It is well known that a “Like” has some business value, but the dollar amount assigned to one is less clear. Websites I found mostly refused to specify a cold cash value, since business use of Facebook is hardly standard. I finally did find the guy who ascribed a “Like” three whole dollars, but I’m sure that he is full of shit. So sure that I won’t even link him. There’s no need for you to read his poor logic.

I’m trying to burn through my mammoth Netflix queue, and one of the movies on the list was The Hunger Games. I had read the books, and while I was not all too happy with the direction the story went in later volumes, or the quality of the writing, the first book seemed like a good fit for a Hollywood movie. And it certainly held itself well enough.

The simplicity of the whole affair allowed the movie makers to stay very true to the source. After all, The Hunger Games is only 600 pages or so, and the print is giant. Additionally, for a book about children trying to murder each other, the violence is somewhat subdued. You follow the heroine, Katniss, exclusively and she avoids the brunt of the conflict. It screams PG-13 movie.

Which brings me to the other child death arena movie on my list, Battle Royale, which predates The Hunger Games by more than a decade. While Hunger Games keeps its violence under wraps, Battle Royale leaves everything on the table. Every single character death is displayed with earnest brutality. I’m not usually a fan of over the top death and mayhem, the shock of each murder lends itself to a social commentary of the ease with which humans tend to resort to violence. To sugar coat it in any way would to cheapen it.

The characters in Battle Royale are also much further developed. Hunger Games characters are incredibly generic. You have the crazy psycho group, the stalwart heroes, a few innocent little birds, and 18 or so characters who you never really meet. In Battle Royale, the stalwart heroes are more likable, and less perfectly equipped for the experience. The movie explores the reaction of every character in the movie to being stuck on an island and told that they have to murder their friends to survive. The motivations of some of the characters are actually a mystery revealed over time and a result of their social circumstances, rather than just “Because they’re a trained killing machine” or “Because she’s a sweet little lamb”.

All in all, Battle Royale is a tough cookie and highly disturbing, but if it were a sweet campy movie, you’d wonder what kind of sick bastard could make light of such terrible subject matter. Of course, in contrast, Hunger Games does exactly that.