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A Shot-For-Shot Analysis of The Barbie Trailer

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

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am extremely excited for the release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie on July 21st. I have been waiting for this movie for what feels like forever and I am so ready to see it. On April 4th, the official trailer dropped giving audiences a view inside the movie that is being kept so secretly under-wraps. 

The trailer starts with an aerial view of “Barbie Land” where I am assuming all of the dolls live. It is in the shape of a heart and nestled on a coastline. It is bright, vibrant, and very pink and a bright pink airplane flies right over. If you look closely, the surrounding areas that are not apart of Barbie Land are very dull and dark, signifying that Barbie Land is the place to be.

Next you see a pink sparkly shoe with pink feathers on the front step into the screen. The foot steps out of the shoe and stands in the iconic Barbie foot position. Of course, the background is completely pink. 

We then see Barbie walking down a very saturated beach as her fellow Barbie and Ken’s watch as she walks by. You can see bits of Barbie Land in the background which seems like something out of an amusement park. 

Then a cut to Ryan Gosling as Ken as he waves hello to Margot Robbie’s Barbie shouting the iconic “Hi Barbie” (made popular by the song “Barbie Girl” by Aqua). Barbie then responds by saying “Hi Ken!” The two are both at the beach with Ken holding a surfboard under his arm and Barbie wearing a pink gingham sun hat and pink seashell jewelry.

The next shot is of a bright blue vinyl record starting to play. It says “Barbie Sounds” on it and I can’t help but think this is where we are going to hear Dua Lipa’s new songs that she has written specifically for the movie. A Beach Boys song begins to play, further solidifying the beachy theme that the trailer is giving off.

We then see some of the other Barbies in the movie greeting Barbie. The first Barbie is an author, the next Barbie is a scientist and the next Barbie is the president. I have a feeling that because these Barbie’s are so established, the main Barbie is going to go through some sort of crisis of belonging. We then see a full view of Robbie’s outfit and she is wearing a pink gingham minidress–which I will get to later.

In this same sequence, we see another Ken greet Barbie (played by Simu Liu) to which Gosling’s Ken finds very distressing. It is very evident that these two Kens dislike one another as another shot shows Liu’s Ken glaring at Gosling and Gosling shooing him off. 

After that sequence, we see an aerial shot of a hot pink pool slide, and Barbie going down the spiral–fully clothed. I have seen so many people say this and I completely agree, but I think this is symbolic of Barbie spiraling out of control. 

Then we see Barbie driving in her pink convertible throughout the streets of Barbie Land. She is wearing a pink gingham dress and waving to everyone walking on the sidewalks. She then drives past a movie theater. The posters outside the theater are posters from the iconic movie The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland. I think this is supposed to be foreshadowing for Barbie leaving Barbie Land to find her true calling, like Dorothy does in Wizard. In the movie, Dorothy wears a blue gingham dress which is a direct reference to Barbie wearing a pink gingham dress. 

Continuing her drive, she drives past the airport, and if you look closely in the background you can see the letters “BAX” which is a direct reference to the letters outside of the Los Angeles Airport that spell “LAX.” We then see her salute the sky, assuming that she is looking at the planes flying above. 

We then see another interaction between Barbie and Ken, discussing if Ken can stay over with Barbie since they are “girlfriend-boyfriend.” Both characters seem very bubbly, but also aloof building on the emphasis that Barbie is going to go through some sort of identity crisis being surrounded by so many “smarter” Barbies. 

The plot details of this movie have been kept so secret, that people have really only been left to speculate on what it really is about. The next shot is one that appears to be from a song and dance sequence, which leaves me questioning on whether or not this is a musical or not. 

We next see a shot back at the beach of what appears to be all of the Kens having a massive fight, assuming that something about the main Barbie and Ken leaving, sets something off.

Next we are in the office of President Barbie (Issa Rae) and we see members of her cabinet standing behind her. We see an American flag replica that is pink and instead of stars there is a seashell, so my bet is Barbie Land is supposed to be a Malibu-esque place. 

Then, one of the more interesting shots, is of Barbie with two of the humans in the movie (Ariana Greenblatt and America Ferrera), they are all in matching pink jumpsuits wearing sunglasses, and appear to be on some kind of mission.

Then Barbie is back in her car in a different outfit. We see a rainbow in the background with “Barbie Land” faintly in the background, symbolzing that Barbie has left and based on the fact that she is singing along to her music, she is happy about it.

In another shot we see Kate McKinnon’s Barbie folding and bending all over the place. I think that due to her appearance of chopped up hair, cut up clothing, and drawings all over her face, she is a Barbie whose owner was a bit reckless. I feel like we all knew someone who would mess with their dolls in some way whether it was drawing all over them or cutting their hair.

