The Retrospective: Battle Royale.
Batoru Rowaiaru (Original Title)
Director: Kinji Fukusaku
Release Date: 14th September 2001
Starring: Takeshi “Beat” Kitano, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto and Chiaki Kuriyama.
The first thing to clear up is that Battle Royale is NOT a Japanese Hunger Games. It’s not even close to it. They aren’t tributes in a dystopian world to fight against the other districts. You don’t get random packages sent down from sponsors with medicines or anything else you require. The main thing that doesn’t make this a Japanese Hunger Games is the fact it was released in 2000 and based on a book published in 1996 which is years before Suzanne Collins’s books. This is a class of people who have been friends for years who are chosen to be sacrificed to fight against each other for the amusement of others. In this, your weapon isn’t what you choose to risk to get it’s what you’re given and they aren’t all winners as you find out. The Battle Royale programme is used to keep control of children in times of serious austerity and a dystopian vision of Japan. Though it is satirical, people find the ultra-violence and comedy-horror-gore mishmash to be hard to stomach and to get past. It feels as though people focus on these more than the message that is supposed to be portrayed but isn’t that always the way?
The Retrospective: The Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight
Director: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: 24th July 2008
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Chin Han, Cillian Murphy, Nestor Carbonell and Anthony Michael Hall.
Batman Begins may have been the beginning of a new era of Batman but The Dark Knight is the clincher. With its realism amped up, its CGI less used and its creepy, emotional ride lengthened. This is what makes the Batman series what it is. This could be the most realistic form of villainy and terror in a comic-book film which could be the main reason it’s so affecting. The main publicity came to the film in a negative light however. With Heath Ledger passing away from a cocktail of prescription drugs while the film was in post-production. Though any publicity is good publicity, you feel they’d rather have the talent that is Heath Ledger than the resulting fame. It seemed everyone was sad that a young man died but after its release, everyone mourned more that such a talent went to waste.
The Retrospective: Batman Begins.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: 16th June 2005
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Gary Oldman, Tom Wilkinson, Ken Watanabe and Rutger Hauer.
This is it: the beginning of a saga, a legacy. Something that’ll be argued to be the best trilogy of all time. Arguably the best comic adaptation too. This is the beginning of it being brought to the masses and making it enjoyable for all, accessible for everyone, instead of just for nerds and geeks. They bring a whole new dimension to comics and a whole lot of new people. They’re now an in thing with The Avengers coming out this year and smashing box office records to gross an inordinate amount of money. The films beforehand were just trailers to the eventual build-up of that. Now Marvel may have all this success but DC have Batman and with Nolan at the helm, he brings it to life in a gritty and realistic way. The battle of the box office for The Dark Knight Rises begins soon. Marvel vs. DC just like usual.
When I came here I was looking forward to studying economics and finding out how the economy runs and how interesting it is and could be. One problem: it isn’t. In the early fortnight I had decided that I’d chosen the wrong course and I immediately regretted taking it but what else could I do? I just thought it was the whole adaptation to university life so I neglected and eventually rejected the idea of changing course until it finally got too annoying.
I had an essay to do on trade and comparative advantage. Something that’s easily summed up in a couple of paragraphs, wanted 1,500 words - it was shit. It made me realise that I have no interest at all in the course - with the exception of my ethics module - so I really should have changed. So begins my email spree where I emailed the English department and the film department because international politics was already full. No English A-level and too late to change to film means I can’t do either of the things that I’d probably enjoy. I’d definitely enjoy it more than what I do now.
It’s a shame because - thanks to a decision I made at sixteen years old - I may never do something I really enjoy for three years and possibly forever with my career. Too much pressure at a young age and the added pressure of doing everything in real time means that I can’t stay back ANOTHER year or that’s two years I’ve waited to go back into film. I have until September to decide if I want to change courses next year but that’ll leave me here for another year. If only life wasn’t so complicated and decisions weren’t so crucial at a stage of progression where you still haven’t fully developed all of your (dis)likes. Hopefully it’ll all turn out all right.
I really should…
Write something soon. I might tomorrow, if I can decide on something. Maybe it’ll be a film? Maybe it’ll be happy? It’ll probably be a rant about prejudices or censorship since they’ve been annoying me lately.