Thousands of people can remember their favorite toys growing up. And for many, that toy was Barbie. The original company to produce Barbie, “Mattel,” has partnered with the production studio “Warner Brothers” to bring the popular toy doll to life in her first live-adaptation film, coming to the big screen on July 21, 2023.
Starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as her male counterpart Ken, the movie will take an interesting twist on the family-favorite character. Other popular actors and actresses have been cast in roles as well, including Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, Dua Lipa, Micheal Cera, Issa Rae, and Emma Mackey; among others.
As the promotional material rises for the film, the movie has since taken the media by storm, leaving many excited to see the film finally come to life.
The first Barbie doll was released on March 9, 1959, by Mattel, a model who sported a black-and-white striped swimsuit with her signature blond ponytail. Soon after, Barbie’s popularity erupted and inspired many children.
As Barbie’s legacy grew, so did her many careers. Astronaut Barbie, CEO Barbie, and President Barbie were all supremely popular models. Barbie has also been an advocate for many women’s rights and equality acts, including the “We Girls Can Do Anything” campaign in 1985 and a more recent body positivity campaign in 2016.
Barbie’s success as a toy prepared her for the big screen. In 2001, the first Barbie movie, “Barbie in the Nutcracker,” was released. Over 30 animated movies followed this introduction, along with various other animated series, the most popular arguably being “Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse.”
Robbie was cast as the infamous character in 2019 after Amy Schumer left the project just two years before. She was one of the original stars announced for the film, with her co-star Gosling being announced in early 2022. Greta Gerwig was selected to direct the film, adding it to her lineup of recently popular movies such as “Lady Bird” in 2017 and “Little Women” in 2019.
The first teaser trailer begins in “2001: A Space Odyssey” style, with a narrator documenting the importance of dolls since “the beginning of time.” Little girls are seen playing with baby dolls against a desert background, similar to the scene in the famous sci-fi movie. As the music intensifies, we see Robbie standing rigidly while the little girls approach her enlarged figure,
donning the popular get-up of the original Barbie doll from 1959.
After Robbie (or Barbie) winks at viewers, the trailer cuts to large pink lettering of “Barbie,” before we enter a fast-paced montage of Gosling, Liu, and other characters dancing and enjoying themselves. The last shot is one of Barbie wearing a bright smile as she claps and smiles at the audience, before cutting to the lettering once again to advertise the release date.
The first trailer induced heavy excitement among those who were waiting for the film to be released, but also brought in some criticism.
Some complained about the unrealistic body standards and lack of diversity that Barbie dolls have upheld in the past, despite their modern efforts to separate themselves from those associations. More were concerned about how Robbie’s representation would look when adapted to the cinema, and others complained about Gosling’s casting as Ken.
But these worries can be combated with the directing of Gerwig, whose mission to redefine feminism and interpersonal relationships between women seems almost perfect to direct “Barbie” and disperse any negative commentary.
After the initial excitement subsided, another teaser trailer was released on April 4, with a more lengthy narrative and overview of the characters. Along with this trailer came the release of movie advertising posters, which took the internet by storm and caused an outbreak of various memes and social media trends.
“Barbie” seems to be a promising and enjoyable film, one that will be able to entertain many different generations and exceed the expectations of many who are going to see the movie in theaters. It appears to be marketed as a film that could redefine Barbie’s character moving forward, promoting a new sense of individuality and femininity that many see lacking in the original doll. Overall, it seems worth a try!
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