Then we see what appears to be a gathering led by the President with all of the Barbies, wearing the pink utility jumpsuits that were seen earlier. In the background we see three banners that say “Ken” with a flaming horseshoe and horse on them. I cannot for the life of me figure out what this symbolizes, but it appears that the women may be rebelling against the Ken’s. 

Then we see the cast credits with clips of both Barbie and Ken. We see Barbie looking at a mirror that appears to be completely clear. This may be a reference to how Barbie feels like she has no identity and is just there, which is why she has no reflection. Her smile seems forced as well, showing how Barbie is always supposed to be happy.

Then we get to see one of the outfits that leaked last summer come to life, as she walks into what appears to be a business office wearing a hot pink vest and matching flare pants. She is walking into the office of Will Ferrell–who is portraying the CEO of Mattel. He jumps out of his chair and seems honored to meet her. However, I have a feeling that he will serve as an antagonist in the movie.

Another clip is shown that emphasizes the notion that there might be a musical element in the film as we seen both of the main Kens (Gosling and Liu) dressed in all black against a white background, engaging in a rock, paper, scissors battle.

We then get to see the full cast and it is STACKED. There are many names that were previously unannounced like John Cena. 

Then we see Barbie’s car leaving Barbie Land and passing a sign that says “Real World This Way” which shows that Barbie wants to experience the real world. If you look closely in the corner, you will see the Warner Bros water tower which is a reference to the fact that the movie is being distributed by Warner Bros. It also could be a “Planet of the Apes” style reveal which could say that the movie takes place in the future and Barbie Land is what was formerly known as LA. 

Next we see Barbie and Ken in her car that is spinning in the air. It lands and Barbie whips around, stunned to see Ken. She seems very annoyed by Ken and irritated at the fact that he exclaims that he is coming with her to the real world. This leads me to believe that she was excited to leave everything about Barbie Land behind, and Ken was included in this.

One of my favorite parts of the trailer comes next when Ken holds up his rollerblades, stating that he never leaves home without them. Anyone that has been following this movie as closelsy as I have will recognize these rollerblades as the same ones that Gosling was wearing in the behind the scenes pictures of the two rollerblading in vibrant 80s-esque outfits through Venice Beach.

Next, we are back in Barbie Land as Liu’s Ken and Gosling’s Ken face off again. Ken is hurt and being carried by Barbie and another Barbie–but it is unclear what happened to him. I am assuming that Liu’s Ken does something that causes his injury. They engage in some innuendial talk by saying they are going to “beach each other off” which is a hilarious sequence. 

Then we see a crowd favorite shot of Michael Cera as Ken’s best friend Allan staring at the fight, shocked. I completely forgot that Cera was in the movie, and I know that he is going to be a fan-favorite

The final shot that we see in the trailer is of Barbie standing between the two Kens. I think that they are going to be fighting over Barbie, but she feels like she must intervene between the two, furthering her desire to leave Barbie Land.

Obviously, I am very excited for this movie to come out and I hope my analysis made you excited too! Barbie directed by Greta Gerwig will be in theaters on July 21st.

Cameron Crews is the president of Her Campus at NC State. She is responsible for publishing all articles, leading meetings, encouraging all staff, and overseeing the entire chapter. This is her third year on Her Campus and her second year as President. Outside of Her Campus, Cameron was the Editor-in-Chief of her high school’s yearbook, which she helped lead to being awarded the best book in the entire state and honored at Columbia University’s scholastic journalism awards. She worked as an intern at Southpark Magazine in Charlotte, NC, where she edited articles, conducted interviews, and assisted the editors. In the Summer of 2023, she attended Regents University in London, England, where she took fashion classes from high players in the fashion industry who have worked with the likes of Andy Warhol, Alexander McQueen, Christian Siriano, and more. She also had the opportunity to interview Brendan Fraser immediately after he won his “Best Actor” Oscar at the 2023 Academy Awards. She is a junior at NC State University majoring in Communications with a minor in Journalism. After graduation, she hopes to move to New York, LA, Paris, or London and work in the fashion industry as either a fashion editor or celebrity stylist. Cameron was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, with her younger brother and dog, George Bailey. She enjoys shopping, watching movies, listening to music, writing, hanging out with friends, and traveling in her free time. She is a huge Taylor Swift and Harry Styles fan and has seen them both in concert multiple times. She is also a huge Timothee Chalamet aficionado and is a huge movie fan–with some of her favorites being Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, Barbie, Lady Bird, the Breakfast Club, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.