Barbie the film
I'm sure I've written about this before but I just couldn't find it anywhere, but the news is looking like this, Universal have just managed to get the rights to Barbie, yes the plastic doll that tells children everywhere they should be thinner, bigger breasted, blonde, blue-eyed, white and dressed immaculately.
Now they're going to make the film of the character. My question is what character?
I struggle to see the story in the plastic doll, as I do with many of these toy related films, and the link will be tenuous to say the least. What we're probably going to see is a Legally Blonde film with the central character being the perfect Barbie doll lookalike.
The story from The Hollywood Reporter says it perfectly:
"Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts; is sometimes a high school teen, but at times a pilot, military officer, teacher or astronaut; drives a slew of cars; dates a man named Ken; and has friends straight out of a United Colors of Benetton ad."
Well she'll be all the things I mentioned previously, with a multi-cultural slew of friends, and she'll also be hugely successful, winning in a man's world at something particularly amazing making her far from plastic at all.
Great. What's the incentive to see this film then? Why do I want to see a plastic doll come to life? A Weird Science remake would have been better placed.
The Mattel Senior Vice President Richard Dickson, through Variety, offers a rebuttal:
"The brand wasn't ready for a movie...In the last 10 years, Barbie has evolved from a toy into an intellectual property. Barbie has a proven track record in home entertainment, there have been live stage shows, live symphonies and other nontraditional forms of entertainment. There is a flagship store in Shanghai."
They counter with the fact that Barbie has developed across so many platforms and so widely seen that it deserves a film. Yet that doesn't answer my question of character.