Have any of you ever seen the movie Battle Royale? This was a Japanese movie filmed in 2000 by director Kinji Fukasaku based on a very popular novel. To summarize, in the near future, the Japanese government takes the lowest rated school of ninth-graders (i.e. having the most delinquents), ships them to an island and lets them fight... to the death! It was amazing! It was epic and intense and kept you guessing at every turn. The characters were interesting and it was just a good overall film.
Check out the trailer here:
On a side note, I wasn't as impressed with the sequel (Battle Royale 2).
But, I live in America, where we can't seem to come up with anything original or unique. So we rip off other peoples ideas and call it our own. And it seems most Americans are so desperate for entertainment, moviegoers will support anything Hollywood shoves down our throats hard enough.
Today's case in point: Hunger Games.
Hunger Games is based on a novel, where people in the future select children from ages 12 to 18 from each of the twelve districts to fight in the annual Hunger Games competition... to the death! Does any of this sound familiar?
Check out the trailer here and tell me which version of bloodthirsty children killing each other do you prefer, Japanese or American?
I had so many problems with this movie, I don't even know where to begin. But because I feel writing is so important to a movie, let's start there.
Call me silly, but I sort of like to be surprised or maybe kept guessing when I watch a movie. “What will happen next???” “Will they be okay???” “How will they get out of this???” After seeing this movie, I'm thinking about playing the lottery, because it really made me feel psychic! Somehow, (perhaps magically), I was able to predict nearly every twist and turn, even though the writing makes no sense!
Now in defense of Hunger Games, I have never read the original novel. Generally, American movies based on novels tend to be very loosely based, so there might be something with a bit more substance on the written page that never got conveyed. For example, why doesn't every town riot when their children are taken away to be killed? And this has been happening peacefully for seventy-four years? Or how can any 12 year old little girl expect to defeat an 18 year old boy in a death match? Or how can you realistically train children to become brutal killers in the space of three days? And beyond that, there is an endless stream of horrible cliche moments.
But let's just say for a moment, I can somehow ignore the aneurism the bad writing gave me, and let's examine the characters. Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, and while she is not as horrendous to watch as Kristen Stewart (from Twilight), she is still extremely bland. Speaking of Twilight, of course there is a love interest! Josh Hutcherson plays Peeta. In terms of a love story, this one drifts somewhere between meh and forced. It's a half tic above Twilight. In other words, I don't hate the characters that much.
The rest of the cast got a paycheck. And for the record, I'm really starting to think Woody Harrelson is stalking me.
Then finally, we have director Gary Ross, putting the shaky cam icing on the top of a very bland cake.
Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie an 84%, and there are a few sequels in the works. Did I see a different movie than the rest of the country??? Can someone please tell me why this is so popular??? I'm not saying it's the worst movie I've ever seen, (that award is still held by Twilight and the George Clooney Batman and Robin), but this filled me with lots of WTF's.
So please, stop promoting movies with this kind of blah, and start supporting good writing, like Limitless, or Avengers, or Doctor Who, or Looper, or Zombieland,...
Or even Sharknado!