The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

The doll that makes a difference

with 5 comments

katdoll“My son loves it.”

I found this comment at a web shop where you could get the “Barbie Collector Black Collection The Hunger Games Barbie Doll – Katniss”.

It made me smile because it wrapped up what a remarkable change the western world has gone through over the last thirty years.

How far away isn’t Katniss from the helpless Barbie bimbos that were the only one available when I grew up? No longer does a doll have to endure the suffering of high heel shoes or tight skirts that prevent you from doing anything apart from standing still watching your own mirror image. The Katniss doll has a pair of solid boots and practical trousers with pockets on the legs where she can keep her stuff. She looks just like the badass heroine she is in the movie: as someone who is capable of not just taking care of herself, but also of leading others. Boys and girls equally can us her as a role model and source of inspiration as they’re mouldering out their own personalities.

 We’ve come a far, far way, haven’t we?

Female protagonists
In a nutshell this doll highlights what I enjoy most about the Hunger Games series and why I’m happy to see that the latest installation, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is doing so fine at the box office.

From now on there shouldn’t be any question about it. Yes, you can make a movie with a female protagonist who wears comfortable clothes and who cares more about the success of her mission and her own survival than about her looks or some love interest, and you can make it profitable. Hopefully we’ll get more of those in the years to come. The future equivalence of Harry Potter, Frodo or James Bond won’t be men by default. What a relief!

“But the love triangle!” someone might disagree. “Isn’t that just clichéd and silly?” Yes, it is and I would be happier without it. But as long as it doesn’t take over the entire film, I can live with it. Katniss isn’t defined by what guy she’ll end up with. They are like satellites in orbit around her. She’s a part of a greater cause and no boy, however handsome, will come between her and her mission.

Positives and negatives
Does all this love for Katniss mean that I think this is a terrific movie in every way? Well, not exactly. As I listened to the recent /Film podcast show and heard the hosts lining up dozens of issues they had with it, I nodded often. It wasn’t flaws that I had noticed as I watched it, but now that they mentioned it, some of the criticism made sense. But you may ask: if you don’t notice the problem as you watch it, is it really a problem?

For my own part I found it pretty similar to the first film. There are negatives, but after an inner battle, the positives take the overhand. The issues I had with some of the costumes in the first film are still there: I think the city fashion is too much. It makes the movie look like it was intended for young children, which it clearly isn’t.

I was also a little dismayed when I realized that the party was going back to the same old dome for yet another round of Battle Royale, the light version. It does feel a little repetitive. I had hoped for more action to take place outside of it, to get a better understanding for the uprising in the districts, which now is reduced to a gesture and nothing more.

I would probably have been more smitten by this film when I was 12 years old. Now I’m in my 40s and somewhat over-aged. But again: the 2,5 hours went pretty fast, I didn’t fall asleep at any point and I was entertained and engaged more or less all the way through it, so I can’t really complain.

But the best thing about The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the Barbie doll it has inspired.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, US 2013) My raing: 3,5/5

Written by Jessica

November 26, 2013 at 12:06 am

5 Responses

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  1. Totally agree. Very happy that there’s a successful franchise centered in a powerful female character! There should be many more!

    fernandorafael

    November 26, 2013 at 4:16 am

  2. […] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Another round of Battle Royale. It was enjoyable but I hope they’ll get do something different in part three. This was basically more of the same. […]

  3. […] Fire-luckan. Andra hade varit mer förtänksamma. Jojjenito Fripps filmrevyer Fiffis filmtajm The Velvet Café Har du inte sett den? […]


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