Monday, July 31, 2023

More Barbie Movie Dolls!

Here we are at the end of Barbie Month.  The time flew by for me!  But this has been one of the most fun months of blogging that I've ever had.  Not only was there a ton for me to learn about Barbie, but the range of dolls I got to play with was awesome.  And the movie has united so many people with its joyful exuberance!  I've heard only positive things about it--and from a really wide range of people.

I've been tracking all of the Barbie movie dolls since they were released, and it's been interesting to watch the sales patterns.  Cowgirl Barbie sold out very quickly, but the other options were available for quite a long time.  Then, suddenly, in the ten days since the movie premiered, most of the dolls have completely sold out.  I think Denim Ken is the only character left at Mattel Creations, and the big box stores only have Basic Ken and Gloria...and I would not count on that to last.  So with new buyers facing secondary market prices that are leaning towards $200, it's important to know what these dolls are like in person.

I knew there was never going to be time for me to review all of the Barbie movie dolls.  In fact, I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to squeeze this review in by the end of July--especially since this past week happened to overlap with a mini vacation that my husband and I have been planning since February.  But it all worked out and I'm here to finish up the month by showing you three of the Barbie Signature dolls that I bought:

Barbie movie Signature dolls, from left: Disco Barbie, Gloria, and President Barbie. $50 each.

  I originally intended to include Simu Liu's Ken in this review, too:

In fact, I purchased him along with Gloria and President Barbie on July 4th, assuming they'd arrive in plenty of time for this review.  However, Mattel Creations took three weeks to ship the dolls, which finally arrived yesterday.  While we were out of town, of course.  Sigh.

Anyway, I was only able to write this review because Amazon came to the rescue.  I ordered Gloria and President Barbie from them when I started to panic about my other order, and Amazon was able to deliver the dolls overnight--as they do.  Unfortunately, the Simu Liu Ken is a Mattel exclusive, so he was not available on Amazon.

The other dolls that I won't have a chance to review are Denim Ken:

I like his underwear!
The pink and blue plaid Barbie:

And Cowgirl Barbie:

All of the dolls are great, I think.  In the movie, Barbie probably spends the most time wearing the cowgirl outfit, which might explain that doll's popularity.  It's also a really fun outfit!

I purchased several of the Barbie variations early on, but I waited to buy the ancillary characters until after I saw the movie.  I wasn't sure how much of a role they would play in the story.

In the end, I feel like all of the dolls represent important movie characters.  And I want to see more!  We need Weird Barbie and Allan, for sure, but I'd also love to have Hari Nef, Sharon Rooney, and Alexandra Shipp dolls.  Heck, we need all of the main Barbies made into dolls!

All of these Barbies as dolls, please.
For now, though, I'll enjoy what I have.  

The first Barbie that I'm going to review today is the first one I bought: Disco Barbie.  Without knowing anything about the movie, she was my favorite.  I was drawn to her sequined outfit and bang-free hair:

Gold Disco Jumpsuit Barbie, $50.

This box has the same design as Basic Barbie's box, including the photo of Margot Robbie on the back:

The Signature dolls all come in much larger boxes than the basic dolls, though.  Here's a size comparison:

Basic Barbie (left) and Signature Gold Disco Jumpsuit Barbie (right).
The fun thing is that this Barbie comes with a different backdrop than Basic Barbie.  In fact, several of the Signature movie dolls have their own unique backdrop!

This doll made a much better first impression on me than the basic doll:

I think she looks more like Margot Robbie without the bangs, and the outfit is great.

I cut her away from the backdrop, grappling with four plastic ties in the back of the head:

Here's a better look at the backdrop:

It's the setting for the big dance scene at the beginning of the movie, where Barbie is wearing her gold jumpsuit.

The backdrop has some small cardboard tabs that keep it folded at the sides, but those tabs can easily be released, and then the backdrop flattens out into a large square:

I'm so obsessed with the set from this movie, I might actually keep the backdrops as decorations for my studio.  I think they're really fun to look at.

I couldn't for the life of me get Barbie to stand up on her own.  It was easy to see why, though:

Flat heels!  Ahhh!
Her shoes came rubber-banded to her feet, but one of the shoe's heels got caught in the band, flattening it against the sole.

The deformation didn't relax right away, either.  This is how the shoes looked after I heated them up and tried to re-position the heels:

Sad, melty shoes.
I needed a quick solution to this problem, so I let Barbie wear the basic doll's pink shoes.  They don't match the gold outfit at all, but at least they aren't warped.

