It feels like every time a popular franchise gets a film adaptation, there seems to be a wave of speculation. Then “Barbie” was announced with a spectacular director at the helm, a perfect casting in Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, and what looks to be a dream come true. From the very beginning, it checked all the boxes for a surefire blockbuster hit, and in many ways, it did not disappoint. The chemistry Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling show on screen is incredible. I feel like I laughed every time their characters interacted. More than half of the jokes were cleverly tailored for an older audience, and each one landed surprisingly well. The movie’s self-awareness of its own silliness was so creative it added greatly to the humor.
Initially, I assumed that Barbie’s story would be rather straightforward, following her journey from dreamland to the real world, similar to the experiences of Will Ferrell’s character in “Elf.” However, the movie pleasantly surprised me and had a much more in-depth story than I originally thought. In an age of trailers showing what feels like the entire movie, it was refreshing to not know where the story was going next. The most enjoyable parts of the movie take place in Barbie’s world, and we get to spend a lot more time here than I originally imagined. The film takes time to develop the intricacies of the world and characters, which helps lay the groundwork for an intriguing story.
Where the plot starts to lose its structure for me is when Barbie and Ken transition into the real world. It seems Gerwig intended to highlight the chaos of the “stranger in a strange land” dynamic, but it ended up feeling somewhat scattered and disorganized. Within a mere 10 minutes, we are introduced to three separate plotlines, and unfortunately, none of them receive the attention they deserve. Certain aspects felt crammed into the plot, especially the corporate businessmen, which felt like it was being dragged along and ultimately added little to the overall narrative. I would have rather spent more time developing the mother-daughter relationship we see with America Ferrera and Ariana Greenblatt. Instead of delving into what could have been a powerful and meaningful story, we are presented with a rather clichéd and simplistic portrayal of a typical mother and rebellious teenage daughter trope. There’s a common saying in films and character development that states, “Show don’t tell”, and this movie tends to tell much more than it needs to. As a result, the movie’s ending felt hurried and unsatisfying, which was disappointing given the strong appeal of other aspects of the film.
From a technical standpoint, this movie was really impressive. The attention to detail in the set and costume design went beyond aesthetics to also infuse the story with delightful and fun elements. Each scene was visually captivating, with a blend of colors that brought the world to life. The score, though seemingly simple, complemented each setting and character, adding an additional sense of fun and excitement throughout the story. The combination of excellent visuals and a fitting score created some of the most light-hearted fun I’ve ever had in a theater. Overall it’s going to be really hard not to have a good time with “Barbie.” While the ending may not be on par with the rest of the film, it still provides a powerful message filled with creative humor that makes the experience great for all ages.