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The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

Barbie and Summer Movies

Students watching the new Barbie movie
Photo by Courtesy of @lfacademy on Instagram
Students watching the new Barbie movie

Barbenheimer was a popular movie marathon this summer, with both movies released in July. Barbie and Oppenheimer had very different messages about completely different topics. Oppenheimer was about the future of the atomic bomb. Yet notably, Barbie is a figure to all young women and children, this movie taught them lessons of gender equality and feminism at a young age. 

Madison Rosen ’25 particularly loved the movie. When asked why she enjoyed it, she said, “I liked the movie because it was a celebration of femininity and the cast were made up of actors [and] actresses I like.” Rosen felt that the message of gender equality was displayed well with actors that have an influence on people’s lives. She said that gender equality was preached but not in a demonetizing way; rather, it came across in a way of accepting one another. “I felt that the message of feminism isn’t too strong but it also wasn’t fully “anti-man”,” said Rosen.In turn, Rosen felt that Barbie was generous to men at times [for instance when she apologized to Ken after his wrong doings], therefore it was not a movie solely based on feminism.

On the contrary, Joseph Satriano ’25 felt the movie was overrated. When asked why he did not enjoy the movie he said, “I didn’t know going into it that it was going to be a musical, and I didn’t like the music.” Satriano felt that the music undermines the topic of gender equality and finding oneself. When Satriano was questioned on what the message of the movie was, he said, “I’m not sure, I didn’t feel the message of feminism was too strong. But I think they downgraded Ken’s masculinity to make Barbie stronger.” Satriano felt that parts of the movie were unnecessary and could have been shortened.

While both of these perspectives on the film differ, Barbie is a commemoration of gender equality and feminism. Stereotypically, Barbie is an image of plastic perfection and “role model” to women. However the film expresses acceptance by showing Barbie‘s flaws and conveys that nobody is perfect. In fact, it shows how everyone is Barbie, as demonstrated through more inclusive types of Barbies. 

 Alongside Barbie, on the same weekend, Oppenheimer was released. The film centers around J. Robert Oppenheimer and his journey as the “father of the atomic bomb.”While starring Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the cast is also jam-packed with famous names including Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and Florence Pugh. However unlike how Barbie’s reviews were a little more split with some loving it and some hating it, Oppenheimer had consistently favorable reviews in regards to that majority of audiences and critics agreed it was a well rounded film that did a good job of portraying this story. 

Despite Barbie being one of the biggest films of this summer, many other large movies came out as well. Little Mermaid, having already been an animated film released in 1989, was an addition this year to the three other live action remakes Disney has already done previously, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Aladdin. The movie stars Halle Bailey, Melissa Mcarthy and Jonah Hauer-King, alongside many other names with Halle Bailey in her acting debut since branching out of pop music. Despite the addition of a couple songs and the controversial lyric changes of original songs to make them more appropriate for current times, the story stays the same and does not stray far from the 1989 film. The critics mostly agree as well, with all noting how well the delivery of the film is from the casting, to directing, and the visual effects. Critics also applaud Bailey’s role with even one critic from Rotten Tomatoes exclaiming that she was ‘born to play a Disney princess.” Overall, it is a fun, summer film that many agree is worth the watch.   

The summer also premiered the sequel to the animated spiderman movie, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, with this summer releasing Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” With the original movie having a tremendously good reaction to a new interpretation of Spiderman, the sequel was a hopeful attempt at generating the same reaction. The movie centers around the same main character, Miles Morales, and the fellow other Spidermen from other universes as they encounter numerous other Spidermen on their journey through the spiderverse. Sequels are often hard to compare to the previous films as they sometimes are not able to live up to the original. However for Across the Spider-Verse, this was not the case. The movie was applauded by critics and viewers, with many applauding the innovative, colorful take that the film has generated. Although there are some negative reviews, including a critic from Rotten Tomatoes writing that the film is a “complete trainwreck of a motion picture”, many critics even go as far as to say that the film tops the original stating that it very well could be a “superior film.” Although the film has some complaints about the storytelling, it is noted to be an overall enticing and impressively animated film that pays homage to all the Spiderman’s that came before. 

One of the final most anticipated movies of this past summer was Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the final movie to the Indiana Jones series. For such a famous series, this movie was met with mixed reviews. The movie is much like other Indiana Jones movies, starring Harrison Ford, as he embarks on a new adventure to seek something out. However with this movie, it was more met with reviews saying that it was slow compared to other films. Critics did note that it was a nice nostalgic film, but some even said it was a “disappointment.” While the film does have an opening scene that features a young Harrison Ford fighting off Nazi’s, the rest of the movie is him as a much older man still attempting to do the same tricks as before, causing critics and viewers to see it as slower than some of the other action packed movies. As Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a series finale to the long and insanely popular Indiana Jones series, the film would be a good as well as nostalgic watch for long time fans, however it is said it might not to appeal to people not familiar with the series, or those that are just watching to watch a fun movie. 

These movies were only a couple movies released this summer, all with very different messages, storylines and characters. With going into the colder months, these fun summer movies are a perfect way to remember summer as the seasons begin to change. 


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