With the help of the pink shoes, Barbie doesn't need the stand she came with:

It's nice that the dolls come with stands, though, because I will definitely use these for long-term display.

Here she is from the back:

I was surprised to see the strange plastic accessory in Barbie's hair:

I don't remember this from the movie, but I went back and looked at the trailer again, and sure enough; she's definitely wearing a headpiece in the dance scene:

It has multiple petal-like layers that look like they're made out of tulle.  And it sticks up fairly straight at the back of her head--like a fan:

Ken's also a fan.
I tried to examine this headpiece more thoroughly, but Barbie's large dangle earrings were getting in the way.  They came all tangled up in strands of the long hair:

I finally extracted the earrings.  They each have two pieces: a round stud that attaches to the ear, and a dangling gold heart:

I'm not sure if these earrings match the movie, because Barbie's hair is often covering her ears.

With the earrings out of the way, I tackled the headpiece.  This came tied into Barbie's hair with camouflaged thread:

It's a small translucent plastic headband with four heart-shaped plastic protrusions:

It reminds me of a butterfly:

The heart-shaped pieces look like they should move, but the whole thing is static: 

Some of the details of this piece are nicely replicated from the movie.  However, the way the hearts fan out horizontally, and the way the whole thing perches on the top of Barbie's head isn't quite right:

Helicopter Disco Barbie.
Barbie's other accessories are a pair of gold plastic bracelets:

Here's a closer look at the bracelet on the right arm:

Notice also that Barbie has pink nail polish!  That's a detail that the basic doll is missing.

The bracelets can be removed.  I like how the one on the right, below, looks like a cluster of gold bangles:

This doll has the same face mold as Basic Barbie, but she looks almost completely different because her face is not overshadowed by long, heavy bangs:

Her hair comes gelled into big curls, and these don't look or feel very good straight out of the box:

That hair is kraken.
It took me a few minutes to brush out the stiff curls.  The hair felt much softer afterwards, but it looked a lot frizzier!

That hair is the Shih Tzu.
Here it is from the back:

The hair contains two contrasting shades of blonde, and is rooted evenly and with good density:

The hair is saran, so it has the shiny, soft-feeling, slightly messy-looking mannerisms of that fiber.

Do you remember during the last review when I played around with Basic Barbie for a few minutes to see if I could make her look good?  As a reminder, the results were not stellar:

In contrast, this Barbie loves the camera!

I like her hair so much better.

I tied the hair back for a little while, though, so that I could look at her face:

The face paint is similar to the basic doll's paint, but not exactly the same.  For example, the Signature eyebrows are darker, and the lip paint is more subtly pink:

Here's a GIF with the basic doll so you can see the little differences:

The Signature face looks more polished overall, I would say, with no missing paint and nice, rich colors.  I also like the more natural blonde color of the hair.

Am I imagining things, though, or does this face mold have a lot of asymmetry in the nostrils?  To me it looks like the left half of the nose is hiked upwards, and the right nostril is bigger.  I don't notice this much in real life, but in photos it's distracting:

One thing about this doll that I do notice in real life is that she has a smudge of gloss above her lip on the left side:

It's not a huge flaw, but it's a hard thing to remove.

The feature that drew me to this particular version of Barbie is her outfit.  I love the dance scene in the movie, and I think that this interpretation of the costume is well done:

The bodice of the jumpsuit looks strapless, but there are two transparent vinyl bands holding everything up:

The suit closes in back with two metal snaps, which is a rare form of closure on doll clothing these days:

The jumpsuit is made out of metallic gold fabric, and has an overlay of sequined mesh:

The construction is good, and the bodice is nicely tailored, with two seams on each side:

The jumpsuit is also very easy to take off and put back on again.

Underneath the jumpsuit, Barbie has the same Gigi body that we saw on the basic doll.  And for some reason, her knees are braced with cardboard:

Was somebody worried that her knees would buckle in the box?  They're not that flexible.  Speaking of flexibility, I know I've tried to justify Mattel's body choice for this doll--because Stereotypical Barbie should have a more classic body design and all of that, but I might have to swap this doll's head onto a Made to Move body.  It makes such a difference in poseability.

Regardless of the body she ends up with, this Barbie will definitely replace the basic doll in my collection.  That means she gets to add the pink gingham outfit to her wardrobe:

Disco Barbie wearing Basic Barbie's outfit.
I think she looks great!

