In likely one of the most bizarre upcoming features, a live-action Barbie film is set to make its way into theaters in 2023. Thus far, the cast is a star-studded affair with Margot Robbie as the titular character and Ryan Gosling as Ken. According to IMDB, the premise of the film is about a doll living in ‘Barbieland’ who’s expelled for not being perfect enough and ventures off into the real world. Lady Bird and Little Women writer/director Greta Gerwig is helming the project. Now, toy adaptations are nothing new. In fact, one of the best toy adaptations is The Lego Movie. However, given the level of talent involved, this appears to be the next big adaptation, but is a Barbie movie necessary, to begin with?
There are not many details to go on when it comes to this so obviously, I can’t make too many judgments about it. Lady Bird and Little Women were great films so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the Barbie movie turned out the same way. In truth, there’s something interesting about the premise, mainly Barbie being expelled for not meeting perfect societal standards. This film could be an important message for women when it comes to beauty standards. As a guy, I’m not going to pretend to know how it feels to deal with modern times when it comes to beauty, but I do understand how high the bar has been set when it comes to the pressure of trying to fit into what our culture accepts in terms of beauty. In some ways, Barbie dolls represent that. They’re presented as perfect and flawless figures and though that wasn’t originally the intention behind the plastic dolls, the early models somewhat reinforced the standards that the culture has set when it comes to how women should look in general. If the film is trying to tackle that type of subject, then a Barbie movie is actually a great idea. It’s rare that movies like these exist in pop culture and it’s a great message to try and convey in the current world that we live in. Given the big-name talent that’s attached to this project, the Barbie movie seems to be more than just some toy adaptation.
However, since the full details of the film remain murky, there’s no guarantee that’s the direction they’re going in. This could be some silly live-action hybrid film that doesn’t have any important themes that could resonate with its target audience. If that’s the case then, why? Granted, it would be naive to think that a Barbie movie is going to be some dark and dour feature about the struggles most women have to deal with. But exactly what purpose is there for some mindless Barbie film other than to sell toys and possibility start a franchise? Is it possible to make a great Barbie movie? The Lego Movie showcases that making something out of nothing can result in a tremendous feature, and perhaps me being a guy means that I don’t understand the whole notion of a Barbie film. They’re just perfect, plastic dolls on the surface. Perhaps there’s a deeper meaning behind them that I don’t really have any knowledge about. And look, there’s nothing wrong with a mindless Barbie film. Not every movie in the world needs to challenge your view on society or address the issues that plague us as human beings.
However, we’re talking about whether a Barbie movie is necessary and if it’s a mindless romp that’s sole purpose is to be an easy cash grab by targeting women then no its not. Hollywood is a business, so it’s understandable why executives would be thrilled in greenlighting this feature. They’re obviously trying to sell more toys at the end of the day. However, hiring an Academy Award nominee in the vein of Greta Gerwig likely means that this film is going to be something bigger than just some random toy adaptation. Having Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling apart of the cast only reinforces that notion. It should be very interesting to see what this film is all about because even though doing a Barbie live-action film is bizarre, it’s still intriguing, nevertheless. This could turn out to be one of the greatest films ever made. As I previously stated, if the film is just being made as an easy cash grab then it’s worthless and unnecessary. However, if there’s a deeper meaning behind the toy adaptation, then it may be a movie that demands to be watched.