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That’s Not My Barbie, She’s Alive!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Live-action remakes of beloved animated childhood classics are no longer a surprise in the film industry. Disney, for example, has done it so often that watchers can only await which film is next. This live-action adaptation campaign began with Alice in Wonderland (2010) and several additional movies have followed. The most recent classic adapted into live-action is The Little Mermaid starring singer Halle Bailey. The film’s theater premiere is on May 26. The thought of a live-action Disney movie does not prompt raised eyebrows and the questioning of its ability to remain loyal to the original (until recently). These motion picture works breathe life into Disney fairytales in a fashion that animation does not but only in the literal sense. Disney has faced critique as their live actions are believed to be so starkly devoted to their original that despite having been live-actioned, the charm of the film is dead.

Yet, Mattel’s Barbie is different.

The beloved blonde multipotentiality has been featured in several animated films throughout the years while still preserving her place on the shelves of local retailers. However, a live-action adaptation of a Barbie film such as Barbie of Swan Lake or Barbie in the Nutcracker has never been executed. There have been several attempts, one starring Amy Schumer who was then replaced in casting by Anne Hathaway. Yet, Greta Gerwig’s adaption is the only success coming to the silver screens. Gerwig’s Barbie is an anticipated work as it is the first time that Barbie will be allowed to be depicted through live action. The film differs from the Disney live-action precedent as it does not follow the trajectory of any former Barbie classic. It is an original plot so shrouded in mystery that one can only guess what will come of it.

One aspect of the movie has already provoked conversation: its all-star cast! The film features Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken. In a teaser trailer released on Dec. 16, 2022, Issa Rae and Simu Liu were spotted among the characters dancing in an ensemble. Rae was adorned in a “President” Sash while Liu was beside Gosling. Will Ferrell, Michael Cera, SNL’s Kate McKinnon and America Ferrera are also included on the IMDB cast list. During the time of the teaser trailer’s release, an Instagram account for the movie was launched and Dua Lipa was originally an account that @barbiethemovie was following. The rumors were dispelled as the Instagram account unfollowed the singer, but character posters released this week confirmed that Lipa would, in fact, appear in the movie.

The synopsis of the film describes Barbie as a tale portraying the titular character’s forced exodus from Barbieland as she is less than perfect. Along the way, she discovers the beauty of inner perfection. The movie’s teaser begins with an introduction that mirrors that of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey (1968) with a match cut of a baby doll propelled into the air to flip into the commercial Barbie title. Match cuts overall draw connections between the two objects in transition. In this case, the nondescript baby doll and Barbie. High hopes are held for Gerwig’s creative direction for the film.

As the release date for the Barbie movie approaches, set leaks have floated around the social media spheres of Twitter, TikTok, and more. This week, an official trailer was finally released, and prospective viewers of the movie have begun associating bright notes of fuchsia, highlighter yellow, and glitter with the upcoming Barbie film.

In an exclusive interview with People Magazine, America Ferrera disclosed that “People don’t have any idea what to expect [with the film], and I think that that’s the right vibe…”

Speculation regarding Barbie will continue until the film is released in theaters on July 21. Whether it is exactly what you might have predicted or a piece that surpasses any expectation held for a Barbie film, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is unconventional. 

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Victoria is a Sophomore at Florida State University. She's been at Her Campus FSU since her Freshman fall and currently edits articles for her writer team! In her free time, she enjoys adding to her collection of 100+ Spotify playlists and finding more female-oriented books with unlikeable protagonists. Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys deep cleaning her house and binge-watching TV shows.