In that last picture, it looks like Barbie's hair is longer on her right side than it is on her left, but the length is actually quite even throughout.

It's so nice to be free of those shelf-like bangs.

I really like how this outfit looks when Barbie has her hair pulled back a little:

I suppose I could add in the pink bow, too, but there's nothing to hold it in place:

I prefer the disco jumpsuit outfit, so I started to put that back on for some final portraits.  Unfortunately, as I was re-dressing Barbie, I noticed that one of the snaps in back was coming un-sewn:

All it took was a gentle pull on that thread and the snap fell off completely:

I can sew that back on--no sweat--but it's depressing to have a new $50 doll fall apart.

I tried to put Barbie's original gold shoes back on, but not only hadn't the heels straightened out enough to support her weight, the shoes would not stay on her feet:

It's like they were made for a completely different doll.  They don't fit at all--they just fall straight off.

I didn't want to keep using the clashing pink shoes, so I rummaged around my workroom for something better.  I found these JamieShow Muse shoes that have some gold on them:

The shoes are a little big for Barbie, but they stay on better than the shoes she came with, and they allow her to balance on her own!

Her hair has calmed down from when it was freshly brushed, too, and I think she's looking very pretty:

She's looking so pretty, in fact, that Ken wanted to dance with her!

Or maybe he was looking for a chance to show off his own moves?

I wanted to recreate the scene from the trailer where Barbie claps in time to Make Your Own Kind of Music--a song that has been stuck in my head for about four weeks straight now.

You know, this scene:

I can't make Barbie wink, but this is a pretty good approximation of the pose: 

It's even better without that headband:

And okay, okay, you know I tried to make Barbie wink in some cheesy way, so I might as well show you that, too:

I like this Barbie so much more than the basic version.  Her face paint is better, her outfit is higher-quality, and her hair is much more attractive.  She looks more like Margot Robbie to me, as well.  I think that without the obstruction of the heavy bangs, it's easier to appreciate her features.  

She has some irritating flaws, though, like the loose snap on the jumpsuit, the warped, ill-fitting shoes, and the smudge of gloss on her lip.  I like the design of the earrings, but they can get tangled in the hair, which is frustrating.  And while the headpiece is clearly recognizable as part of the movie costume, the shape of it feels wrong and can look silly.  

The flaws make the $50 price tag on this doll harder to swallow, but since she's sold out and going for more than twice her retail price now, my perspective on the pricing has shifted; I'm definitely glad I own her, and I would not have wanted to pay $ I'm happy.

The next doll I'm going to de-box is Gloria.

After seeing the movie, I feel like everyone's going to want a Gloria doll.  Gloria is one of a few human characters who are essential to the plot.  I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just tell you that the character is really great.  And America Ferrera does a wonderful job portraying her.

I was very excited to get my Gloria:

Gloria doll from Barbie, the movie, $50.
Her box is essentially the same as Barbie's.  But because Gloria is shorter than Barbie, this doll leaves more empty space in the box around her.

Rather than having a portrait of America Ferrera on the back of the box, this box has a photo of the Dreamhouse:

They should have put the movie poster on the back of the box.
In fact, the only dolls with portraits on the back are the ones depicting Margot Robbie's Barbie.  All of the other boxes have this same photograph of the Dreamhouse.

Gloria has another photo of the Dreamhouse on her backdrop:

This is completely different from Disco Jumpsuit Barbie's backdrop, so I flattened it out to keep it for decoration:

Unlike Barbie, Gloria can stand on her own--if a bit precariously.  She also comes with a pink-based stand:

Here she is from the back:

The pink jacket in this set does not look very flattering, especially right out of the box.  It was flipped up in back, and made Gloria look hunched over in the shoulders:

But her shoes, which peek out from dramatic slits on the sides of the pant legs, are great!

I don't remember these shoes from the movie, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for them when I watch it again.

Gloria has a very friendly face that reminds me a lot of America Ferrera:

They nailed the smiling eyes and dark, shapely eyebrows.

The hair came out of the box looking ridiculous, though.  It's straight in the back, but has these two huge gelled curls on either side:

And the hair looks messy everywhere--especially in the back.

I think Gloria's hair has some curl at certain points in the movie, but at other times it's straight and smooth:

The doll designers should have stuck with straight and smooth.

But I'll get the hair out of the way so that you can see her face:

She has such a happy, friendly face.  I really love it.  The makeup is interesting, too.  It's even more elaborate than Barbie's makeup, with plum and gold lining the eyes.

