When you think of fictional places you’d like to visit, the dystopian districts of The Hunger Games’s Panem might not seem like the most obvious vacation choice. Nevertheless a walk through that world, based on the films spawned from Suzanne Collins’s wildly popular book series, is now available right in midtown Manhattan. The Hunger Games: The Exhibition has moved into Discovery Times Square where fans will be able to explore the props, costumes and interactive features through January 3rd 2016.
After a welcoming video from Elizabeth Banks both as her character Effie Trinket and herself, the exhibition takes visitors chronologically through Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) journey from the impoverished District 12 to the excesses of the Capitol and into the games and the ensuing rebellion. Each room is fully immersive and ripe with small details to appreciate. I knew I was in good hands right from District 12 when I saw Primrose Everdeen’s shirt (worn by actress Willow Shields) was left perfectly untucked.
The exhibit is a bit of a hybrid insofar as it invites fans to immerse themselves in the actual world of Panem via interactive features like sitting down with Stanley Tucci’s flamboyant Cesar Flickerman but then it also takes a step back with informative signage to look at the artistry and designers responsible for the film’s creation.
Another clever touch is the moral dilemmas the exhibit challenges guests with along the way. Much like Katniss, fans are faced with several options in how they’ll face the harsh world of Panem and they’re able to make a decision that will then be tallied in beads for the duration of the show. It will be interesting to see how those choices stack up and I appreciated how many opportunities for hands-on analogue interactions there were rather than solely relying on digital screens.
For me however, the standouts of this exhibition are really the costumes. They’re central to Katniss’s rise to power in the series (with the help of her talented stylist Cinna of course!) and the films have done justice to their importance from the humble mockingjay pin to Katniss’s jaw-dropping wedding gown from Catching Fire. That gown from designer Trish Summerville is displayed in proud contrast with her original leather get up.
Like all good tourist attractions, you inevitably exit through a gift shop that’s just as thought out as the exhibition, with no district left unrepresented–I confess as a Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) fan, I picked up a District 4 pin and left just a little more hyped that the finale of the films is yet to come.
The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is open now through January 3rd 2016 at Discovery Times Square, 226 West 44th Street NYC. Tickets range from $22.50-$29.50.
The final film in the series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, opens in the US on November 20th.