The hype has been building for months – with Harry Potter and Twilight now a distant speck in the movie-goers’ rear view mirror, it’s Suzanne Collins’s turn. But for those of you who enjoy fishing for movies in the depths of Netflix, it may seem like a story that’s been told before.
You see, back in 2000, Battle Royal - a low budget Japanese movie – created a stir when it put 42 school-children on an island and forced them to fight to the death. Sound familiar? For those cult-film fans: take a minute to look back to our own history – you may remember a document produced in 1776. While Washington, Mason and Co. didn’t write about children facing off in duels (although maybe no one told Hamilton and Burr…) they did seek to take a stand and free the colonies from the direction of the Crown. And aren’t we all glad they did?
While the Founders were crafting their new landscape for the basis of the American experiment, they didn’t totally cut ties with all things English. Similar to that fond memory of the one redeeming feature of your first car, there were many European traditions the Founders took from the old to give to the new.
For all of its downsides, that old car was most likely your own – you had a title, and if it was stolen, you could be pretty certain that the police would try to hunt it down. Private property and rule of law are the two redeeming features of that old colonial past that were built on, just like some think that Collins may have built on the ideas of Battle Royal for the Hunger Games.
In that instant, the Founding, we had created something unique, something that no copyright could protect. Only the citizens were up to the task of preserving our freedom. After all, as Franklin said, it’s “a republic, if you can keep it”.
So while you either sit back and enjoy this new Hollywood franchise, or complain that it’s just a poor imitation of a Japanese cult film, take a minute to think about what can be achieved when building on other good ideas – you may even be the next person to combine a phone and a mp3 player, and that turned out pretty well…