The eyebrows have hairline detail, too:

My doll is missing some of the gold paint around her right eye, but this is hard to see.

I brushed Gloria's hair to try and tame those silly curls at the side of her face.  She looks better with the curls gone, but the hair is still messy and wild:

The fiber is saran, just like Barbie's hair, but it doesn't feel very good.  I'll have to wash the gel out and see if I can straighten the curl.

Before I attempted any of that, though, I snapped some candids of Gloria in her full outfit:

I find the huge hoop earrings distracting.  They get stuck in Gloria's hair, for one, and they also don't hang straight--they angle outwards, which defies gravity:

The earrings are easy to remove, though:

I tied Gloria's hair back so that we could see what was going on with the outfit:

It's an elaborate three-piece outfit, and I love that she's wearing a pink pantsuit, but there's something funny about the jacket.  

Not only does it make Gloria's shoulders look hunched, but it makes it seem like her elbows are bending too low on her arms--probably because the shoulders of the jacket are pushed up too high:

At the time, I felt like perhaps the jacket was just sitting incorrectly on Gloria's body.

It was hard to adjust the jacket's position, though, because it came plastic-tied to the underlaying shirt:

I cut the ties and freed the edges of the jacket:

There's no functional closure in the front, just a decorative black button that's sewn in place with black thread.

I took the jacket off to inspect it:

The exterior is made out of satiny fuchsia material.

Each sleeve is accented with three black buttons that are sewn in place:

The right side of the jacket has a small pocket:

The pocket opens a tiny bit, but not enough to hold anything:

The left side of the jacket has a decorative pocket at the top and another shallow pocket at the bottom:

The construction of the collar and lapels is great, but the shoulder seam has issues.  The shoulder tends to collapse, like this:

When it's supposed to look like this:

That's part of the reason why the jacket makes Gloria look hunched over, I think.  Also, the fit of the jacket through the shoulders is too big.

The inside of the jacket is great, though.  It's fully-lined with a matte fuchsia fabric:

Underneath the jacket, Gloria is wearing a light pink knit tank top:

The bottom hem of this shirt really likes to flip up:

Mattel did their best to keep the shirt from flipping adhering it to Gloria's belly:

That's one way to do it.
I pulled the shirt free of the adhesive, but it left behind a lot of fabric residue: 

Belly lint.
Fortunately, the adhesive strip was easy to scrape away from Gloria's body:

And then I was able to get the shirt to lay flat, or at least semi-flat:

Both the shirt and the pants close in back with velcro.  No snaps for Gloria, I guess:

The pattern of the knit runs vertically on the front panel of the shirt, and diagonally on the two back panels:

The seam allowances are all tiny, so of course I worry a bit about unraveling (especially with a knit) but everything looks secure for now:

The striped pants are made out of a stiff, canvas-like fabric that looks more durable:

They have flared legs with high slits and a wide waistband.

The stitching is neat and tidy throughout:

The pockets open, but they're just vents into the interior of the pants--not actual pockets:

They're perfect for Gloria to casually rest her hands in her pockets while she's posing, though.

Underneath her outfit, Gloria has a petite Made to Move body (lucky girl!), and her knees also come braced with loops of cardboard:

I've reviewed this body's joints before, so I won't go through all of that again here.  Suffice it to say that all of the Made to Move bodies are great, and the Signature Made to Move bodies are even better because they have solid ankle joints.

Gloria has pink nail polish--just like Barbie!

And she has these amazing shoes that allow her to balance on her own:

I want a pair of shoes like this!  They're made out of pink vinyl, but all of the straps are painted different colors:

The back of each shoe has a small slit and is painted gold:

Despite the slits, these shoes are hard to get off.  That's better than them falling off all of the time, I guess.

Once I'd taken a good look at Gloria and all of her clothing, I gave her hair that much-needed boil wash:

I think it looks so much better like this!

And now she's ready for some real portraits:

This is such a joyful doll.  And her articulation is vastly better than Barbie's.  The double-jointed elbows and knees are so great.

She has far more posing options than any of the other Barbie movie dolls.

She's so human.

I felt reluctant to add the bulky jacket back into the mix, but I was curious to see if I could get it to hang better on Gloria's body:

It looks fine, but it's still puckering in at the shoulders and feels too big in some areas:

Here's Gloria with Disco Barbie:

I love both of these dolls, and I think they go really well together.  I only wish that Barbie was as well-articulated as Gloria.

