It’s not just world cinema that likes to get the Hollywood treatment. Books and video games have been pilfered time and time again, resulting is some of the finest dross out there. And yet, seemingly, cinema goers can’t get enough. This is why we’ve started a new series, in which we turn the tables and envisage some of Hollywood’s classic scenes remade by the best foreign filmmakers out there. And one day we’ll let Uwe Boll have a go too.
To date, Takashi Miike has remade Pretty Woman (1990), while Alexandra Aja has had a bash at Seven (1995). We should point out that the term classic scene will sometimes be open to debate. Take this month’s entry for example. The Hunger Games (2012), based on a novel by Suzanne Collins, is set in the ruins of what was once North America. The Hunger Games is a nationally televised event in which 24 ‘tributes’ fight one another until one survivor remains. When Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is picked to compete she bravely volunteers in her place.
The book and film adaptation have often been criticized for sharing similarities to Koushun Takami’s novel Battle Royale, itself turned into a Japanese action-adventure film by director Kinji Fukasaku in 2000. Whether it’s a rip-off or a different usage of a similar idea, there’s no denying that the two books and films share similar themes, even if Gary Ross’s The Hunger Games is rather tame considering its premise. Which is why we’ve decided to allow Kinji Fukasaku the chance to make things right, imagining what his bloody adaptation would be like if someone handed him the reins.
The story so far: At the dawn of the millennium the nation of Panem collapsed, leaving ten million out of work and 800,000 students boycotting school. It was little wonder the adults lost confidence. Fearing the youth, they eventually passed The Hunger Games, a.k.a. The BR Act, in which each of the twelve districts must provide a boy and a girl – called Tributes – between the age of 12 and 18 to fight to the death in an arena, with the sole survivor rewarded with fame and wealth. This year’s arena is a vast forest.
From district 12, Katniss is joined by Peeta, a baker’s son who once gave a starving Katniss some bread. Bless him. Warned about ‘career’ tributes, who train intensively at special academies and almost always win, the games begin bloodily, with almost half of the tributes killed in the first few minutes. I say bloodily. We don’t actually see much of the red stuff.
Following the death of its youngest contestant, and to avoid further riots and social unrest, the president of Panem decides to change the rules, allowing tributes from the same district to win as a pair. Katniss – still annoyed that her sympathy-craving comrade revealed his love for her in a television interview before the games - searches for Peeta. More deaths ensue, and soon only a few contestants remain; Katniss, Peeta and career tribute Cato are among them. Without warning, to speed up proceedings, a pack of hound-like creatures are unleashed into the forest…
EXT. FOREST –- EARLY EVENING
Katniss and Peeta, both wearing school uniform, creep through the woodland. A weird, monstrous sound howls above the whining of the wind.
What was that?
It’s the finale.
The sound of a canon booms in the distance. Katniss and Peeta look up into the night sky, waiting expectantly. The hologram of another victim: Thresh.
Katniss reaches for her bow, preparing herself for any surprises. They walk closely, side by side. Both are nervous.
A strange clicking noise slows them down. They aren’t alone. Peeta turns to see a large dog-shaped monster LUNGING AT HIM FEROCIOUSLY.
Katniss pulls back the arrow and releases, striking the hound, doing enough to free Peeta. They run, bolting through the forest.
Two more hounds appear, moving quickly through the thicket.
Katniss and Peeta continue to run, making the clearing, their eyes covering the sprawling land when they see the cornucopia, heading straight for it.
Katniss scrambles on top, reaching down to pull Peeta up. A hound lunges once again, gripping Peeta’s leg with its gigantic teeth. He manages to break free. Katniss pulls him up to safety, when…
Katniss stumbles back. Cato swings at Peeta, punching him, sending him reeling. He moves on Katniss, upon her, his hands around her neck, pushing her head down toward the hungry hounds… leaping, snarling, hungry…
Peeta drags Cato off Katniss, allowing her time to draw her bow. Aware, Cato grabs Peeta, using him as a shield.
Shoot me. Then we both go down and you win.
Go on, I’m dead anyway.
Katniss looks to Cato, exasperated. She shoots an arrow, striking him, sending him crashing down onto the ground below where the hungry hounds wait. In a moment his terrified screams are cut short as Katniss fires another arrow and puts him out of him misery.
Peeta appears by Katniss’s side, they look into each other’s eyes.
I’ve always had a crush on…
His confession is cut short by a hail of bullets. A mass of blood and ripped flesh… within seconds, Peeta’s insides lay on the ground between his feet… steam rising.
Katniss turns to where the shots were fired. Kitano, her former teacher, stands there, holding the fully automatic firearm that did the damage. In his other hand an umbrella, protecting him from the rain. He smiles politely.
Someone else is there.
(Out of shot)
Taste better when they have a bit of fight left.
Katniss turns again, this time confronted by Jacob Black, wiping Cato’s blood from his mouth. He looks down at Peeta’s lifeless body.
Why do girls always pick the ugly one?
Katniss raises her bow.
What are you doing here?
KITANO steps forward.
There’s always one who signs up for fun.
Exactly. Besides, I’m out of work.
Katniss looks to Jacob, disgusted. She ignores him, crouching down to mourn the loss of Peeta. She arranges flowers around the body. Jacob is furious.
Are you serious? He gave you soggy bread.
Jacob reveals a small paper bag.
I have cookies.
Katniss offers no interest.
Want to feel my cuts?
Jacob flexes his muscles. Emo music starts playing over the Tannoy. Katniss and Jacob move together. Jacob goes in for the kiss. His lips meet an arrow instead. He has to hold back.
Ever had a secret you couldn't tell anyone?
I know what he did to you, Katniss, but I want you to know I will never hurt you. I promise. I won't let you down. Age is just a number, baby. Have you ever had a secret? One that wasn't yours to tell? Well, that's what it's like for me. only worse. You have no idea how tight I'm bound. You can count…
She said shut up!
Kitano dispatches a pocket knife into Jacob’s forehead. He collapses to the ground.
Thanks for your consideration.
Jacob dies. Kitano walks over to his body, retrieves the knife and the cookies. He starts to eat the cookies. Annoyed, Katniss does a twirl and ignites her school uniform, setting it ablaze.
Armed with her bow, she walks slowly towards Kitano, aiming it directly at him. He pulls out a pistol, aiming it at her.
And may the odds be ever in your favour.
I told her I would win. I would win for her.
And try you will.
Kitano puts the gun to her forehead. Katniss puts the arrow to his heart. A stand-off. Katniss reacts first.
You better tuck in that tail, little duck.
Katniss thrusts the arrow into Kitano’s heart. He looks surprised. She twists the dart, deeper. He crumples to the ground.
Katniss stands over him, her skirt still aflame. Kitano breathes heavy, clutching the arrow that did the damage. He’s dying.
He lifts his arm, still able to point the pistol at Katniss. She looks stunned. She can’t look. He pulls the trigger. Water shoots from it, snuffing out her red-hot skirt.
Cookies sure were good.
A canon booms. The hologram reads, TEACHER KITANO DEAD, WINNER: KATNISS EVERDEEN. Katniss picks up the paper bag, shaking it. It’s empty.
So that’s why they call it the hunger games.
Katniss winks at the camera and walks away, victorious.