Why does everyone love Battle Royale so much? I didn't like it!

Discussion in 'Asian Horror and Other Pleasures' started by DefJeff, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. DefJeff

    DefJeff Franca Stoppi's #1 fan

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Messages:
    3,112
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Hamden, CT
    So I am wondering why does everyone praise this flick? I don't understand. I have probably read a handful of bad comments on this movie, but the vast majority seems to think it is a masterpeice, I just don't see it.

    What is the point of building up characters throughout the movie only to have them die a very quick death not doing a single thing? For exampe,
    Those kids that hacked into the BR computer system and made those bombs.
    They were shown throughout the entire movie working hard, gathering supplies and shit, only to be
    gunned down by the kid who "joined for fun", I think that scene lasted a whole minute
    . What was the point of seeing them the whole movie? To show the movie is unflinching? Doubt it, my guess would be filler material, they didn't serve a single purpose that I could tell.

    How about that "kid who joined for fun"? Sure he killed a bunch of (mostly unimportant to the story) people, but they build him up as this major badass in the whole movie, only to have a VERY
    UN-dramatic death
    . Lame!

    What's up with the "I, I , I ... wanted to protect you.." "I, I.. love you.. I always have..." stuff after a few of the death scenes. This acutally happend more then once!, one time I could've taken, but after seeing it 2 or (maybe?) 3 times, it started to make me groan. I thought that was so corny.

    I also didn't particuarly like any of the characters, aside from the kid who joined for fun (sorry, I don't remember his name off hand). I thought most of the characters were merely average, with the main kid, Shuya, being a real shitty character.

    What I will give to the movie though, is that it had one or two cool death scenes
    that crotch stab is nice!
    , I found some of it humerous (the binoculars and lid as a weapon, ha!) and I did like the idea of the movie alot, I just didn't think it turned out nearly as great as most people say it is.

    Well, obviously I didn't find this movie fun at all. Ah well! Does anyone agree with me on this stuff?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2003
  2. Deaddevilman

    Deaddevilman Guest

    It certainly is not any type of masterpiece, but it does work for me as I have seen firsthand the decline of Japanese youth. I certainly got more out of it from having that experience.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2003
  3. Grim

    Grim Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2002
    Messages:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I can't really explain why I love this film, I just do. As for favorite characters, mine would be Kawada, the kick ass and take names guy with a heart. He was bad ass with that shotgun.
     
  4. Atmims

    Atmims Guest

    I thought it was alright, not bad but definetly a little hyped up.
     
  5. x666x

    x666x Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2002
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    131
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Canada
    It is just a lot of ultraviolence. Who said that we should even care about any sort of character developement. Just sit back and enjoy the violence.
     
  6. Nemesis

    Nemesis Guest

    i think it all goes to give it a more realistic unpredictable feel to the movie.. which is whats needed when you have a school room of kids let wild on an island..
     
  7. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    16,580
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Crashed
    :D

    Man, I got bitched at last time I posted such a thing. BR is an okay film, and no more. It's not "ultra violent" and really, it's pretty stupid. The praise heaped on it is way out of proportion to the product, imo. Welcome aboard the reality train ;)

    Now, it's not a TERRIBLE film, by the way. It's just an okay film that people fall over themselves about. I think the fact that it didn't get an R1 release actually helped it. Also, that it was so easy to get elesewhere.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2003
  8. poorlogic

    poorlogic Guest

    If you thought Battle Royale was bad, be sure to watch MTV on December 21 at 9 PM when they release Volocano High with Method Man, Snoop Dog and other ass-clowns dubbing all dialog. Don't get me wrong, I like hip-hop, but this is the dumbest idea I've ever heard of.

    Enter if you dare...

    http://www.mtv.com/onair/volcano_high/
     
  9. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,918
    Likes Received:
    670
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Illinois
    I think the quick deaths scenes are short and often pointless because everyone dying in this movie is pointless. That's what the entire movie is about. It's pointless to have a bunch of school kids shipped off to an island to kill each other. Which may seem moot, as you could just as easily make the point about sky diving into a volcano. But what I think it's saying it that there's a problem with today's youth and what they're currently doing about the problem isn't working. Which I certainly think is a good point to make, as it seems that in every culture there are a lot of people who's solutions to society's problems just aren't working but they're still pushing for them anyways.

    Although in the West we like to think that our lives mean more than our deaths; so a pointless death just means a pointless death. From what I understand of the Japanese a pointless death is perhaps the worst thing that could ever happen to you; so it's a much stronger statement for them. I think the movie is saying that the youth of today are wasting their lives. Which is what happens to most of the kids in the flix, they waste their lives.

