It's the season of costume changes and glowing smiles as we prepare for the arrival of Barbie at Cineworld. The legendary Mattel toy makes her live-action debut in Greta Gerwig's forthcoming movie, which comes replete with a dazzling cast and pastel-coloured aesthetic that's bound to propel viewers back to their childhoods.
With Cineworld tickets now on sale, here's why you need to make a date with Barbie this July.
1. It has the ideal Barbie in the form of Margot Robbie
Honestly, who could be a better choice to step into the shoes of the Mattel icon? Robbie not only has the bearing and the look but also the requisite comic touch, as demonstrated in the (admittedly non-family-friendly) The Wolf of Wall Street and I, Tonya, for which she was Oscar-nominated.
Interestingly, however, Robbie confesses to not being a Barbie fan when she was growing up.
“It wasn’t that I ever wanted to play Barbie, or dreamt of being Barbie, or anything like that,” Robbie tells Vogue. “This is going to sound stupid, but I really didn’t even think about playing Barbie until years into developing the project.”
It's often said that actors give more interesting performances when they're on the outside looking in – will that be the case here?
2. And it has the ideal Ken too
La La Land, The Nice Guys, Crazy Stupid Love – there's no denying that Ryan Gosling has formidable comic chops. That makes him the perfect choice to play the Alpha Ken who pairs with Robbie's Barbie.
So, how did Gosling get into character as Ken? It turns out, that was entirely down to Robbie.
“[Margot] left a pink present with a pink bow, from Barbie to Ken, every day while we were filming," he tells Vogue. "They were all beach-related. Like puka shells, or a sign that says ‘Pray for surf.’ Because Ken’s job is just beach. I’ve never quite figured out what that means. But I felt like she was trying to help Ken understand, through these gifts that she was giving.”
3. There's more than one Barbie and Ken in this picture
You can expect the equivalent of a Barbie multiverse in the new movie. In the movie's conception of Barbie-land, the various characters are played by the all-star likes of Issa Rae, Hari Nef, Emma Mackey, Dua Lipa, Sharon Rooney, Ana Cruz Kayne, Alexandra Shipp, Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu and Ncuti Gatwa (yes, our new Doctor Who).
We're expecting that Simu Liu's rivalry with Ryan Gosling's iteration of Ken will steal the show. It's already one of the funniest things in the trailer and crosses the innuendo divide to appeal to the adults while the kids are no doubt left bemused.
4. It crosses the line between the Barbie world and the real world
As per the trailer, Barbie Prime (as we're calling her) leaves her own universe to discover her purpose. It just so happens that Ken has stolen along for the ride. When Barbie arrives in our world (complete with all manner of quick-fire costume changes that refer to the character's Mattel heritage), she runs into an unscrupulous toy developer (played by Will Ferrell) who wants to commander Barbie for his own purposes.
It seems as if the filmmakers are aping the highly successful LEGO Movie strategy and blitzkreiging the fourth wall with a dose of meta-humour. (Barbie also comes from the same distributor as those movies, Warner Bros). Can it possibly live up to the ambition and the hype?
5. Director Grega Gerwig unleashes a feast for the senses
The award-winning helmer behind Lady Bird and Little Women derived her visual influence from classic movie musicals like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (also a noted influence on Ryan Gosling's musical hit La La Land). This promises a visual treat when experienced on the big screen.
“[These musicals] have such a high level of what we came to call authentic artificiality,” Gerwig says to Vogue. “You have a painted sky in a soundstage. Which is an illusion, but it’s also really there. The painted backdrop is really there. The tangibility of the artifice is something that we kept going back to.”
The time has come. Click the link below to get your Cineworld tickets for Barbie. The movie opens on July 11th.