A live-motion Barbie film starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken is coming out in 2023. Whilst I’m enthusiastic about the new adaptation, observing the news introduced me again to my childhood, specially the Barbie animated movies of the 2000s. For me, these films have the Barbie I care about the most: the nostalgic Barbie of fairytales.
After all, how many sick times did I invest observing “Barbie Mariposa and her Butterfly Fairy Friends” at property, marveling at quite fairy attire with a pot of rooster soup? How generally did I gown up as Barbie in “Barbie of Swan Lake” or “Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses,” seeking to be Barbie herself?
The old Barbie films occupy a specific space in the cultural consciousness, specifically for those who, like me, grew up observing them. Go on YouTube and you will discover video clip compilations of the legendary villain Preminger from “Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper,” or the ideal sassy moments from “Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus.”
Even as the animation of the Barbie films has dramatically improved in excess of the a long time, the changeover to far more contemporary configurations has meant that we no extended get the fairytale that inspired the primary videos. Mattel, the toy company that designed Barbie and her involved entertainment, has demonstrated its means to adapt with its new usually takes on well known originals (see: “Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar”). Nonetheless, I’d argue that the Barbie motion pictures of the aughts captured a particular working experience of escalating up that the present-day Barbie motion pictures do not, or at the very least not as successfully.
When it arrives to emotion this way, I’m not on your own. In accordance to a Buzzfeed report by Sara Thompson, all those Barbie movies, this kind of as “Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses” and the “Barbie: Fairytopia” sequence, constitute a lot of the media that represents “2000s female culture.” It is evidence that, for many, the aged Barbie animated movies have contributed to some perception of id development. (Even if which is not true for you, they do provide as a time capsule for the earlier.)
In light of that, admirers fulfilled the modifications manufactured to far more latest Barbie movies with anger and disappointment. In a lukewarm IMDb review for the 2013 movie “Barbie Mariposa and The Fairy Princess,” consumer @ninjathesecond writes, “For some motive 2 years ago Mattel improved and created a modernised Barbie and it turned all about laptops, the web, internet weblogs etc.” The consumer goes on to remark that the business has selected to “shove” in whatever’s common and that it would be a lot more beneficial to emphasize “old college Barbie.”
A Transform.org petition started out by Sidra Khan titled “Bring Barbie Movies Back again To Their Primary Standards” has reached approximately 1,000 signatures so considerably and states that “the far more recent flicks have shed their charm” and that the plots of these motion pictures have develop into “basic.”
“We need the outdated Barbie back again,” the petition rightfully concludes.
Looking at the truth that Barbie’s intended as a role product for younger girls, the authentic Barbie movies did have a sizeable influence in conditions of how they redefined femininity. In an posting for Rappler, Mikaela de Castro dissects specific Barbie films for their “empowering” messages.
De Castro analyzes how “Barbie as Rapunzel” reveals Barbie breaking free from her oppressor and how “Barbie as the Island Princess” embraces what it means to be diverse. It is clear that, as de Castro writes, inserting Barbie into beforehand patriarchal fantasy configurations authorized Barbie to rebel from people norms and develop into incredibly iconic.
I echo others’ feelings in wishing that, rather of executing modern-day tales, Barbie must go again to her traditional fairytale roots. Even as we appreciate the merits of aged Barbie, though, it has to be said that I’m not advocating for a return to the outdated design and style of animation. Know-how has progressed, and I’m sure most individuals would fairly look at a nicely fleshed-out Barbie than the comparatively rigid block from the past.
It is worthy of noting that often the attract of the previous Barbie flicks is derived fully from nostalgia. For people who grew up through the 2000s, the Barbie motion pictures may perhaps effectively have been a basic aspect of our childhoods that we simply cannot potentially recreate now as we’re older.
Yet the Barbie films of aged resonated with lots of as they showed us a new kind of “happily ever after:” being true to custom while still possessing company in excess of the narrative. “Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper” had the most unforgettable, really Broadway-high-quality soundtrack of all time, and furthermore, I nevertheless try to remember much of the music of the past films, even now. There is a lot of gold to be identified in mining beloved tales and retelling them in influenced ways that never essentially depend on what is warm at the second.
As the evolution of the Barbie motion pictures shows, a movie doesn’t automatically require microphones to amplify its magic. Nostalgia can have its personal stage.
Valerie Wu is a junior writing about animation and electronic arts from a present-day viewpoint. Her column “Animated” operates just about every other Friday.