    There are certainly a lot more violent movies, and certainly a lot more artsie movies. That point can always be made. But Battle Royale's pretty good. I hardly think it was designed to please anyone so I don't really see the point in pointing out it's more "subjective flaws." So another person doesn't like some other movie. Ho-hum. I'm more interested in the movies themselves then in what people think of them.
     
  10. DefJeff

    DefJeff Franca Stoppi's #1 fan

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Messages:
    3,112
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Hamden, CT
    Well, the reason I asked why everyone liked it so much is because when I got done with the movie, I was acutally surprised that THIS is the movie I hear everyone rave about over and over.

    I acutally like to read other peoples opinions on movies, that's why I visit this message board.

    You could be right about the whole "quick and pointless death" thing X-Human, but to me it seems like building up those characters was more like filler material.

    Another thing I could bring up which would seem like filler material is the whole "Danger Zone" thing. What was this in the movie for? It was never used once. I would expect at least ONE token head explosion from a danger zone.

    Dwatts, I think your right, I don't see this movie as "ultra violent" either. There were a few nice violent bits, but nothing outstanding.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2003
  11. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    16,580
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Crashed
    Well, I guess, unlike some, I just didn't really see the point beyond it being a bit of an action picture. We're living in times where if we can perceive some "meaning" in the film, then the film is assumed to have merit. It might be an interesting intellectual exercise, but for me, in the end I have to take the film for what it is. And as I said, in my case, it was an okay movie. Messages in films is all well and good - but is a good FILM?

    BR was able to generate all kinds of good word-of-mouth around the message boards. I think that was partly because it was seen as an "underground" movie that was, in reality, quite easy to get. It never hit mainstream, of course, although conversely, it did get the attention of mainstream genre fans.

    In real life, the idea of life being cheap, and school kids killing each other is, I suppose, quite shocking. But the film didn't transfer those feelings for me. They didn't look or act like kids. The film was nowhere near violent enough, imo. And then, they released a version with more CGI blood - and people even welcomed that! It seems quite contrary to what most people want (the film as intended.)

    Enough said, it's an okay film that some genre fans seem to have attached themselves too. It won't make you want to turn it off. But it might leave you wondering what the heck the fuss is about. I have one friend (fellow genre fan) whom watched this one with me, and he hated it.
     
  12. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    6,064
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Mississauga, ON, Canada
    I myself loved the film, I thought it was original and carried some meaningful social commentary, which are usually the main ingredients to a classic film. My only beef with it would be the ending, I'm not sure why the director chose to use that scene but it kind of lost some of the film impact for me. Overall though grade A film all the way.
     
  13. aoiookami

    aoiookami Demon Fetishist

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2001
    Messages:
    2,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Endsville, Canada
    the danger zones were in place so the kids couldnt just run and hide in some place the entire time. it forced them to move around the island and thus encounter each other.

    I love the movie too, btw. just the concept behind it, I guess its most poweful for me because I put myself in that situtation, and I wonder what I would do. Would you run and avoid everything and die when time is up? Kill youself? or go off and kill others to live?Kill your friends? I dont think many other movies made me think what I would do to that extent. maybe you didnt like the movie because you looked at it too objectively? Its just a great popcorn flick imo..
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2003
  14. DefJeff

    DefJeff Franca Stoppi's #1 fan

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Messages:
    3,112
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Hamden, CT
    See man, but the thing with the 'Danger Zones' was that it never came into play. The only ones who actually seemed to move because of the danger zones were Shuya's group, which was obviously just to keep the story moving.

    The others either

    -stayed put the whole time- ie. the girl who had the taser, the girls in the lighthouse (they had a whole house set up!), the boys who were making that bomb etc

    -moved because they wanted to kill- ie. the kid who joined for fun, the crazy girl

    -or moved because they wanted to find other friends to join up with.

    No one ever acutally moved because of the Danger Zone problem or at least if they did the movie never showed or bothered to mention it.

    I can totally understand where you guys are coming from who are saying that it's a good popcorn flick, a good action flick etc. but for me, it just didn't work as a good action movie at all.
     
  15. Deaddevilman

    Deaddevilman Guest

    Read the book by Koushun Takami, it details each characters background. I beleive it's been translated into English and is easily available. Here's a good interview with the director with some of his opinions on the film

    TM: Is Battle Royale a warning to the youth or advice?

