It’s the dog days of August, not much is happening in politics and, aside from the never-ending road construction, the outflow of cash on the Green Line LRT project and the packed patios, it is quiet in Calgary. The temporary closure of access to Lake Louise reminded many of us how fortunate we were to grow up in a time when there were no real crowds, parking cost a quarter and such taxes as the GST and carbon tax didn’t exist.
A time of simple values and naive beliefs in the world we lived in.
Sitting in the Okanagan Valley, it is easy to set aside all of the concerns of the day and simply relax, just as we did so many decades ago.
That was the time when Barbie arrived on the scene, when life was simple, stereotypes were comfortable and we did not spend a lot of time carefully reviewing our thoughts or choosing our words as we do today. Much of it may have been unintentionally hurtful or bad, but in those days, we did not spend a lot of time thinking about it.
With all of that in mind, and family being insistent, your scribe went to the Barbie movie this week and wanted to share my thoughts on this billion-dollar entertainment experience.
I cannot encourage you to see it. Movies are wonderful hours of escapism, and when a movie catches my attention I might see it two or three times and recommend it to anyone who will listen. This movie you have to decide to see on your own.
This pink extravaganza has more messages than your cellphone. It is about female stereotypes, male insensitivity, changing values and perhaps a glimpse into the future.
The movie is creative magic, and it is impossible not to be intrigued by the people who conceived it and brought it to the big screen. For baby boomers, it will remind them of their youth, and for the current generation of young people, it will remind them of how things are changing. Full marks for concept and creativity.
The messaging is clear and uncomfortable. An all-male board of directors brought Barbie to the market in the late 1950s, and the opening scene borrows from the famous 1967 opening of 2001 A Space Odyssey. There is adult humour brought to life in both animation as well as brilliant performances and choreography.
In the end, with so many people talking about this movie, it is worth seeing if for no other reason than to be able to follow the discussions. Do not go expecting to be inspired or brought to tears. It is certainly political and you may laugh at the obvious political commentary. For sure, you will leave the theatre with a variety of thoughts going around in your head.
The people who love the show and the people who loathe it are equally enthusiastic about their positions so, no matter what, it is a summer experience that you will continue to talk about for hours after you leave the theatre.
Our world has changed since Barbie and Ken were created, and it will continue to change long after they are gone.
George Brookman is chair and company ambassador for West Canadian Digital Imaging.