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Influence, Homage, or Theft?

Kickoff Poll! Did A New Hope steal from The Hidden Fortress?

  • They stoles it, Precious!

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Heavisyde

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I watched Battle Royale not too long ago for the first time, a lot of similarities with The Hunger Games, although I think I'm one of the few people that preferred The Hunger Games over BR. THG author claims to never have heard of or watched Battle Royale...
The general premise is quite similar, but the plot and characters are very different, so I'd say it's more of an influence than theft.
 

TM2YC

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THG author claims to never have heard of or watched Battle Royale...
I think in a lot of cases people will say that just so they aren't inviting legal action from a property they definitely cribbed from, or giving people an easy pigeon hole. The amount of stick Oasis still get for "just photocopying the Beatles" when they were totally honest and said the Beatles were a massive influence, covered their songs and got the Bootleg Beatles to be their support act at one point. Then again ELO have built an entire career out of making songs that sound like Sgt. Pepper and nobody minds. I sure I remember Jack White claiming early on that he'd never listened to Led Zeppelin when people were comparing their riffs... then went on to appear in a movie hanging out with Jimmy Page etc.

Another one I just thought of...

ysh+boy[1].jpg


Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear (1985) vs Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

YSH obviously has elements from 'Temple of Doom' having also come from Spielberg's Amblin, Paramount, ILM etc. It was written by Chris Columbus, who went on to direct the first two HP movies. The similarities are obvious, it's set at a boarding school with a mystery to solve involving the teachers, there is a Snape type character, a Dumbledore professor, an exact duplicate of Malefoy and young Watson look identical to Harry. You'd say Columbus was just stealing from himself, except of course he didn't write/create Harry Potter.


Harry Potter is also The Worst Witch and Rincewind from Discworld with the innovation that Harry isn't completely sh*t at magic.



^ I'd forgotten Tim Curry played wizards in both those things.
 

Heavisyde

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Harry Potter is also The Worst Witch and Rincewind from Discworld with the innovation that Harry isn't completely sh*t at magic.
I guess Seamus got that role instead.
 

mnkykungfu

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Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) versus Harry Steele and the Secret of the Incas (1954)

Steele-y-Jones.jpg
Alright, well the audience score for this was split between Homage and Theft, but I'm going to say.... it was partial Theft. George Lucas has a history of cribbing pretty directly from other, older work and not acknowledging it. Now, you can decide whether he's a dirty dog, justifiably avoiding lawsuits, or genuinely doesn't know where his ideas come from. Whichever the case, there are definitely parts in Indiana Jones that are directly lifted from Secret of the Incas. But Spielberg always brings his own magic to the table, and I think his direction turns this into something that's more trying to show what's cool about old pulpy serials rather than directly reproducing specific ones. Mostly.
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New matchup, inspired by @Heavisyde : The Hunger Games (2012) versus Battle Royale (2000)

Despite author Suzanne Collins denying she had an awareness of Battle Royale at all, accusations of plagiarism (to varying degrees) have hung around regarding the two stories. I feel like a lot of people have probably heard about this before and already have a rough opinion on it, but I think it's worth really digging in to.

On the surface, the two films look different. Of course, the same can be said for Infernal Affairs and The Departed, which is a direct remake of that film. Like The Departed, The Hunger Games is a Hollywood movie with a much bigger budget than the Asian film. They of course change the time and place to be a setting supposedly more identifiable and appealing to a Western audience. So no, The Hunger Games and Battle Royale don't look very similar.

But many people have pointed out that of course the concept is extremely close, beyond just "televised death game" like The Running Man or Death Race 2000. Beyond that, the story beats have many similarities, and even the characterizations and attitudes of several major characters. I'll let everyone do their own research, but if you're too lazy (and don't mind spoilers), other enterprising individuals on the internet have already compiled a list:

Major spoilers for Battle Royal MANGA (which was released years before the HG book too) and the ENTIRE Hunger Game series follows:

