Noted Peppa Pig enthusiast Quentin Tarantino has, for some reason, entered the decade-old debate about whether The Hunger Games is an homage, a rip-off, or one of those neat independent ideas that happens to match up with another piece of art. Without surprise, he comes down firmly in the “rip off” camp.
“I’m a big fan of the Japanese movie Battle Royale, which is what Hunger Games was based on. Well, Hunger Games just ripped it off. That would have been awesome to have directed Battle Royale,” Tarantino told Dana Carvey on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
It’s a snipe that author Suzanne Collins dealt with a lot when her book first became a smash hit and later went on to launch a massive series of blockbusters. In response to the torrent of criticism, Collins said that she hadn’t heard of Koushun Takami’s book or the movie that was based on it, which is a totally understandable position to be in. For one, it’s only the high concept of children fighting to the death under oppressive government rule that Hunger Games and Battle Royale share. For two, one of the reasons Tarantino and others are so protective of Battle Royale is that it’s underseen — a sequel-spawning hit in Japan but a cult classic for Americans. In recognizing how niche it is for Americans, it makes it more likely that Collins really had never heard of it.
Yet here we are again. Hopefully, the debate won’t burn too brightly this time, even as casting for Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes heats up.