Barbie: The Princess and the Popstar (2012)
Enthusiastic about fantastic plastic classic
It is that time of the year when film critics put together their lists of the top films released the previous year. This all leads to the culmination in February when the Academy Awards are handed out. In 2012, the Oscars turned this film reviewer into a grouch when they honoured The Artist. Come on, that film featured neither colour nor sound! That’s like giving the Prostitute of the Year award to a streetwalker who only gives hugs.
I have confidence this year, however, that the Academy will make good after this gaffe and award their highest prize to a film that featured plenty of audio and an abundance of colour to a film that is, in this reviewer’s opinion, the best film released in 2012. On February 24, prepare to hear “and the Oscar goes to… Barbie: The Princess and the Popstar.”
Barbie: The Princess and the Popstar is the 23rd Barbie film, putting it just shy of the James Bond franchise – in quantity that is, certainly not in quality. The film is based on a work by Mark Twain, which likely will lead to him finally getting some respect 100 years after his passing.
This latest Barbie installment tells the tale of two young women who seem to have it all. Tori is the princess of the enchanted land of Meribella, and unlike members of Britain’s Royal Family, she isn’t likely to be photographed with her bits and pieces on display for the world to see. Keira is a chart-topping pop star who has performed across the globe.
Now it may sound like these two have it made. I mean, what woman (or man, for that matter) wouldn’t love being a princess or pop star with exorbitant wealth, a lavish wardrobe and probably a free subscription to HBO?
However, these two young women are not fulfilled. Tori is tired of the seemingly pointless ceremonies she has to attend, and never gets to truly be herself, always putting on airs under the watchful eyes of her controlling aunt. She dreams of a life away from the kingdom, and wishes she could be like her favourite singer, Keira.
Keira, likewise, is down in the dumps. Sure, her albums are selling like hotcakes – actually, much better than hotcakes; I mean, I don’t know a single person who has ever bought a hotcake. But despite her hotcake-dwarfing sales, Keira doesn’t have time to do what she really loves: composing music. Like starlets such as Britney Spears and Rihanna, it’s about the music to Keira, but she is being pulled in every direction by management and doesn’t have the time to sit down and write some new ditties.
So when Keira and Tori meet up one day, they magically change places and are able to live the life they dream of, if just for a short while. But, spoiler alert, they both come to realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
This is just an outstanding film for all ages. I watched the film with my two young children, and it was hard to say who enjoyed it more, although I was clearly doing the most clapping and pointing at the screen. Afterwards we discussed it, and I commented that the film contains a wonderful message for children, and also puts both the foibles of the monarchy and the music industry under the microscope. My four-year-old responded that she liked Keira’s dog, while my one-year-old simply said “woof” and then soiled himself. Rumour has it that renowned film critic Roger Ebert had the exact same response to the film.
I cannot wait to see Barbie get up on stage to accept the Best Picture Oscar for Barbie: The Princess and the Popstar. She might be the least plastic-looking person who attends the ceremony.