1. Teens pit against each other in a death match. There can only be only victor. They must all kill each other. The locations change, every few years in BR, yearly in HG.
2. The event is televised. People place bets. There are rich people/sponsors in both.
3. Kids in BR have to wear collars as trackers. HG they changed the trackers into inserted microchips. The contestants are then monitored from a central control station.
4. There are duffel bags in BR. Much like the backpacks in HG. You don't know what's inside. In BR one of the main characters gets a useless boomerang, like how Rue gets a pretty useless slingshot in her bag.
5. Main love interest is wounded high in the leg. Wound becomes infected. The main character risks their lives to save the love interest once that wound becomes infected. They get a shot of medicine and heal up.
6. In BR they meet up with a past winner who mentors them in the game, much like in Hunger Games where they have a past winner mentor them.
7. There are zones in BR, to show the area. At certain times these zones will become danger zones. Much like in Catching Fire and the arena is built as a clock and certain zones go "off" at certain times.
8. In a side story of Battle Royale, one of the kids goes off looking for his unrequited love. It's mentioned in the notes of Battle Royale how this would be a great marketing strategy for money, much like Haymitch advises Crane to use it as a marketing strategy.
9. In BR they announce all the deaths over PA system. In Hunger Games they changed it to images in the sky.
10. In Battle Royal they devise the plan to use two signal fires, then a series of bird calls to signal one another. Sound familiar a la Rue and Katniss with signal fires and mockingjay bird calls?
11. One of the characters in BR, Mimura, is a genius that devises a plan to blow up the main center in order for escape from the island perimeter guards. In doing so he uses hundreds of feet of rope that needs to be connected to a tree. Remind anyone of Beetee and his wire to tree force field explosion plan to escape from the island?
12. In one part of BR the main character poses a group of dead girls, clasping their hands together to show their unity and friendship despite their demise in the game. Like Katniss posing rue in defiance of the Capital, no?
13. In BR it's mentioned that if past winners give them trouble, they purposely get them addicted to morphine. Similar to the idea of the Morphling addicts in HG.
14. In the end of BR, the main, contender they face has acquired a bullet proof vest he took off someone he killed. Much like Cato and his body armor.
15. In BR the lovers survive, and they're kept alive. People have the chance to turn them in, but as mentioned by one of these people, they stand as a symbol of hope to others. Like Katniss and Peeta after they win.

First of all, sickness. In BR, Noriko Nakagawa gets terribly sick with a fever (remember that) and Shuya/Shogo have to risk their own lives to get medication (or to a clinic) for Noriko. She is on the brink of death.
Then, in THG, Peeta Mellark gets terribly sick with a fever and Katniss has to go out and risk her life to get meds for Peeta.
Why does that sound familiar?

Second, the bird call. In BR, Shogo gives Shuya a bird whistle for communication whilst the two are split up. Shogo explains to Shuya that if he blows into the whistle, they shall be reunited. (I believe it was Shogo to Shuya, idk. I may be wrong. But someone gave someone a bird whistle nevertheless.)
Then, in THG, Rue tells Katniss a special "mockingjay call" to communicate from opposite sides of the arena (whilst the are split up). If Katniss whistles the Mockingjay call, they shall be reunited.

And of course, in both novels and/or films (I haven't seen the BR film), there is the surprise ending with more than one victor (only one is supposed to be victorious. And in both novels, the two who win are a boy and a girl.) There is of course the sadistic leader of all this (President Snow for THG, Sakamochi for BR) for both, and they seem to be very much alike. And then there is that one group that everyone is afraid of (Mitsuko Souma's gang for BR, and the Careers for THG)

Those are the main things that I noticed that instantly brought similar Hunger Games incidents to mind. There are also a ton of small things: One of the girls in BR pretends to be helpless in order to trick and kill (like Joanna in HG). At one point in BR they create a makeshift bow, (reminded me of Gale telling Katniss to make a makeshift bow). Brilliant hacker kid in BR tries to hack the collars (bomb collars), reminds me of the kid in Hunger Game who reactivates the mines (which explode). At one point in BR a kid throws some kind of arrow head at the hand of the contestant holding an automatic, to protect the girl he loves. Reminded me of Katniss and her arrow to Cato's hand to protect Peeta. The "mentor" in BR is the son of a quack doctor, sort of like how Katniss's mom is an apothecary. This knowledge helps them out, especially with the leg wound. Anyone who even speaks out against the program in BR is terminated/taken to prison, just like in HG.

There are undoubtedly cultural issues at play here, where Western audiences will not get all of what is implied in the Japanese film. I think that may influence how people tend to see details in The Hunger Games that they may not in Battle Royale. All that said, I'll leave it to others to compare for themselves... Was it an Influence, an Homage, or Theft?
 
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Dwight Fry

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Theft. One of the many things that stole from Battle Royale, only this one was a masive success and the rest were mostly B-movies.
 

Jrzag42

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I never saw Hunger Games, but as a dumb kid I refused to watch it and got mad at anyone who liked it because it wasn't original.
 

