Well, I’m no parent but if I were I’m not sure I would let my kids watch something like Barbie The Princess and The Popstar. I’d be much more inclined to let them play something like GTA V. Despite all the brutality, despite sheer amount of destruction, and various criminal activities that one can do playing something like GTA V, at least that game doesn’t seem so fake and out of synch with the rest of the universe that we live in. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with the underlying message of this movie which is something along the lines of “Be what you are and stand up for yourself”, I will be teaching my kids something like that, but the subtext of the entire endeavor seems a bit off. Isn’t it quaint to have a magical diamond-growing bush in your garden (which is to say practically unlimited resources) so that you can spend your time being a princess, running around, never having to work etc. Apparently it’s all there is to being a princess. Wearing tiaras and gowns, being observant of rituals and endless formalities, appearing in crowds and – this is especially important when you’re nearing your 18th birthday – having pillow fights with younger sisters. What else could a person, princess even, possibly do with her life?
Yeah well, I’m aware that you can’t teach kids intricacies of life before they come to an age and taste a bit of that life for themselves (this here is a movie for kids, have no doubt about that), and I’m aware that kids tend to forget these kind of movies very soon (that the narratives appear in different variations in “romantic comedies” is an entirely different matter). Still, I like to think that you can show them something a bit more complex and still have song and dance routines present. But then it wouldn’t be Barbie I presume and everything would be pointless. How could we sell toys of a women-like-alien person with a tiny waste and I-have-been-struck-with-a-brick-in-the-head-repeatedly type of look on her face if we didn’t force shiny new clothes, diamonds, and sparkling whatnots in the narrative? So we’ll have it, fuck sense and creativity. Just cram everything together, pull up a cheesy old routine to carry a plot and no one will mind. And no one will.
It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to when I was much more aggressive in promoting my views. Thing like Barbie The Princess and The Popstar are still disturbing on so many levels but I guess that everyone has a right to choose his own poison. Even if you’re a kid and your parents should know better. What bothers me more is the total lack of creativity from everyone involved in the production. Apparently, this kind of narrative doesn’t go hand in hand with quality animation, decent aesthetics or any kind of imagination whatsoever. Except it does. I’ve seen movies that disturbed me profoundly but managed to keep me interested with a sheer power of creation that emanated from them. Barbie doesn’t even come close and I think that, even if you just want to distract your kids while you make sexy time with whomever, one should strive to find movies, especially if we’re talking about animation, that push the boundaries of imagination at least a bit. Even if you want your kid to grow up a spoiled brat, it should at least grow up to be an imaginative spoiled brat. That’s something he won’t be able to do while watching movies like this one.
Directed by: Zeke Norton
Produced by: Shelley Dvi-Vardhana, Shawn McCorkindal
Written by: Steve Granat, Cydne Clark
Starring: Kelly Sheridan, Ashleigh Ball
Studio: Rainmaker Animation