The excellent film site /Film (Slash Film) reports that Anchor Bay has picked up the rites to release Battle Royale and Battle Royale II films.
Even thought the films were fine campy additions to films, I’m not sure if the campy, over the top, (kind of low tech) effects are going to lend themselves to 3D, but the important news here are that the films may finally make it to theaters in the United States. The expected release date is 2011.
Here is the trailer for those of you unfamiliar:
Beat Takeshi (Takeshi Kitano) is fabulous in this as you can see from the closing line about it being against the rules for him to kill the kids.
The basic story is that the government comes up with this plan to use fear to control the growing incidences of crime among minors by creating battle royales in which students must kill each other to survive. If they don’t participate, they are killed by an explosive collar locked around their necks.
Since these kids are all from the same class, they have a history with each other which adds an element to the drama (especially in the book version). Issues of love, dating, suicide, parenting, bullying, fashion, friendship, loyalty, and Japan’s history all play a role in the interactions of the participants in the Battle Royale. The novel goes into the back stories of the participants, and adds a lot of believability to the story.
I do recommend reading the book if you have the chance. There is an English version of Battle Royale: The Novel that is worth reading as well as a graphic novel
however that’s based more on the movie than the novel.
If you have some Japanese language skills and want to give it a try, here is a link to the Japanese version. You can probably find it pretty cheap at Book Off or one of the other big Japanese used book stores if you want to give it a read. There is also a graphic novel version of Battle Royale available.
Right now the Hunger Games book series is quite popular and being adapted as a film. I don’t know for sure that Hunger Games is directly influenced by Battle Royale, but the similarities are incredible, and now that Hunger Games is becoming such a huge property it may be worth it for fans to see its primary influence.
(If anybody has a point by point comparison between the two, please feel free to link to it in the comments.)
The point is that Battle Royale will get some more exposure in the US and hopefully prompt people to read the book.
I read the book in Japanese a long long time ago. I really wish, though, that I had been quick enough to be the English translator for the book. It is still one of the best books I’ve read in either language, and I highly recommend it as a way to see into some of the social problems that exist in Japan and are still ignored by mainstream media.
The article on /Film can be found here: SlashFilm’s Battle Royale May Come to the US in 3D