Growing up, I watched Barbie movies religiously. We’re going on a road trip? Great, let me slap my scratched DVD of Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper in my portable DVD player. Don’t talk to me Mom, I’m watching a Barbie movie. My little sister and I spent hours watching Barbie as various characters, dancing across the screen with her magical sidekick, on her way to defeat evil and make friends along the way.
Now, I know that these films were created as a marketing tool to sell dolls to young girls—a marketing tool that my sister and I fully bought into—but these films, especially the ones from the early 2000s, have a certain charm to them that I can’t help but appreciate. Since the lock-down started, my sister and I, reunited now that I am home from college, have been rewatching all of the old Barbie movies and watching many of the new ones for the first time. Movies like Barbie of Swan Lake and Barbie: Fairytopia are dripping in nostalgia, and although I am now an adult, I still remember the magic and joy these movies provided for me all the way back in 2005. Sure, the animation is rough, with awkward, stilted movements and weird background colors, and yeah, the dialogue is laughable at times, and I also wish there was more diversity in the Barbie cast. But I still love these movies just the same, flaws and all. Nothing can top the power of nostalgia, the power of corporate marketing schemes aimed at young children, and in Barbie’s case, the power of imagination.