Gloria had a lot of issues right out of the box that made me think I wasn't going to like her.  Her messy hair and frumpy jacket were the worst offenders, and they masked her potential.  Her happy, attractive face kept me rooting for her, though.  She looks a lot like America Ferrera, and captures the fierce optimism of the movie character.  Her outfit is also impressive, and even though I don't like the fit and look of the jacket, I have to admit that it's well made, with sewn-on buttons, beautiful lapels, and a lined interior.  The shirt, pants, and shoes are all great, even if the hem of the shirt is hard to keep flat.  After I straightened Gloria's hair and started to play with her articulation, she came alive.  Now I find her an nearly-perfect doll version of a highly-memorable character.

Last but not least, let's take a closer look at President Barbie:

President Barbie from Barbie, the movie, $50.
Her box is mostly the same as Gloria's, but it has a different backdrop:

This doll makes a great first impression because of her face.  She's really beautiful:

But her posture is strange, and her dress looks like it's come undone in back

Who rests their hand on their hip like that?  Nobody.  But I know that this doll has the Superhero body, and I also know that despite the double-jointed elbows on that body, the arm flexibility is not good enough for a hand to rest casually on the hip.  I'm not sure why this doll didn't get a Made to Move body like Gloria.

But the backdrop is great!  It's the president's desk from the movie:

I love how everything looks like a toy, even though it's life-sized.

Barbie comes with a light pink stand, but she can balance well on her own:

Both the dress and the hair looked messy right out of the box:

One of the problems with the dress was that the velcro closure in back was open.  There was a vinyl band wrapped around Barbie's waist, and this was sticking out and interfering with the velcro:

The other problem with the dress is that the presidential sash looked twisted and bulky.  So I took the sash off:

The sash is great, with "President" written in the Barbie font.  I feel like the sash is poking fun at the beauty queen elements of the Barbie brand over the years--and how even the most powerful Barbie in the land would need to wear a sash like this.

I think my doll's sash was made incorrectly, though.  There's a twist in the loop of fabric:

That twist makes this sash a Möbius strip, and so one side can never lay flat.  Either the front or the back of the sash is always going to be twisted.

The dress looks better without the sash and with the back closed, but it was still hard for me to figure out what was going on at the neckline:

The bodice is stiff, and doesn't fit very well, and I wasn't sure if the straps were supposed to sit off the shoulder or not:

It was hard to make any adjustments to the bodice because--once again--everything was adhered to the chest with sticky rectangles:

I checked some movie footage and, indeed, the sleeves should sit off the shoulder:

In that photo, you can also see the lovely Issa Rae, who plays President Barbie in the movie:

Ms. Rae has a distinct, radiant smile, and the doll doesn't really capture that, but she has a beautiful face nonetheless.  She also has a lot of really messy hair:

If I can imagine the hair not being so messy, I guess I can see how Issa Rae's hair looks vaguely like this during some scenes of the movie, in particular the scene where she's wearing the pink dress.  But there was disappointment in the collecting community when the designers went with wavy hair for the doll, and not more tightly curled locks, like in this scene:

This hair is essentially a darker version of Disco Barbie's hair, with big gelled clumps and large curls:

At this point the necklace was getting in my way (it's always spinning around so that the heavy part is in back) so I removed it:

It's made out of metallic gold plastic and has an intricate molded flower design.

Barbie's only other jewelry is a pair of small gold hoop earrings that are molded directly to the ears:

I'm not sure I've ever seen a Barbie with permanent earrings before!  I like these because they look good, they don't get caught in the hair, and they can't fall out and get lost.

This Barbie is incredibly photogenic, but that hair needed some help.

I brushed the hair to remove the gelled clumps, and--as we saw with Disco Barbie--that resulted in a lot of frizz and volume:

This kind of hair is much better off when it's finger-combed, but I had to use a brush at least once in order to disrupt the gel.  

In retrospect, I wonder if I'd have been better off just washing the gel out and then finger-combing the hair as it dried?  

In any case, I tied the hair back to tame it a little, and this looks nice:

It also gives us a chance to look more closely at Barbie's face:

She has a serene expression with light brown eyes, dark eyebrows (with no hair line detail) and subtle makeup.

Her eyeshadow includes a line of gold just above the eye, a swath of dark plum above that, and then a very faint sheen of gold on the top.  Her lips are a natural smoky umber with a slight shimmer:

It's a wonderful face.  It's a tad generic, I guess, but I wouldn't change a thing.

