Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some Words Regarding Battle Royale 3D & Anchor Bay's News

Oh boy. It was only a matter of time before I had a chance to share feelings on this. Seeing as how Toei wasn't going to skimp out on making even more money off of one of their biggest releases. And they have an all-too-willing Kenta Fukasaku at the ready to shill his father's (the late, great Kinji Fukasaku) final completed work for a tenth anniversary. We just knew that something like a Japanese equivalent to the US 3D upconversion boom that came about in the wake of AVATAR was bound to happen if they couldn't muster up the will to create a wholly new film in 3D themselves. Harsh words, I agree. But the fact remains that the original Battle Royale film, while awash in arterial spray & hyperviolence (between kids, no less) was filmed in a most old-school Panavision style that only feels fit on a 2D plane.

The very idea of it being retouched without his father present is the first of what I suppose troubles this writer. Had Kinji lived to see this day, and had gone along with it, I would have gone ahead and allowed him his Jorge moment. But as it stands, I suppose this makes perfect sense as Kenta (who penned BR's screenplay, based on Takami Koshun's surprise hit novel) has shown himself to be nothing less than a schlockmeister with only name recognition, and access to slightly higher budgets than say, Noboru Iguchi, who's films are done with near nothing, and are infinitely more effectively entertaining. (personal note: My breaking point with young Fukasaku was his version of Sukeban Deka, featuring idol, Aya Matsuura. Submitted my papers promptly after.) So at least Kenta knows where he is coming from.

But for such an immense experience as BR still is, this is still nothing less than naked opportunism. Far more exploitative than many may accuse the film of actually being, and well below the film's ability to shock, even today.

And as for Nippon Cinema's post regarding the long-delayed acquisition of the Battle Royale films (1 & Kenta's ill-fated 2) via legendary horror-friendly company, Anchor Bay, I still feel as if this is another major case of too-little-too-late. All release controversy aside, the original BR has had an entire ten years to flourish as an import (and likely notoriously popular download), even going so far as to being a staple of Hot Topic for nearly five years now. So a release like this, while welcome, feels a lot less a reason to celebrate, so much as a reason for most western BR fans to merely shrug at it. Truth is, that multiple companies have been selling English-Subtitled versions of these films for years (including the Battle Royale SE releases, with additional scenes, and behind the camera footage.).

So yes, Toei found another way to round up the cash cow for another ride (I'm sure the bidding numbers were absurd.), but seeing as how BR has possibly become the first true internet cult phenomenon of the 2000s, I'm not sure why it's any real shakes.

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