So, the trailer for The Hunger Games was released on Monday, and I’m going to talk about what we saw of the costuming.
First of all, though, a
comment lengthy discussion on movies-based-on-books. Cosplay from books is challenging: if you’re lucky, you’ll get an author like Robert Jordan who describes costumes in great detail, but oftentimes the outfit of your favorite character is left to your imagination. And so you can make a wonderful costume, but even other fans of the book may not recognize you. A few characters, like Vin from Mistborn with her mistcloak, and Sabriel with her bells, have an iconic part of their outfit that is recognizable even if not everyone builds it the same way. Others may not. So it’s no surprise that when a movie is made from a book, most people will base their costumes on the movie. You can definitely see this with Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones, and I’m sure the same thing will happen with The Hunger Games.
I had intended to make a Katniss costume for my sister for last year’s Dragon*Con, and was unable to finish it since we ended up moving last summer. I regret this, because while I could make exactly the same planned outfit next year, it will, instead of being unrecognizable, be “wrong.” I know, I know, it won’t really be wrong. But it won’t match most people’s image of Katniss.
Here are a couple versions of Katniss from Dragon*Con this year:
Next year Dragon*Con will probably be full of amazing reproductions of the film’s costumes, so I’ve been really hoping that the movie’s costumes live up to my imagination. The trailer is mostly hiding Katniss’ fire-outfits from us, but I do kind of like what they’ve shown of the other costumes. At the beginning, everyone in District 12 looks a little too clean; on the other hand, they’re probably all dressed their best. I really like the look of the Capital. The police/guard uniforms have a very classic dystopian futuristic look about them, dehumanizing without being too robotic. The wealthy people of the Capital … nothing too original there, but that’s kind of the point, right? It’s all shiny, elaborate, big, “look at me right now” without any substance. The contestants’ training outfits … look very much like modern high-tech athletic wear, which takes away a bit from the futuristic feel. Finally, Katniss Everdeen, Girl on Fire:
I believe this is her interview dress. In the book it’s described as being covered all over in reflective gems, such that “the slightest movement gives the impression that I am engulfed in tongues of fire.” This dress isn’t, but I don’t have a problem with that. I’m not sure it’s an effect that would translate well from page to screen, and anyway, most movies-of-books make many more important changes than the costumes. Moviemakers are allowed to have their own vision. What I don’t think is ok is a rather boring standard-issue prom dress for Katniss here, and that’s what it looks like she’s wearing. She looks like she’s being made pretty for today’s movie audience, not for the people of the Capital. Now, we can’t see the bottom of the dress. Perhaps it’s got an awesome fiery hemline that looks amazing when she twirls. If that is the case, then all will be forgiven.