    KF: (long silence) You know, both those words sound very strong to me, like things you would very active set out to do. But I didn't make the film which such strong thoughts in my mind. This film is a fable. The themes which are included in the film are very much realistic modern issues, youth crime is a very serious issue in Japan. It's not that I'm not concerned or not interested, but those are just the basis of the fable.

    TM: I asked specifically about it being a warning or an advice, because the film ends with a very strong message: "Run". It came across as being very positive.

    KF: That was the conclusion of the fable that was developed throughout the film. I guess it could be seen as a message. I took your question as having a much stronger meaning than just a simple message. That's why I answered that it wasn't particularly a warning or advice. To me, these are greetings to the young people. Those were my words to the next generation of young people, so whether you take that as a message or as a warning or advice is up to you as the viewer.

    TM: In the film you're taking these children, contemporary children, and putting them through wartime experiences. Maybe they are similar to the kind of experiences you yourself lived through in World War II or right after. Is there a reason behind this? Do you feel living through those experiences builds a person's character?

    KF: The young people's existence in the current time in this world presents different issues. To themselves as well as to others, the adults. Looking back to when I was fifteen I went through a certain period and experience. For this film I posed myself the question "How would that be for these young people?" I am fully aware that there is a generation gap between where I stand and where those kids stand. How we fill this gap was one of the issues we had to deal with during the actual shooting of this film.

    So I wondered what the significance of making this kind of film in today's Japan would be. What sort of result or conclusion would that bring? To be honest to you, that was something I had to wait for until the film was actually made. When I mentioned it wasn't as strong as warning or advice, I couldn't answer your question in a strong, positive way, that this was the message or that. It was just my way of talking to them, saying some words to the children.

    TM: Was it a problem for you that many children couldn't see the film as a result of the R15 rating it received from the ratings board?

    Because of my own experiences as a fifteen-year-old, and also through the original novel which sets the story around fifteen year olds and then the actors who were all cast around the age of fifteen - although there are differences, some are older - the R15 decision by Eirin naturally was something I couldn't accept. I did lodge a complaint and asked for a review.

    However before this issue with the censor board came to any kind of conclusion, we had an interjection from the parliamentarians who alledged that this film is very harmful to the youth. Then there was also the question cast by them as to the validity of the organisation and system of the censor board itself. Because Eirin is a self-regulatory censor board and board members are selected by the film industry. So I had to withdraw my objections against the censor board for the time being in order to fight the parliamentarians. Therefore the issues which are still pending with the board will have to wait until I get back to Japan after the festival.

    I want to explain just so there will be no misunderstanding. These censor board members are elected by the film industry. Japan went through an experience during the war of being oppressed by different government regulations as well as after the war, when we were subjected to a different kind of very painful experience of oppression by the occupational forces.

    The censor board has a role to play to actually appeal to society by self-regulating with a strong message: that we oppose any government regulation or repression as well as any restrictive measures by the police for example. In this sense I don't believe Japan is unique. This stance is prevalent all over the world.

    TM: You call the film a fable, but I feel it's certainly a political fable. It's very interesting that the politics of the government in this film are very conservative or reactionary and that they are the ideological opposite of the politics you questioned in your films from the sixties and seventies. There the politics seemed to be more progressive, wanting to rebuild Japan and move forward.

    If you talk about the reconstruction of Japan after the war, the most important objective for the government at the time was to really rebuild Japan, so in that sense you may consider the attitude of that government progressive. However if you put the spotlight on the people, also the situation I went through, I could not help being very interested in the fact that people were actually going in the opposite direction, in the interest of the government's banner of reconstruction of Japan. Because the government was very keen on, and pre-occupied with, the reconstruction of Japan and rapid economic growth.

    But I had doubts. Under that kind of situation where would the government be taking the whole nation? What direction are they taking us? And those were the question I could never shake off and I even felt resistance to what was going on. That was very much clear in my films of the seventies.

    TM: So with Battle Royale you're still asking basically the same question? Where are these politics taking us?

    Yes.

    TM: A strong theme in the film is the generation gap. Especially that the older generations feel that the younger generation no longer respect their elders. But in the film, many of the children's main motivation is a father or an uncle, an elder figure.

    The fact that adults lost confidence in themselves, that's what is shown in the film. Those adults worked very hard in the seventies in order to rebuild Japan. They went through that period working for the national interest. Of course there was a generation gap between the young and adults, even throughout that period, but consistently adults were in control in terms of political stability and whatever was going in the nation.