Racerx1969

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I completely forgot about Battle Royale, and don't think I ever saw it--just was vaguely aware of it. Yeah, that sounds a lot like outright theft.
 

Hymie

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Definitely theft. Collins can say whatever she wants, the film was definitely on US television in the timeframe when she would have been writing her novel. Too many coincidences occur for it to be anything else.
 

TM2YC

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I'm not saying that when I saw 'The Hunger Games' I didn't also think "This reminds me of 'Battle Royale'" but they're both part of a sub-genre of political/sci-fi/horror fiction e.g.

The Most Dangerous Game (1932 film) A group are trapped on island and hunted for entertainment.
Lord of the Flies (1954 book) School kids trapped on an island hunt and kill each other.
Star Trek: The 'Arena' episode (1967) Kirk and "The Gorn" are trapped on a planet and forced to fight by powerful aliens.
Rollerball (1975) Players compete in a deadly arena run by a totalitarian future government as a form of entertainment.
Escape from New York (1981 film) Snake Plissken trapped on an island and forced to kill others via an exploding neck device fitted by a totalitarian future government.
The Running Man (1987 film) Arnie is trapped in Los Angeles and forced to kill others by a totalitarian future government as a form of entertainment (he also gets fitted with an exploding neck collar).
Deadly Prey (1987 b-movie) Kidnapped men are trapped in a forest and hunted by an evil Colonel.
Chopper: Song of the Surfer (1989 comic) Rebellious "Skysurfer" Chopper competes in a deadly race where him and his other competitors are slaughtered by a totalitarian future government as a form of entertainment. Great 2000AD comic from Judge Dredd/A History of Violence creator John Wagner.
Button Man (1992 comic) Harry Exton hunts and kills other "Button Men" for the entertainment of the rich. Another great 2000AD comic from John Wagner which keeps nearly being made into a movie by the likes of Nicolas Winding Refn and Brian Helgeland.

There must be lots of other examples (many more from 2000AD at least) but of course it all goes back to 'Gladiators in the Colosseum' and updating that to speak about a modern context, extreme TV, reality TV, hard right regimes etc. That ancient Roman iconography is used heavily in Hunger Games. Almost all of the above examples feature the protagonist(s) rebelling against the control of (and/or taking revenge on) those who have placed them in the deadly arena.

So I don't think it's "theft" because both properties are drawing on the same influences and I'm not aware of it being a deliberate homage. But it's difficult to imagine that the HG author wasn't being influenced by BR, whether they want to acknowledge it or not. I'd say "Influence" but the word influence should be rendered in a shifty looking font ;) .

By the way, 'Lord of the Flies' was used on the poster to promote the movie back in the day:

0ab7d43a-3b26-5922-81d4-6afc0b94b9bd.jpg


I don't think I've rewatched 'Battle Royale' since the original cinema release. I convinced a friend to go see it with me, I came out smiling and laughing at the dark satire, he left ashen faced and disgusted at the depths to which films had apparently sunk :LOL: . I'll have to see it again some time.
 

TM2YC

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Oh and now I've mentioned 2000AD :) ^ and following the discussion from this thread... did Marvel copy their studio title card intro from the comic book flipping intro to 1995's 'Judge Dredd'? (one of the few good parts of that movie). Sorry best quality I could find:

 

mnkykungfu

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Oh and now I've mentioned 2000AD :) ^ and following the discussion from this thread... did Marvel copy their studio title card intro from the comic book flipping intro to 1995's 'Judge Dredd'? (one of the few good parts of that movie). Sorry best quality I could find:

Sidebar on the comic intros.... personally I think it's debatable. The Marvel logo didn't just show old comics, it showed key panels from that particular character's history. Eagle-eyed superfans would see a quick tribute to the broad strokes of the character, connecting the live action they were about to see to the comic roots, flipping by in almost animated form. There's kind of a tradition of that going back awhile.

Take the Wonder Woman TV show for example, showing comic panels representing her key features, then merging it into the live action.

They tried to do a similar thing in The Spirit pilot.

And also The Return of Swamp Thing, maybe more directly with actually showing specific comic panels, like the early MCU intro.

All of these pre-date the Judge Dredd film. I'd say that while that or the others may have been an influence, it's also just following a general tradition. Plus, it's just kind of common sense marketing to connect your new product to the existing fanbase. It's possible all of these were thought of independently because it's just a natural way to present it.
 
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