Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Hunger Games vs Twilight vs Battle Royale

It is so often the case that when a new book or film comes out, it is compared to a similar predecessor. More often than not, it's essential to give people a clue as to what they are letting themselves in for. The Hunger Games has striking similarities with both Twilight and Battle Royale, but is it the new version of either of them? Well, no.

Firstly, the plot of Twilight is completely different to The Hunger Games. Apart from the obvious lack of werewolves and vampires (you can see there whose team I'm on!), the focus is entirely different. Granted, they are both young adult fiction and they both have a pretty complex love triangle. But the similarities end there. While the love triangle in Twilight is the central focus of the plot and other stuff happens around it, The Hunger Games is a dark look at a dystopian future with an incredibly strong female lead in Katniss Everdeen - it just happens to have a love triangle going on at the same time.

The main comparison though is with Battle Royale - a story which brilliantly looked at a Japan that forced a class of students each year to kill each other until only one survived. In this, The Hunger Games is the same - simply put, it is children forced to kill each other or die.

The most notable difference though is the style of each. Battle Royale is a horror film, plain and simple - it is a blood bath of epic proportions that examines the different reactions people would have if put in that scenario. Would you kill yourself, kill everyone else, form alliances or just sit and hide? In The Hunger Games, there is a whole horrific level of reality TV added. The 24 chosen participants are not only forced to kill each other, but many are trained for the eventuality and all of them are forced to put on a show. There are days between the reaping (when the 24 are chosen) and the actual start of the games and in this time, they learn new skills, perfect those they already have and are interviewed on live TV for all of Panem to see. The children in Battle Royale are drugged and wake up with a bomb round their necks.

So if you want a clever horror film with a blood-bath and fantastic lost-in-translation subtitles, check out the film of Battle Royale. If you want the back-story and a more graphic look at each of the class members, then read the book. If, on the other hand, you want an easy to read piece of fantastic young adult literature which is dark and gripping with a phenomenonally strong and brilliantly flawed heroine, check out The Hunger Games.

Roll on March 23rd for the film...

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