Whodathunk that the most successful film of the year would be “Barbie”? Despite the somewhat lingering doubt about the IP’s relevance among the modern youth, Greta Gerwig managed to tap in to a rare element where she took a toy and turned it in to an actual film. Greta Gerwig doesn’t just deliver a comedy musical about a doll and her boyfriend, but a conscious, self aware and often meaningful statement about sexual dynamics, and existentialism. Barbie begins to question her purpose in even her own world, and this sets off the chain of events that follow.
Barbie lives in Barbie Land with all of the other versions of Barbies, and has a romantic relationship with her boyfriend, the blond Ken. When Barbie begins to question her existence, and notices her features are somewhat changing, she and Ken cross over in to the real world. There, both characters learn about the roles of men and women in modern society, and when they cross back over, havoc and hilarity ensues.
Through Barbie questioning herself and her own roles in her world, she also garners insight in to how women function and collide in our reality, and this is through the sobering performances of America Ferrera and Ariana Greenblatt, respectively. “Barbie” is funny and fun but it’s intelligent. It has layers, it’s so refreshingly intelligent, and helps hold a microscope not only to Barbie, but the world she’s helped mold. Along the way there are some wonderful bits of comedy and satire, as well as a great ensemble including Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, Will Ferrell, and Michael Cera, just to name a few. “Barbie” is a movie for everyone and anyone, and director Gerwig takes great care in offering a film that will stand the test of time.
I hate to break it to you fans but the extras are sorely lacking. You assume since “Barbie” was the biggest movie of 2023 that we’d have a bevy of fun features, but alas, there’s not much to sneeze about. No sing alongs, no music videos, no choose the musical segments like we had with “High School Musical” releases. There are barely looks in to the choreography, or discussions of the cameo from Rhea Perlman and how she mattered to the overall film. There are no extensive documentaries about Barbie, or Ken, or the history of the iconic toy, or barely any exploration in to the process of developing this movie. How an indie darling like Greta Gerwig created the most commercially successful film of the year is something worth sitting down and having a conversation about, but we don’t get much of anything, here. I wish these studios would give fans and collectors more to chew on and pay homage to what they look upon as products. “Barbie” will live on as a genuine film, despite its intentions to rake in cash from the fan base, and that’s worth cheering for.
Welcome to Barbie Land is a twelve minutes glorified EPK/trailer that gives us a general view of the film and its premise. Playing Dress-Up: An Extended Look at the Costumes of Barbie is a seven minutes segment about the costume designs for the film and the massive array of outfits that appear throughout the movie. Becoming Barbie is a six minutes obligatory peek at how they brought the film to life and the myriad methods that star Margot Robbie did to embrace her role. Musical Make-Believe is a nine minutes gag segment, It’s A Weird World is a five minutes segment with star Margot Robbie discussing the weird world of “Barbie.” All-Star Barbie Party is a measly five minutes look at the casting and cameos in the Barbie movie, including Oscar Legend Helen Mirren who played the narrator.
I hope there’s a more exhaustive special edition earmarked for the upcoming holiday season. It would be in their best interest. If you must have the movie in your possession for the mean time, this is your best bet.