review here) last week so I could make a fair comparison.
It’s not as blatant of a rip-off as I expected. There were some elements that were similar, but more that were different than I expected given all of the “The Hunger Games is a Battle Royale rip off” articles I read on the internet. For a true comparison, check out this io9 blog post comparing the two.
Last week, in my review of Battle Royale, I ended with the following
While I’ve yet to see The Hunger Games, I’m putting the odds at 1,000-to-1 that it’s a better movie than Battle Royale. If you haven’t yet seen The Hunger Games, do yourself a favor and check this one out first. If you (likely) have already seen The Hunger Games, go check out the (likely) superior movie that it stole the storyline from.
Now that I’ve seen The Hunger Games, I can definitively say Battle Royale is the superior movie. I’m happy to say, though, the gap is significantly closer than I suspected and The Hunger Games isn’t as big of a rip off as I initially thought it would be.