Let’s all jump into the Way Back Machine and travel back to the year 2000. This is where a film made it’s theatrical debut and would become a instant cult classic. With its explosive nature (in the form of Explosive GPS Collars), Battle Royale had a way to turn a few heads. Already being compared to the upcoming Hunger Games franchise, Battle Royale makes its official release on Blu-Ray.
With twelve years under its belt, how does the movie hold up? How is the transfer to Blu-Ray?
For those not familiar with Battle Royale, it was somewhat of a cult phenomenon. As anime finally had made its way into mainstream America, with the help of Pokemon and SailorMoon, a door was opened for Japanese cinema. This would become the start of some of the most memorable film moments in my adult life as I was subjected to The Ring, Juon, and Battle Royale.
What really set Battle Royale apart from the other films was its unique ability to be beautiful and gruesome all at the same time. It seemed to show a side of humanity that is both scary and endearing, two of the major aspects that drew me to Japanese cinema in both animated and live action formats.
The plot essentially breaks down a 9th grade class of students being put on a remote island with explosive collars. Only one may leave and that’s only if everyone else is dead. With everyone knowing each other, there is plenty of character development and personal journeys. Though in order to shake things up a bit there are two transfer students, one of whom has volunteered to be involved.
I’ve seen the film countless times, though this is the first viewing on Blu-Ray. The film has never looked this good before. The colors and textures really pop, giving a new dimension to the film. The only downside? The quality changes from time to time. There were a couple of shots where the film almost seemed blurry or even a little washed. Though those moments were few and far between.
The film features both a Japanese 7.1 Audio track and a 5.1 English dub; the film certainly brings the noise. While impressed that both were included, I should warn you that the English audio track can use a little help. Oftentimes you are left with a less-then-emotional performance from the English voice cast. However, in both versions the sound effects sounded pretty solid. I was the most impressed with the 7.1 track as it really seemed to add some depth to the environment.
It’s great to finally see this film released onto Blu-Ray. With its great picture and sound, it seems the film has been given a new life. Just note this film might not be for everyone, it features some pretty intense scenes and is pretty gory. Though being one of the my favorite films, I highly recommend it.