How the Barbie movie could set the record straight | Pretty Reel

The upcoming Barbie movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, has already developed a sequel thanks to the abundance of intriguing set footage from filming earlier this year. Finally, the first official images from the film were released earlier this month.

With only a few shots and no dialogue — save for an introductory voiceover from Helen Mirren — this preview didn’t give fans much to parse from the movie itself. However, it did give people a taste of the film’s tone, including its approach to the source material.

The bulk of the trailer consists of an intro paying homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. The aforementioned narration plays on a group of little girls with their dolls, explaining that these dolls have been a girl’s staple since the dawn of time. Margot Robbie’s titular Barbie herself then makes her debut, wearing the same black and white bathing suit that the original 1959 Barbie doll wore. Finally, a few clips from the movie featuring Robbie and a few other all-star cast members — including Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae, and Simu Liu — are briefly featured, along with the movie’s logo.

The few brief glimpses we have of the film clearly show that Barbie draws a lot of inspiration from the toy line, from the outfits to the brightly colored world itself. But it’s not just Barbie’s aesthetic that will be in the film — it’s her spirit, or rather, the spirit of her creators. Barbie is widely regarded as the quintessential “girl’s toy”, and the brand has been criticized for being too conformist to society’s beauty standards. But as the trailer points out, Barbie was and is a pioneer in the toy industry, which is often overlooked these days.

Before Barbie, as the trailer shows, the “standard” toy for little girls was the doll. In addition to giving them something fun to carry and dress up, the underlying message of these dolls marketed to girls specifically reinforces the traditional gender roles of women responsible for raising children and being caregivers. society in general.

So when Barbie came on the scene, she ticked a different box. The character was older than her target demographic, meaning she was something to aspire to rather than care about. She was a role model, which turned out to be both good and bad, but it provided an alternative to dolls and the expectations of care that came with them.

Yes, Barbie ended up promoting a whole different set of gendered expectations — mostly in the looks department — but the brand also ended up being much more progressive than is often thought. Beyond the mere existence of an adult doll in a sea of ​​babies, Barbie has continued to feature women taking on roles far beyond motherhood (although there have been Barbie dolls focused on motherhood , including pregnancy). She has played almost every sport, from those traditionally considered “feminine” like gymnastics and ice skating, to those like hockey, basketball and boxing. She has had countless careers, such as a doctor, chef, director, dancer, news anchor, entrepreneur, teacher, farmer, military officer, firefighter, astronaut, scientist, pilot, cowgirl, and beekeeper, to name a few. -ones.

Barbie has also become more inclusive over the years for those who don’t fit her original look of being white with blonde hair and blue eyes. Dolls first became more racially diverse and more recently have also rolled out a wider variety of body types and abilities, with dolls with wheelchairs and even hearing aids joining the Barbie line. It’s also something the film will also include, with several different versions of Barbie and Ken featured, each looking drastically different from the other.

While Margot Robbie watched The Truman Show and Splash to prepare for the role, The Barbie Movie is shaping up to look the most like The LEGO Movie right now. It was also a film dedicated to bringing the world of a popular toy brand to life, but had a self-awareness that appealed to audiences. It never reached the point of self-parody, but incorporated the unique aspects of the toy alongside elements of how people play with and use it, as well as the culture around it. .

With Barbie being branded as subversive and the trailer giving audiences a taste of that, one has to wonder if the film will go so far as to criticize the brand itself (if not as it is nowadays, du minus its past of being less inclusive than it is now). It would push the envelope further than the aforementioned LEGO Movie, though Barbie seems to be a little more adult-oriented than that movie was.

It’s also worth noting that Will Ferrell’s Barbie character would be the CEO of Mattel, meaning the brand itself will play a role in the film. That being said, it should be noted that Mattel Films itself is one of the production companies behind the project. So the movie might not be as critical of the toy company as some might hope. Yet, with the film’s script being the main aspect of the film brought to the fore by those involved with it, something about Barbie will surely surprise audiences when it comes out.

How the Barbie movie could set the record straight | Pretty Reel