    However, since the burst of the bubble economy, these same adults, many of them salarymen and working class people, they were put in a very difficult position with the recession or economic downturn and all of a sudden most of them started to lose confidence in themselves. And the children who have grown up and witnessed what happened to the adults, their anxiety became heightened as well. So I put this film in this context of children versus adults.

    TM: It also seems to me that the children in the film are trying to do good towards their elders. For instance the stranger in the class constantly credits his father for something he is good at, another says he is able to make molotov cocktails because he was taught by his uncle and so on.

    For these boys, the older people are not right there by their side to give advice. They are in a very distant presence. They have gone off to an area from which they will never return. Take the father who hung himself. He told his son the message to "go for it" and "you will make it", but he is no longer there. In the classroom, the teacher is not even liked by his own daughter and then he loses his affection for the children who are the same generation as his daughter.

    All these things are all dramas unfolding in front of the children. But these adults behave at their own whim. They have their own thing to do, their own logics or arguments or emotion. Not to any specific purpose. They are just running wild as it were with their own feeling or whatever they wanted to do or didn't want to do. The impact of those adults' behavior on the children was something that was interesting.

    TM: The generation gap was also a theme in a film you made about ten years ago, called The Triple Cross. But there it seemed to be the opposite, you seemed to be on the side of the elders.

    Yes. You say that I was on the other side, but the young people in that film were not fifteen years old, they were all in their twenties. Even if they are in their twenties, they don't really have a significant purpose or a standing of where they wanted to go. And they would go really far off, to the point of anarchism in order to support the band that they had. Even if that meant at the expense of the lives of some of their friends.
     
  16. aoiookami

    aoiookami Demon Fetishist

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2001
    Messages:
    2,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Endsville, Canada
    near the begining of the movie Shuya and Noriko mention they need to keep moving because where they are is becoming a danger zone...
    but I pretty much agree with you, It would have been good to see someone trying to scramble to get out of a danger zone, but their collar going off. it should have been used more, yes
     
  17. Deaddevilman

    Deaddevilman Guest

    This statement had me perplexed, because it is very rare for the Japanese to say "I love you", and I didn't remember it being said. After watching it again last night, the subtitles do say I love you, but no one actually says it. What they do say in Japanese is " I like you/ I have always liked you". Seems someone was very liberal in their translation. Which, unfortunately, is on par with most Japanese releases.
     
  18. Trucci

    Trucci Guest

    I like the concept of putting kids on an island and forcing them to kill each other. That is reason enough for me to watch a movie. Also I watched this movie before it was hyped so much which probably helped me enjoy it more.

    Like Night of the Living dead, this movie kept me glued to the screen. You have to admit that it's not a movie that would be easy to turn off after you've gotten about a fourth of the way into it.
     
  19. h8sh8

    h8sh8 Guest

    Nominated for 7 japanese oscars...

    To the general public, this would seem 'ultra-violent'.
    For it's popularity, you need to take into account that the director Kinji Fukasaku is a big name director in Japan (and made 60+ movies) - Battle Royale was nominated for 7 Japanese Oscars including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay & Actor (yes 'Shuya'!) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0266308/awards - it is not an underground movie - just a foreign movie - it got a cinema release here in Australia and was reviewed on Australia's best movie review show on TV (http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/) - apparently US distributors didn't want be accociated with it though, therefore no release there. Even Fukasaku's movie (well a 1/3 his) Tora Tora Tora from the 70's is well known to English audiences - considered the best Pearl Harbour movie. For him to make this (and at aged over 70 when doing it) took a lot of balls I think - teenagers in a battle to the end. It is supposedly targeted at the Japanese youth to get them to take a look at themselves, so you can't expect too much gore. You need to look at it not from a horror/gore fan point of view. It didn't need anyone getting their head blown off in a danger zone - it would've been a dumb character to have done so. And it especially didn't need to just for the sake of violence or gore. Battle Royale has a lot more to say about the youth in society than heaps of other movies out there.
    The director's cut has a different ending too by the way for anyone disappointed with the ending.
     
  20. Deaddevilman

    Deaddevilman Guest

    Strangely enough... Kurosawa was removed from the film and replaced with Fukaksaku. IMHO and I have stated this before, this movie was made specifically for the Japanese and without having experienced Japanese culture for a considerable mount of time, it is difficult to enjoy the meaning of many of the scenes and the Japanese dialogue let alone get the entire movie.
     

Share This Page