Cosplayers UK: The Movie DVD

Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00 Written by 

Cosplayers UK - The Movie - out on DVDFilmed at the May 2011 London MCM Expo event, “Cosplayers UK - The Movie” covers the fascinating subject of cosplay (short for costume play).

The documentary features in-depth interviews with a handful of ardent, amateur costume designers, footage of many of the best outfits sported by attendees at the Expo, and culminates in a hard-fought competition for a place in that year's European cosplay final.

Fans choose from an amazingly wide range of source material for their costumes, including video games, anime, comics, TV series and films. Favourites if the documentary is anything to go by are the hugely popular Final Fantasy series of role-playing games, Marvel and DC comic-book characters such as Batman and The Joker, and Star Wars icons.

Once immersed in their costumes, folk strut their stuff around London Excel's massive exhibition halls over the course of the event's three days.

I have been to a fair few conventions in my time, and witnessed first-hand some truly amazing cosplay outfits as well as some lazy, off-the-rack affairs that might look quite professional but will not win any competitions. As the organisers explain in this DVD, they are looking for a combination of factors across the various award categories.

They want to see costumes made from scratch that might match the original designs closely or veer away from them in an imaginative way. They are interested in seeing craftsmanship and the creative use of a wide range of materials including cloth, fibreglass, latex and fur. They also look out for cosplayers who embody their characters and put on a performance or pose appropriately rather than stand there like a shop-window dummy (unless you have come as an Auton).

Most of the men and women interviewed are quite engaging and willingly share their passion for the scene, often having been to an event a few times and gradually become engrossed in what others have been making and wearing. Over time it evidently becomes a passion and even an obsession for some. It can be a way to escape from reality, make new friends, share costume-making tips and learn new skills.

One point above all comes across loud and clear: You are welcome to become a member of the cosplay family regardless of your creed, colour, size, sex, sexual orientation or disability. Those taking part share a love for their source material and their costume-making interests, strike up lasting relationships and gain respect and recognition through it.

In general the direction and editing of the documentary are sound and maintain interest, mixing up the interviews and competition footage with rock music montages. The makers start to run out of ideas by the end and it is a shame there is not more footage of people actually making their costumes. Then again, when some have spent the best part of a year making their competition entries, you would need to use highly accelerated time-lapse photography to convey their progress!

Highlights for me included a bunch of Deadpool Marvel characters doing the Macarena dance, an amazing SkekSil costume from the movie “The Dark Crystal” and a seriously creepy Pale Man from Guillermo Del Toro's excellent “Pan's Labyrinth”.

The DVD does not include any bonus features.

“Cosplayers UK - The Movie” (2011) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Isis. The main feature has a running time of 83 minutes approx, carries an ‘E’ certificate and retails for £10.44, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:58

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