Recent Barbie interpretations of a president character tend to look chic and professional:

But the original President Barbie, who came out in 1992, was wearing what looks like a ball gown:

The movie might have been playing on the absurdity of this outfit when they designed President Barbie's wardrobe.  She's wearing a high-waisted pink and gold ball gown covered in glitter:

I'd like to say that this dress is meant to be an inaugural gown, but in the movie, President Barbie is wearing it for what seems like a normal day at work.

The skirt is made out of pink satin with a tulle overlay.  All of the gold glitter designs are printed on the tulle layer:

As we saw before, the bodice has a sweetheart neckline with off-the-shoulder sleeves, and it's caked with glitter--but only on the front:

The back of the bodice is plain pink satin, with a short velcro closure:

I took the dress off to get a better look at it, and the first thing I noticed was that the glitter on the bodice has worn off in two pinpoint two unfortunate locations:

I blame the patriarchy.
Other than that, the dress attractive, and the construction is on par with the other Signature outfits:

Underneath the dress, Barbie had four patches of adhesive on her chest in an attempt to keep the dress in place:

That just shouldn't be necessary.
I was able to scrape the adhesive off with my fingernail.

As I mentioned, this Barbie has the Superhero body with double-jointed elbows and knees.  This is the same body as a Black Label Wonder Woman that I reviewed back in 2017.

She came with the cardboard knee braces that the other two dolls had, but I removed those:

This Barbie also has pink nail polish:

The thing that was allowing Barbie to balance for all of these pictures is a pair of gold vinyl high-heeled shoes with ankle straps:

These are by far the sturdiest of the movie doll shoes that I've seen so far.  They don't fall off, and the heels are nice and straight:

Disco Barbie is definitely going to want to borrow these shoes.  They match her outfit well, and they allow her to stand!

I put President Barbie back into her dress for a few portraits:

I wish she had some rotation in her arms, because that would increase her posing options dramatically.

But she's still a gorgeous doll.

And she can strike plenty of nice poses:

Her necklace is fiddly, since it swings around and gets caught in her hair, but I added it at the very end:

The sash is also hard to manage, and is always twisted.  And it catches the light and creates a lot of glare, too.  But sometimes Madame President just needs to have that sash:

Just so it's clear who's the boss:

Here are the two Barbies together:

There's a lot of golden glitter and sparkle between these two!  But they wear it well:

President Barbie is a wonderful addition to the movie doll collection.  Her character in the movie is not as prominent as Gloria's (and certainly not as prominent as Stereotypical Barbie's), but she's an obvious choice for a doll because of Barbie's history being president.

And the doll herself is really beautiful.  I think she has a wonderful face mold, nice coloring, and while her hair is voluminous and can look messy, it adds drama to the doll's overall appearance.  I find some elements of the outfit problematic, though.  The dress has a stiff, ill-fitting bodice with missing glitter in an awkward location.  The sash is great, and is a fun swipe at Barbie's beauty queen tendencies over the years, but my sash is twisted and cannot lay flat.  I think the necklace is nice, and it looks like the movie jewelry, but it's loose and is constantly spinning around Barbie's neck.  In contrast, the earrings are permanent and don't move at all--a feature I appreciate on a doll with this much hair.  Barbie's body is a mixed bag.  I like the double-jointed elbows and knees, but the lack of rotation in the limbs is limiting.  I simply don't understand why she didn't get a Made to Move body.  If Mattel wants a more muscular body for some characters--like this doll and the Laverne Cox tribute doll--then I think the solution is pretty clear: add to the diversity of the Made to Move body shapes.  

To finish up, here's a photo of all three of my Signature girls together:

Bottom line?  I've shared my thoughts about each of these dolls at the end of their section in the review, so I won't repeat all of that information here.  I can summarize my experience with all three dolls fairly succinctly, though.  

First of all, I'm happy and feel fortunate to have all of these dolls.  Each of them brings back different memories from the movie, and each is evocative of the character they represent.  I also find all three of them appealing dolls on their own--regardless of the movie.  I'd say Gloria is my favorite of the three in this sense, because I love her facial expression, her hair washed out nicely, her outfit is cute, and her articulation is excellent.  However, all of the dolls have flaws or irritations that aren't fun to see in a $50 purchase.  For example, none of the three had hair that looked good right out of the box.  In fact, the hair looked really bad.  Also, each character had some kind of wardrobe issue: Disco Barbie's snap fell off and her shoes don't fit.  Gloria's jacket isn't flattering to her body and the hem of her shirt flips up.  And President Barbie's dress has a strange bodice with missing glitter and a sash that's twisted.

