Barbie Trailer Reactions! “Movie of the Year 2023”

The first trailer for the long-awaited live action adaptation of the Mattel toy has landed. Barbie supremacy!

Margot Robbie as Barbie
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

When toy company Mattel announced in 2009 that they had signed a deal with Universal Pictures to make a movie about Barbie, most film fans rolled their eyes. Sure, Jodie Benson and Michael Keaton would make a great Barbie and Ken in Toy Story 3 the following year, but most couldn’t imagine how a doll known for cycling through careers and clothes would make for a cinematic experience.

When you add on the terrible direct-to-video animated films Mattel regularly pumped out (no disrespect to the genuinely funny Life in the Dreamhouse) and a long development cycle that saw Anne Hathaway, Amy Schumer, Diablo Cody, and others sign on and drop out, Barbie seemed like a disaster in the making.

But then came Greta Gerwig. With two great movies under her belt (Lady Bird and Little Women), Gerwig brought on an all-star cast with Margot Robbie as Barbie, Ryan Gosling as Ken, and a whole host of actors playing alternate versions of the couple, including Shang-Chi‘s Simu Lui, new Doctor Who Ncuti Gatwa, and Insecure‘s Issa Rae. With her partner Noah Baumbach on board as co-writer, Gerwig leaned into the kitschy absurdity of the property, and Barbie has become one of the internet’s most anticipated 2023 movies.

With such epic expectations, it’s fitting that the first teaser trailer would take an epic tone. The teaser recreates the famed opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, adding a voiceover from Helen Mirren about the history of dolls. “The dolls were always and forever baby dolls,” intones Mirren, with shots of little girls holding their cherub-faced toys.

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But with the strains of Richard Wagner’s “Also sprach Zarathustra” blasting into the soundtrack, we see Barbie herself, standing like a monolith. Dressed in the same black and white swimsuit that adorned the first Barbie doll in 1959, Margot Robbie looks at the camera and gives a knowing wink, promising an irreverent good time. The final seconds of the trailer pay off this promise with quick glimpses of Barbies and Kens dancing around their dreamhouse-filled world.

Of course, the internet responded with measured and thoughtful takes.

Will the movie live up to these increasingly high expectations? Or will Barbie be cast aside, like Battleship, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, and other failed toy-to-movie adaptations? We won’t know until Barbie hits theaters July 21, 2023.