Barbie movie releases in Italy: what critics say and why it’s become a phenomenon

It’s not just about the cast or the production, it’s not about the soundtrack, it’s not about the scenography. And it’s not just the impressive advertising campaign that has accompanied it in recent months. But it is precisely for all these reasons taken together that the first live action in the movie world’s most famous doll aims to become the most important film of the year. Moreover, the event Between calendar coincidences, small previews and real international rudeness, Barbie it opens in Italian theaters on Thursday, July 20, a day earlier than in the US. Life in plastic is fantastic, Barbie played by Aqua wanted to convince us, while the one played by Margot Robbie seems to be full of doubts and plunges the fantasy world in which she is imprisoned into crisis. Already from the news about its creation, it became clear that a cultural and marketing phenomenon would be created around its release. Now the question that those who are waiting to enter the theater want to answer is whether the operation, so far performed, corresponds to its idea.

Plot and cast

One of the strategies used by production and marketing to advertise Barbie was supposed to generate a lot of talk about the film for several months, but show few images and tell even less about the plot. Just a few minutes into the trailer, we can see that very blonde Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, in her all-pink world, along with dozens of others. Barbie hyper-characteristics and tens of ken. However, the protagonist’s idyll in her plastic world is cracking, cracking in perfection, and so Barbie finds herself flat-footed, losing one of the most distinctive features of Mattel dolls. Barbie’s journey into the real world begins in these quarters – with Ken, played by Ryan Gosling – where the protagonist will also have to face the treacherous board of directors of a doll company chaired by Will Ferrell.

It was not obvious that the film would finally see the light of day. The idea to bring the Barbie story to the big screen dates back to 2009 when Mattel signed a contract with Universal Pictures. Five years later, everything goes to Sony Pictures, but doesn’t materialize until 2018, when the rights are acquired by Warner Bros. viewer. Amy Schumer has been approached for the title role in the past, followed by Anne Hathaway and Gal Gadot, who was played by Margot Robbie herself when she was “just” the film’s producer. The cast also includes Due Lipa in her debut, Emma McKee, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Hari Nef, Alexandra Shipp. The Kens, in addition to Gosling, also include Simon Liu and John Cena.

What the critics say

There are lucky ones who were able to see the film in preview, and doubts have already been dispelled. US film critics are not unanimous, even if the comments are mostly positive. Two positions dominate. On the one hand, there are enthusiastic critics who see the film as feminist, ironic, and smart enough to overcome fears that it is just a giant marketing operation. On the other hand, those who believe that the overwhelming push is exhausted in the package. “Barbie packaging is much more fun than a boring toy inside a box,” said Johnny Oleksinski of New York Post, summarizing the thoughts of those who were not satisfied with the film. But there was no shortage of rave reviews, and they were mostly convinced by the funny, light-hearted, suddenly hilarious character. “Barbie is one of the movies main stream more imaginative, flawless and amazing than recent memory,” he writes on Independent Clarissa Lowry: “While no studio film can be truly subversive, especially as the consumer culture has internalized the idea that self-awareness is good for business, Barbie does a lot more than previously thought possible.” According to enthusiasts, Greta Gerwig and her cast managed to avoid the trap of a film where surprise and self-criticism risked being just plastic.

Greta Gerwig, independent director

That a film worth more than $150 million could be directed by a director like Greta Gerwig wasn’t obvious. Not because the 40-year-old Sacramento resident doesn’t deserve it: for Lady Bird, making his debut behind the camera, in 2018 was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director and Best Screenplay. Candidacy, last received two years later for Small woman, including the Golden Globes and BAFTAs. This does not mean that the choice of Gerwig in July 2021 still impressed fans, because before that she was considered an indie director, one of the interpreters mumblecore Californian. “His films were so independent that they were not shown at Sundance, but were shown directly south by southwest,” he writes in the magazine. Guardian Caspar Salmon “was once an indie movie queen, now she uses intellectual property to make money for a mega toy company that sells vacuous and hypersexual dolls and no one cares.” Considering the director’s other work, Gerwig had to give the film a feminist edge, emphasizing the emancipatory aspects of Margot Robbie’s character without distorting the image of the doll that had shaped the imagination of millions since the late 1950s. girls and boys. And not only.

Controversy before release

How many liters of paint does it take to create a completely pink world? The answer to this question was found by the company, which the director and set designer Sarah Greenwood turned to. In order to color the Barbie Country set the right shade, the company used up all of its material, exhausting all available cans. “They used all the paint we had. We gave them everything we could give them, they cleared us,” they confirmed. Guardian. But if the shortage of hot pink makes you smile, the diplomatic incident with Vietnam forced the manufacturers themselves to intervene instead. In early July, some footage from the film made a Southeast Asian country nervous, which banned its release. In fact, in one scene there was a map showing Chinese claims to the South China Sea. In fact, there would be a line of nine sections with which Beijing officially delineates what it considers its possessions, despite the opposition of other countries. “This was not intended to make any statement,” a Warner spokesperson assured, “the map you see is a child-style crayon drawing, a scribble depicting Barbie’s imaginary journey from Barbie Country to the real world.”

One of the elements that impressed fans the most after the trailer was released was Barbie’s foot position. Indeed, Margot Robbie, who stated that she was working out and wanted to shoot a scene in which her character gets out of bed with “pointed” legs without stunt doubles. This is a classic Barbie foot pose designed to make it easier for her to put on her shoes. After seeing the scene, social media users tried to recreate the scene by standing on their toes with their legs bent and taking off their shoes. A truly uncomfortable – and painful – position, so much so that the actress herself admitted that in order to get the right take, she had to help herself, leaning on a metal bar. However, social media went crazy over another element related to the film. A coincidence that even marketers couldn’t have foreseen: Simultaneous screenings in theaters – in the United States – Oppenheimer, a film about the life of an American physicist who, with the Manhattan Project, led to the development of the atomic bomb. A coincidence, nothing more, that made the release of the two films even more exciting. And it spawned dozens of hilarious memes under the hashtags #Barbenheimer and #Barbiecore.

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