Certain things about these dolls, like all of the adhesive tape holding their clothing in place and the cardboard braces on their knees, makes it seem like they were never meant to be taken out of the box.  And I suspect a lot of people will keep the dolls in their packaging, especially as the prices skyrocket.  On the other hand, some of the dolls looked so strange in their boxes that it felt essential to remove them.  President Barbie was the worst offender in this case, since her dress had come undone in the back, her sash was askew, and her arm was posed in a ridiculous way.  I'm very happy that I took the dolls out of their boxes.  I think they look better now, and they're fun to play with.  I just wish that they all had Made to Move bodies--especially for the $50 price.

And with that, we're officially at the end of July and the end of Barbie Month!  I've been thinking about Barbie so frequently for the last 31+ days, I'm not even sure what I'm going to do with myself tomorrow!  It's been really fun to see how a movie about dolls can excite, enchant, and unite so many people.  More than simply being a great, feel-good movie, Barbie has become a phenomenon.  It's not clear when or if anything like this will ever happen again, so I'm going to cherish all of the dolls I reviewed this month--especially the movie dolls.  They aren't perfect, and they're probably overpriced, but they mark a moment in history that I never want to forget.


  1. "In retrospect, I wonder if I'd have been better off just washing the gel out and then finger-combing the hair as it dried?"

    Yes!! You have to treat curly doll hair similarly to irl curls - try not to brush or comb it unless it's wet. Dry brushing is a recipe for poofage and misery! :P

    Thank you for Barbie week - I've really enjoyed reading, it's been lovely. ♥

  2. Your review makes me wish I had gotten Disco Barbie! I did manage to snag Gloria and Simu Liu's Ken, though. I think you got unlucky with the basic Stereotypical Barbie, mine's bangs aren't nearly as egregious, I wish I could share photos so you could see the difference!

  3. Barbie month was so fun! It's been fun seeing Barbie be more mainstream, and in a positive light, than I've ever seen her.

    Golden Jumpsuit Barbie is so pretty! I'm unsure whether I'll get her, but I do think I'll get Simu Ken. My gingham Barbie's shoes came as warped as your jumpsuit Barbie's! I fixed them by boiling water, and letting the heels soak in it in a small bowl. They still don't fit though. Barbie's feet are too arched!

    Gloria is lovely! I loved her character in the movie, and now she's on my wishlist. Her makeup is stunning!

    President Barbie looks to have the same shoe mold as blue plaid Barbie, who I have, and I agree, her shoes fit the best, though you can tell they aren't arched enough to fit her feet correctly. That ankle strap is the only reason they stay on, haha. Who sculpted the shoes? Did they shape them to 90s Barbie feet? Because those are the only dolls that for the shoes perfectly. It's baffling.

    Thanks for sharing another wonderful review, Emily! I'm sure I'll have Barbie on the brain for a few more weeks, but I look forward to what you'll review next!


  4. Oh I love this review and this movie's merchandise! Fun fact - President Barbie wears a sash at Issa's suggestion. In a video of when the dolls were first unveiled she said that she mentioned to Greta Gerwig that she feels like her character would wear a sash like she does and they did it for her. I don't think the smile or sculpt quite captures her own signature smile but the serenity works for her and the more natural hair she wears in most of the movie definitely suits her more. I also loved that all of her outfits said president on them in some way (my favorite is the red and white sweatsuit from the end!) and she was fun.

    Gloria in the movie made me really love and want the doll. I hadn't gotten her yet and thought I could grab one later but alas! And I definitely need her and the president. Disco is so pretty but she's gone for good now and it makes me feel extremely grateful I was able to get cowgirl at least. And we're getting a second wave of dolls? Super excited!

  5. I remember that the snaps on Barbie clothes I had in the mid to late eighties were always coming off. Also, there always seemed to be embarrassing gaps in the back closures of Barbie's pants. They really didn't even need any closures on her pants, elastic would have worked just fine, and wouldn't have been flashing her butt all the time. (Whoever heard of pants that close in back anyhow?)

