So, have you heard of that new Barbie movie? I caught Harley Quinn (aka Margot Robbie from Joker) strutting in her high heels while Ryan Gosling’s doppelganger with blonde hair waves hello? (Pitch my cheek! I’m not dreaming, aren’t I?)
But wait, I know what you’re thinking. Okay, so this thing looks insane, and a sane thought is popping out in your mind, “Should I really bother watching it, or is it just another one of those cliché Hollywood movies trying to take our money?” No worries; you’ve got Le Chill, the budget-savvy gal from MoneySmart, to give you the lowdown. Here’s everything you need to know before hitting up the highly anticipated “Barbie” premiere.
So what’s the story about? (No spoilers ahead!)
Before this new Barbie movie even came out, there were already a whopping 40 animated Barbie movies dating all the way back to 2001. And they’ve got some pretty wild and original storylines, not to mention a fresh take on classic fairy tales. But don’t think for a second that the live-action Barbie movie is going to be left in the dust. No way!
The Barbie Movie all starts when the main Barbie starts having a bit of an existential crisis – her foot arch is gone, and her feet become flat; she’s pondering the meaning of life and death, you know, the unusual stuff in the unusual world. Then she decides to follow her heart and head out into the real world, and of course, Ken is there with his trusty rollerblades, ready to go along for the adventure.
The film has big names (a lot!)
To begin with, Barbie is played by the two-time Oscar nominee Margot Robbie, plus she’s the producer of her company, Lucky Chap Productions. Then we have Ryan Gosling with platinum blonde as the main Ken. Simu Liu, the actor who played Shang Chi, is playing the rival of Ryan’s Ken in the movie. And, of course, Michael Cera, as the fanboy of Ken, Allen.
Dua Lipa and John Cena are playing the mermaids, not to mention Emma Mackey, Alexandra Shipp, Issa Rae, Ncuti Gatwa, and Scott Evans, all of whom are in the film.
In a nutshell, this movie boasts a roster of A-listers that may leave you pleasantly stunned.
“Barbie” is the director’s 3rd production
Greta Gerwig, the director of the Barbie movie, has only made 2 other films on her own: “Lady Bird” and “Little Women.” But that didn’t dim her star-Both movies received Oscar nominations. The female director isn’t just working behind the scenes; she’s also acting, writing scripts, and producing movies with her husband, Noah Baumbach.
As a big movie buff, she drew inspiration from a variety of movies to create Barbie. She played around with elements from musicals like Grease, comedies like Playtime, and psychological dramas like The Truman Show, and that’s why we have a mix of those elements in the Barbie movie.
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Fun Facts about the Barbie Movie
Margot Robbie had no idea she was playing Barbie
It’s hard to believe that Margot Robbie, the two-time Oscar nominee who plays the lead role in the upcoming Barbie movie, had no intention of playing the iconic doll character at first. But before Robbie’s production company, LuckyChap, took on the project, there were several attempts to create a Barbie movie. Actress Amy Schumer was even set to star in one of the earlier attempts but left due to disagreements about the film’s creative direction. Finally, it was Robbie’s turn at bat, and she hit a home run with her hard pitch to investors and make the movie with her production company.
Barbie Land is real!
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The story of Barbie starts in Barbie Land, a pretty pink world where girls rule! As the narrator of the film, Helen Mirren, tells us, “There are no more problems with feminism or equal rights.” We’ve got Barbies who are presidents, Nobel prize winners, and even road workers (while Kens are just hanging out at the beach, at least in the first part of the movie).
The cool thing is that the fantasy Barbie world was actually built in a studio in London, with real physical sets instead of just CGI. Writer-director Greta Gerwig did a ton of research on Barbie, movies, and fashion to make sure everything looked and worked just right. For example, there is no water or fire in Barbie Land, and the food in the fridge is kind of flat!
Running out of pink
“Pink this, pink that! Everything is pink, please!” In order to construct such a big set of Barbie Land, the new Warner Bros. production emptied fluorescent pink paint storage at Rosco’s Paint.
Even Barbie’s pink world was not immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply chain disruptions it caused. During the filming of “Barbie” in 2022, Rosco’s paint, which was used to construct the pink sets of Barbie Land, was in short supply due to the pandemic’s impact on global supply chains. To compound matters, the company was still recovering from the damage caused by the deep freeze that hit Texas in early 2021.
Mattel’s Growing Cinematic Universe After “Barbie”
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Mattel has ambitious plans for its cinematic universe, with at least 14 toy properties set to hit the big screen following the success of the Barbie movie, which grossed $200 million in the US alone. While details remain scarce, we do know that Lena Dunham will direct a film based on the beloved “Polly Pocket,” while Daniel Kaluuya is producing a live-action Barney movie that promises to subvert expectations. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman are set to bring the astronaut action figure “Major Matt Mason to life, along with several other Mattel properties, including “View Master,” “Masters of the Universe,” “Magic 8 Ball”, and “Uno.”
Be prepared for more live-action toy-themed films!
Last word: Is “Barbie” worth watching?
“Director Greta Gerwig does an amazing job with the Barbie movie. The movie has a lot of smart and interesting ideas about society, and it’s also really fun to watch. It’s like a big, fluffy, pink Valentine’s Day card that you can’t help but enjoy.” — a critic from Rotten Tomato.
The verdict is in with an impressive 89% Tomatometer score with pinky stunning visuals, Gosling’s Ken, and tons of comedy that cleverly weaves together meta-humor and subversive storytelling.
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