We just got our second official look at the most intriguing movie of the summer.
“Barbie,” based on the Mattel doll franchise, stars Margot Robbie as the beloved action figure brought to life. Ryan Gosling stars as Ken, but the animated cast features multiple versions of Barbie and Ken.
- Simu Liu
- Kingsley BenAdir
- John Cena
The Barbie range includes:
- Emma Mackey
- Nicholas Coughlan
- Kate McKinnon
- Hari Nef (a transsexual)
The first trailer for the film was just that – a glimpse into the candy-colored world that director/co-writer Greta Gerwig imagined.
The second trailer that just came out doesn’t give much in the way of plot, but we do get a fuller look at the movie, its characters, and the comedic wink tone.
What is missing so far? Any sense that the movie has a serious punch in the culture wars. Except that early test screenings say that’s exactly what this “Barbie” is.
World of Reel shared two anonymous reactions to this screening. Both indicate that the trailers hide a lot:
Despite the overall pungent and over-the-top comedy (there’s even a chase scene!), it remains surprisingly emotional and politically playful and thankfully political without being heavy… America Ferrara’s monologue about women with double standards is the subject of deserved applause.
This kind of moment is the epitome of waking storytelling – a lecture stuck in a scene to send a message.
Fiercely feminist and volcanically hysterical. So flashy and bright. Will win Oscars for costume and design, they are delicious. It deconstructs the feminist iconography of Barbie and recontextualizes it for a new generation…since it’s Gerwig, there’s a big heart at the center. Margot plays Barbie with Valley accent, interest, and agency, as she questions her position in Barbieland and clashes with Ken over patriarchy.
Some cast members aren’t shy about the film’s intentions. Co-star Will Ferrell told The Wall Street Journal that Gerwig’s film is more than a famous toy tie-in.
“It’s a loving tribute to the brand and, at the same time, couldn’t be more satirical – just an amazing commentary on male patriarchy and women in society and why Barbie is criticized and yet why every little girl still wants to play with Barbie. Boy, when I read it, I was like, ‘That’s fantastic.’ “
This excerpt from W Magazine highlights how the film will be filled with “empowerment” with Gosling’s infamous abs.
In addition to Robbie as Barbie herself, Dua Lipa, who does music for the soundtrack, is Mermaid Barbie with bright blue hair. Issa Rae is Barbie President, Ritu Arya is Barbie with a Pulitzer, and Emma Mackey is the Nobel Prize winning Barbie. Hari Nef is Doctor Barbie and Sharon Rooney is Lawyer Barbie, while Ana Cruz Kayne and Nicola Coughlan are Supreme Court Justice Barbie and Diplomat Barbie, respectively. Alexandra Shipp is the famous Barbie author…
Meanwhile, the different Kens are just… Kens.
Additionally, Gerwig’s feminist bona fide is clear given her recent directorial endeavors as 2019’s “Little Women” and various press interviews.
“Right now, there’s a lot of desire to hire female directors because of the attention given to the lack of female directors by organizations like Time’s Up,” she says. “Until it’s 50/50, I think it’s really important to pressure studios to hire women and producers to support films directed and written by women.”
So why haven’t we seen anything on these themes in the marketing campaign so far?
Marketers know that the alarm clock doesn’t sell. While Hollywood suits can pretend to say “wake up, go broke” never occurred to them, their marketing gurus know best.
Hollywood is starting to see how toxic the revival can be to its bottom line.
Warner Bros. Discovery canceled the ‘Batgirl’ movie which was reportedly reawakened before it could even reach HBO Max subscribers. The woke reboot of “Willow” only lasted one season on Disney+. Amazon Prime’s revival series “Lord of the Rings” saw its viewership plummet once audiences got a taste of its virtue.
There’s a new “Harry Potter” TV series in the works, despite the woke crowd’s rage against JK Rowling, the creator of the Potter universe.
Netflix dropped two woke projects late last year, including one from Meghan Markle.
Even the Oscars dropped much of his woke posts last month and saw his ratings rise.
Gerwig and Warner Bros. want to bring the film’s purported lectures to the masses, but they know being candid at this point in the marketing cycle could be devastating.
Buzz got out early that 2016’s “Ghostbusters” reboot woke up everywhere, and the film never recovered from that early bad buzz.
The marketing gurus behind “Barbie” have learned that lesson, and the focus for now will be on the film’s branding, handsome stars, and comedic tone. Just know that if the “Barbie” team goes public with their woke message, the media will rally to their side near-synchronously.
“Barbie” hits theaters nationwide on July 21.