  6. I saw the movie twice now and I think everyone needs a little Gloria. I just ordered her last sunday and can‘t wait till she arrives :) But I‘m still on the fence with Disco Barbie even she‘s really cheap now on Amazon :) I already have the Cowgirl, so hmmm…but I really need the Skater Barbie from wave 2 and I really hope for Allan :)

    Thank you so so much for that amazing month, Emily, it was so much fun 🩷🩷🩷

  7. I was driving past the movie theater Monday night and saw a group of teen boys in pink shirts heading in! It's so incredible to see what a phenomenon this movie has become.

    Thanks for all the fun posts during Barbie month. It's disappointing to see some of the flaws and odd choices on the $50 dolls.

  8. Just saw you can preorder Weird Barbie!

  9. Yes! And she has the Made to Move body, which is perfect!

  10. I really enjoyed this month! Seeing how diverse Barbie has gotten has been a particular blast - so different from when I was a little girl! Wonderful!
    I’m sorry to see that I'm not the only one having problems ordering from Mattel Creations! I placed an order on June 20th which is still being a headache! After two weeks I sent an inquiry, got told "We're going to ship really soon!" Waited a week, sent another inquiry, got the same "We're going to ship really soon!" Waited another week and asked them to cancel. At which point they said they'll email me my cancellation confirmation "soon." As of today, it STILL says it's preparing to ship - but I really hope not because I ordered what I could elsewhere!

  11. boy, president barbie's dress is gorgeous, though. I want a real-life version. I would have killed for a dress like that as a kid. she's definitely my favorite of the three. ^_^

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed Barbie week here at TBP! It definitely increased my hype for the movie. I can't quite get used to the new face they made for Stereotypical Barbie, but I love the president, she's absolutely stunning!

    I guess I'm in the minority in that I usually love bangs on dolls, but basic Barbie's are ridiculous and now I'm wondering if you'd be able to balance like, a small doll teacup on them...

  13. I like this article.

  14. Thank you for a month of Barbie, Emily! That was a fun trip. :)

    While none of these dolls are bad (I'm still looking forward to Simu Ken, he looks great, and I think he suits Ken with his build and jaw line, so great casting), I would expect more from Mattel at the price point. The hair across the board has been bad. The outfits look good, but it seems like QC could have been better.

    President Barbe wearing a fabulous given and a sash feels right to me, lol. She is fabulous, she does what she wants. Disco Barbie had my favourite outfit though, it's just plain fun!

  15. I finally found time to catch up on the blog!! I recently submitted my thesis and had so much personal stuff going on during and right after... but now I'm all up to date again!

    (By the way, I loved the Ella Enchanted review especially, it's one of my favorite movies, together with The Princess Diaries! The 35th anniversary Barbie review was also super fun to read.)

    I saw the Barbie movie recently (had a blast) and have been eyeing Cowgirl Barbie ever since. She's now also sold out here, but she was €75, so simply too much for me, lol! I was really interested in your opinion on the dolls though, since the consensus seems to be that they are very overpriced, but most reviewers just can't help but remain positive about them. President Barbie and Gloria haven't been reviewed as much by others, but judging from your review, they evoke pretty much the same response as the other dolls. I think the movie helps tremendously in making these dolls' flaws less offensive. In a way, they act like fun and aesthetically pleasing souvenirs to the movie, which is loved by so many people. It might be causing something of a rose-colored glasses effect, if I'm being honest. I'm glad you clearly pointed out the flaws, from the clothing and shoes to articulation and hair. I think all the movie dolls are wonderful to look at and great to have as a fan of the film or a Barbie history enhusiast, but objectively speaking, they could and should have been a whole lot better for that price tag. Can't believe people are actually paying $100 now, yikes!

  16. Thanks for the great review! I have to say the flaws and overall quality do not match the price point for me. The dolls are pretty but they don't seem worth the retail price, let alone the secondhand prices. I just expect more at $50+. They are very cute and I loved seeing your photos of them, I just feel they're overpriced in the end.

  17. I think the pink jacket problem stems from the general problem of suit jacket shoulders- they are really hard to sew well- ever see a cheap suit? Pres Barbie's off the shoulder bodice just has that off shoulder where the shoulder joint is, so it might never look all that smooth. I have resisted buying any of these dolls as an adult but I did get a Barbie Halloween costume and wear it to give out candy and wear it to work and I am usually too crotchety and mature to do that. PS- the Barbie clothing from years ago was sewn way better- probably by people as opposed to machines, but maybe the people were kids :( I really do not know where it was manufactured.