Review: Battle Royale (Limited EditionUHD)
UHD Blu-ray: Battle Royale (2000)
Battle Royale: the film that not only spawned a sequel, but is also responsible for a glut of video games which are either a “Battle Royale game”, or at the very least have it embedded as one of their playable modes.
It wouldn’t surprise me if a large portion of the PUBG or Fortnite players have never heard of the film, let alone watched it, but thankfully Arrow Films have now released the definitive version for everyone to enjoy.
Based on the 1999 novel by Koushun Takam, a future Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.
Over the course of 3 days, 42 students battle it out with each other on a deserted island, with only the random limited supplies and weapons they were allocated before being released on the island to help them survive.
Escape is impossible due to the explosive bands they have put on their necks, which will detonate should they try to leave the island, and there can only be 1 person left standing at the end of the 3 days or else everyone is killed.
Some choose to still find a way to escape, some attempt to survive with groups of friends, while others just go off on a frenzied killing spree. Whatever they choose though, the outcome is usually very bloody.
Controversial upon its original release, Battle Royale still packs an emotional punch, especially as you watch kids doing everything they can to survive while also battling the mental demons of their actions.
Featuring the Original Theatrical Version and Special Edition Director’s Cut of Battle Royale from the original camera negative, as well as 2 versions of the sequel (‘Requiem’ Theatrical Version and the ‘Revenge’ Special Edition), a CD featuring the complete score to Battle Royale by Masamichi Amano and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, and a host of informative special features about both films, and you have a set that is a must buy for all fans of the films, as well as anyone who is new to them.
The 4K visuals are pin sharp, bringing to life every crevice of the island and highlighting the emotions on the faces of the kids as they desperately try to survive. A 5.1 DTS-HD master audio envelopes you, keeping you guessing where dangers may be as sounds appear around you, before filling the room as the weather changes and storms come in.
The sequel isn’t well received compared to the original, and while I too find it an unsatisfactory experience, I must admit that this new UHD release did bring an extra level of enjoyment while watching it.
Beautifully packaged with superb transfers and special features which will keep you informed and entertained for a very long time, this UHD release should sit proudly within anyones collection.
4K ULTRA HD LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:
- Brand new 4K restoration of the Original Theatrical Version and Special Edition Director’s Cut of Battle Royale from the original camera negative by Arrow Films, approved by Kenta Fukasaku
- 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation of both versions of Battle Royale in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the Battle Royale II: Requiem theatrical cut and the Battle Royale II: Revenge extended cut
- Original 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 stereo audio
- Optional English subtitles
- Original soundtrack CD for Battle Royale [Limited Edition Exclusive]
- Kinji Fukasaku: Man of Rage, an exclusive 120-page monograph on the director by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes [Limited Edition Exclusive]
- Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new essays by Matt Alt and Anne Billson and archival articles
- Exclusive Battle Royale collectors’ Trump Card set [Limited Edition Exclusive]
- Reversible poster with new artwork [Limited Edition Exclusive]
DISC ONE – BATTLE ROYALE: ORIGINAL THEATRICAL VERSION (4K UHD BLU-RAY)
- Brand new audio commentary by critics Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp
- Coming of Age: Battle Royale at 20, an exclusive new 42-minute documentary about the legacy of Battle Royale
- Bloody Education: Kenta Fukasaku on Battle Royale, a brand new exclusive interview with the film’s producer and screenwriter
- The Making of Battle Royale: The Experience of 42 High School Students, documentary featuring footage from the shooting of the film and cast and crew discussions
- The Slaughter of 42 High School Students, a look behind the scenes of the shoot
- Behind the scenes footage with comments from the cast and crew
- Filming on Set, a look at the shooting of key scenes from the film
- Conducting Battle Royale with the Warsaw National Philharmonic, archive footage of Masamichi Amano conducting the soundtrack rehearsal
DISC TWO – BATTLE ROYALE: SPECIAL EDITION DIRECTOR’S CUT (4K UHD BLU-RAY)
- Shooting the Special Edition, on-location featurette with footage of the cast and crew reuniting for the shoot of the Special Edition
- Royale Rehearsals, featurette on Kinji Fukasaku directing the film’s young cast
- Masamichi Amano Conducts Battle Royale, archive featurette
- Takeshi Kitano Interview, filmed on location with the Japanese star
- The Correct Way to Fight in Battle Royale, instructional video explaining the rules of the game
- The Correct Way to Make ‘Battle Royale’: Birthday Version, a new version of the original instructional video made to celebrate Kinji Fukasaku’s birthday
- Premiere Press Conference, preceding the film’s first public screening
- Tokyo International Film Festival Presentation, with footage from the gala screening at the Tokyo International Film Festival
- Opening Day at the Marunouchi Toei Movie Theatre, archive footage of the Japanese opening
- Special Effects Comparison showing how the film’s violent killings were created
- Original Trailers and TV spots
- Kinji Fukasaku trailer reel, a collection of original trailers for Fukasaku’s classic yakuza films from the 70s
- Image Gallery
DISC THREE – BATTLE ROYALE II: REQUIEM (REGION B BLU-RAY)
- Bloody Graduation: Kenta Fukasaku on Battle Royale II, an exclusive brand new interview with the director and screenwriter of Battle Royale II
- Behind the Scenes of Battle Royale II, on-location featurette during the film’s shoot
- Rehearsals footage of the auditions and pre-production rehearsals
- War and Struggle, featurette of the cast discussing their thoughts on war
- Alternate Piano Scene
- The Recording of the Music Score, archive footage of Masamichi Amano and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra
- Opening Gala with The Orchestra, featuring a public introduction by the director and main cast
- Battle Royale II Premiere, a featurette on the film’s first screening at the Marunouchi Toei Movie Theatre
- Trailers and TV spots
- Image gallery
DISC FOUR – BATTLE ROYALE II: REVENGE (REGION B BLU-RAY)
- A Tribute to Kinji Fukasaku, featuring scenes of Kinji Fukasaku on the location of Battle Royale II
- Kinji Fukasaku’s 73rd Birthday: A Speech by Kenta Fukasaku, paying public tribute to his father
DISC FIVE – BATTLE ROYALE (SOUNDTRACK CD)
CD featuring the complete score to Battle Royale by Masamichi Amano and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra.
Review by Dave from discs kindly supplied by Arrow Films via Fetch Publicity.