A few weeks ago I wrote in complete horror at what looked like an official line of nail polish for The Hunger Games, the upcoming Lionsgate adaptation of the massively popular young adult novel series. A nail polish tie-in to a popular movie aimed at young girls isn't necessarily surprising, but The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian future where people are left in abject poverty and ruled by a cruel Capitol-- the book's heroine Katniss is a tomboy who has to work to support her family, and definitely wouldn't have time to paint her nails or the money to buy polish. But that didn't stop the company from pitching colors like Joined at the Seam, inspired by Katniss and Gale's love for each other. It was all a little gross, bringing marketing into the elements of the story that are about hardship and scrabbling by.
At the time Lionsgate wrote us to swear up and down that this nail polish line was not happening, and the recent announcement that the studio is teaming up with China Glaze to produce, yes, a nail polish line isn't entirely untrue. The basic idea of nail polish based on The Hunger Games is intact, but the line has been retooled as "Colors From The Capitol," inspired by the glitzily dressed rich people who live in the Capitol and watch the titular Hunger Games-- fights to the death among teenage kids-- for fun. The Capitol residents are far from the heroes of the story, and Katniss generally makes fun of them and their outlandish clothes when she arrives at the Capitol for the Games, but there are a few Capitol residents who earn her respect, most notably her stylist Cinna. The Capitol residents aren't exactly the characters you'll walk away from The Hunger Games wanting to be, but you may want to steal a few of their insane fashion tips.
It still seems odd to tie a nail polish line into a book about kids fighting to the death, but to object to it entirely is to ignore the realities of marketing a movie these days, when the money you make at the box office is only a fraction of the cash to be had. Look at the way the Twilight movies have taken over every Hot Topic in the country-- The Hunger Games can do the same, but they have to leap over a lot of entrenched messages in the books that are against consumerism and the kind of excess that, let's face it, glitter nail polish represents. Focusing things on the Capitol is a start, but it'll be interesting to watch the Lionsgate people continue to try and merchandise this movie without disregarding the book's actual themes.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend
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