Barbie: Breaking Down All the References in the Trailer – MovieWeb

Glamor and pink are not the only things displayed in Gerwig’s Barbie. There is much more to unpack even within the brief trailer.
Christopher Nolan's biographical film, Oppenheimer, and Greta Gerwig's romantic comedy, Barbie, might be two of the most anticipated movies of 2023. Both films have a stellar cast and interesting storylines. However, this article will be focusing on Gerwig's film. Even if the film is scheduled to be released in July 2023, its first trailer was released at the end of 2022. Gerwig's fans are already aware that her version of Barbie is not going to be the Barbie that everyone is familiar with. Yet again, the trailer for the film left everyone confused and quite intrigued. It is now obvious that Gerwig has something fascinating up her sleeve, and this particular movie might leave viewers rethinking how they perceive Barbie.
The trailer itself includes many hints and information. This one-and-a-half-minute video is one that makes you want to watch it again and again to crack down on all these hints. Fortunately, this article is all about that. Gerwig has taken inspiration for the trailer (and possibly the film) from numerous areas. Some of these are obvious sources of inspiration, while others are quite shocking.
Related: Greta Gerwig's Barbie: Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know
The beginning of the trailer might be quite odd to many viewers. In fact, it does not seem Barbie at all except, of course, for the inclusion of the dolls and the children. The trailer opens with Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey reference. As Jeff Spry points out, this particular reference is a "spot-on homage to the famous Dawn of Man opening". For those who expected a movie on Barbie to open up with the very familiar feminine tones, this might come as a shocker. However, this only indicates Gerwig's attempts at diverting away from the norm. The colors of this opening are filled with the familiar orange tones, in turn, indicating the "dawn of Barbie".
The scene focuses on small girls playing with "baby dolls" while a humongous Margot Robbie stands tall in the middle. Thus, we see the entrance of the first ever Barbie doll, which becomes a fascination for the little girls. It is thrilling to see one little girl smash her "baby doll" as it contributes to the comical effect of the trailer. Perhaps, it also suggests how young girls, even if they enjoy playing with dolls, can be quite violent contrary to the popular misconceptions on gender, which suggests that only young boys are violent. Given that Gerwig is known for her feminist approaches in film, it is highly possible that she might have taken a few chances to bring forth the power of women while shattering gender misconceptions.
Seeing a massive Margot Robbie, who is portraying Barbie, on screen can be a bit daunting. One can only imagine what such an experience would be like. Either way, what is interesting about Robbie's Barbie in the opening scene is the symbolism it carries. When Mattel first launched the Barbie doll in 1959, the toy wore a black and white stripped one-piece with hoop earrings, black heels, and a blonde ponytail with curly bangs. This is exactly what Robbie wears when she enters the trailer.
Yet again, Gerwig has added her own twist to this Barbie as Robbie's look and the way she poses represents a very powerful persona. When analyzed closely, one can easily see the strength and the influence this character carries. Whether this is something Gerwig intended to portray is yet to be answered. However, it is clear that this Barbie is not ready to be toyed around and like in the real world, Gerwig's Barbie might have a strong impact on the viewer.
Related: Simu Liu Praises Barbie's Diversity
Over the past few decades, Barbie dolls have become extremely popular that it is hard to ignore its influence on children. Since this toy has a massive impact on the way children perceive the world, it is obviously important to ensure that they send out the right messages. Fortunately, Mattel has been releasing a diverse range of Barbies while at the same time using the toys to encourage children to pursue big goals. Even if at the earlier stages, Barbie dolls portrayed absurd ideologies like the perfect body type, at the present day, the dolls have been quite a positive reinforcement.
Gerwig seems to have captured this in the trailer. The trailer might have Robbie portraying the main character, but several shots include what seems to be other "dolls". At one point we are able to see Issa Rae as a President of some sort. Additionally, Simu Liu can be seen choreographing some dances. Both these characters defy the gender roles assigned to men and women, in turn, suggesting that the film might take the opportunity to send out some powerful messages. With a diverse cast and "dolls" taking over some strong roles, Barbie seems to be nodding towards the Mattel's infamous toy's development.
In keeping on par with the typical Barbie world that almost every one of us might have dreamed of living in, the trailer brings in a massive Barbie dream house filled with sparkles, bright colors, and which is, obviously, bursting in pink. The visuals seem to be quite strong and enticing and one can only hope for more vivid settings in the film. One can only expect brilliance from this film. With a stellar cast, bright visuals, and a possibly-encapsulating storyline, Gerwig might be preparing us for a major hit.
Wishka is someone who is enthusiastic about film studies, gender studies, human rights and international law. She is an ardent fan of Peele's movies and is someone who is interested in plots that step away from tropes and clichés. Films with unexplainable endings and complex storylines are her favorite. Nonetheless, Scooby-Doo is her favorite cartoon. Having completed her LLB, Wishka is in her final year of her B.A. in English. 


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