The Barbie Movie Exists to Sell Barbies
What can be said about the Barbie Movie that has not already been said?
The film comes to us in a tumultuous time, and journalists have used its expansive release to make a variety of geo-political and socio-economic commentaries.
- The merits of Realism Vs Escapism were discussed, as Barbie is being released on the same day as a moodier and more depressing Oppenheimer feature (N.B, AMC says more than 20,000 moviegoers booked double features for the two films).
- Chinese imperialism was also addressed in the context of the 9-dash line controversy (source of maritime border conflicts), which saw Vietnam block Barbie’s release, and the Philippines request the line to be blurred.
- Finally, the movie comes out as Hollywood wrestles with declining ticket sales and a massive labour strike. Should Barbie have Thoughts on Artificial Intelligence, economic equality and sex trafficking? Probably not, but here we are.
I have limited opinions on the above, other than the obvious (doing Bad Things is Bad). What I do have qualms about is the movie being framed as anything other than a marketing ploy. In doing so, it tries to shed away the baggage the brand should still be very much atoning for.
If there is a kind of earnestness that once would have precluded a director from “selling out,” it is the same earnestness that now precludes them from thinking about that notion at all. […] The movie is a celebration of Barbie and a subterranean apologia for Barbie. It is a giant corporate undertaking and a strange, funny personal project. It is a jubilant, mercilessly effective polymer-and-pink extravaganza whose guiding star turns out to be Gerwig’s own sincerity. “Things can be both/and,” she said. “I’m doing the thing and subverting the thing.”
This paragraph makes no sense. Greta Gerwig is selling out. There is nothing wrong with that; she is a successful and thoughtful director, with a solid track record, looking to level…