Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Let's Watch Barbie Video Game Hero

We all carry with us the weight of our sins. Each of us has the secret knowledge of our regrets and misdeeds, and we all have different ways of serving penance for our mistakes. Some people deny themselves the comforts of life, like the simple extravagances we take for granted. Others subdue their needs in service of a greater cause.

I watch Barbie movies.

It was a cold, dark day when I saw it. Coat slick with freezing rain, hair matted to my forehead, I stumbled unknowingly into my bleak, impassive destiny. From the corner of my eye, burning like the ruins of Gomorrah, lay a neon pink display, housing what I wish I had never seen.

Barbie, Video Game Hero.

Get ready to power up! When Barbie™ magically gets pulled into her favorite video game, she is excited to see she's transformed into a fun roller-skating character. In the game, she meets Cutie, the lovable cloud-shaped friend, and Bella, the roller-skating princess. Together, they soon discover a mischievous emoji is trying to take control of the game. As they travel from level to level, Barbie™ must rely on her amazing gaming skills and out-of-the-box thinking to save her team and beat the game!

My hands, operating beyond my control, brought the DVD case to the counter. Face rigid with shame, I noted the cashier's befuddlement wordlessly. Driving home I felt the film's presence, like a baleful revenant, sitting beside me. Carrying it inside, the case seemed to grow heavier with each step, but I found myself unable to lessen my hold on it. I placed it on my desk, a watchful eye that refused to break its gaze. Now, the time has come, and I can avert my fate no longer. May God help us all.

Let's Watch: Barbie Video Game Hero

So Barbie and some friends are playing a video game. What a surprise. What's this whole thing about?



You gotta be kidding me.

So what's happening now is just... just horrendous. They're just playing the game. And talking. But not like, plot relevant stuff or exposition, they're just commenting on what they're doing. I'm serious, this is the worst Let's Play ever conceived of a game that does not exist. As long as the rest of this movie contains nothing like this, it can't possibly be that bad.


Is that supposed to be coding? She's dragging shapes into the game. Jeez Barbie! Real coders use C++! Also, shouldn't you have made the powerup already a part of the level?

Maybe it's just me, but does anyone else hate it when they use internet slang in a movie? Wait, is this internet slang anymore, or just real slang? Jesus, I'm getting old. So they use the flying powerup Barbie just... coded... and then, there's a problem!

Great job, Barbie, that's why you don't mess with the code while it's running! You philistine. So her friends leave and she tries to fix it. Chelsea, her little sister, comes in and tries to play, but dies a bunch, and suggests something else. Uh oh.

Wait, isn't that a real thing? Anyway, Barbie's too busy trying to code or whatever, when her tablet starts acting up.

So this little cloud man appears and offers a beta test for a new game. Barbie accepts, and start tripping balls. (Again.)


Why does Barbie have to violently hallucinate in these movies at least once?! These movies ostensibly teach little girls they can do anything, but I think more subtly they're just advocating for Schedule I Hallucinogens. So what follows is some twisted mash-up of a Sailor Moon transformation sequence and that freaky part of James and the Giant Peach (Yeah, I know, which one?) where James turns into stop-motion. She ends up looking like this.

See the gigantic pupils! A telltale sign of LSD use! This isn't how you make good code, Barbie! You gotta be slightly drunk for that.

Now Barbie's in the game world, I guess, and it's impossible to convey through pictures, but the framerate just tanked. Geez Barbie, get some better processors!

Holy shit! Don't look at me like that! Some explanation is in order, so the cloud man, named... Cutie... tells Barbie he took her into the game because it's in danger. From what, may you ask?

Okay, I know I read it in the blurb above, but what? It's stupid! It's just an overhyped emoticon, what's the problem?


So now Barbie has to win each game, and somehow that will beat the emojis. She's competing against two other computer constructs that she treats like they're real people.

I hate them. Also, the cloud man rhymes. I hate him too. As the game begins, they have a big ol' race time, like Wreck-It Ralph but much worse. But then Chelsea goes into Barbie's room. Oh no! Will she be paralyzed with existential horror, that her sister has been forced into a Tron-style gauntlet of life-threatening games, fighting for her life, at the mercy of malicious forces beyond her control?!

Nope, she's just gonna eat cupcakes. Some slapstick bullshit happens and Barbie explains the whole virus thing to the other competitors. They eventually agree to help her. I gotta tell you guys, this video game thing is just not working for me. Is it bad that I think Princess Power was better?

Hey, you said it, not me. So they finally beat the race, and end up in the same limbo Barbie got sucked into the first time, and Barbie gets her... prize?

She begins an explanation of what code is, and although it's not represented that well, being that they use little star symbols and whatnot instead of commands, it's not that bad of an explanation for a little kid. So I suppose I gotta give it some begrudging respect for making that sort of thing understandable. Maybe this thing isn't as bad as I thought, and I should be trying to see it for what it--


So they're onto Level Two now, which is Angry Birds. Only with squirrels. They start chucking acorns at a treehouse until they realize there's a person in there. They come to a startling conclusion.

Turns out it used to be a Bejeweled type game, til the virus made the squirrels evil. Wait a minute, who makes a game where the first level is a single track for a racing game, then makes the second level Bejeweled? What is this, Warioware? Barbie makes a daring attempt to rescue the green-haired lady, appropriately named Crystal, from the squirrels.

No idiot, that was the last movie!

Things get bad when the two morons try to throw a speed powerup to Barbie, only to hit the squirrels instead. As things get tense, Bella comes up with an idea!

Wait, what?

Yeah so, they start... throwing acorns into the squirrels' mouths, and that works? With that distraction, Barbie's finally able to beat the puzzle. Once the treehouse is safely lowered to the ground, Barbie convinces Crystal to join their party.

Wait, she knows about her programming? And she can openly defy it? Don't let her out of the game, Barbie! This is how Skynet happened! Anyway, the virus starts closing in on them when Crystal comes up with an idea.

Oh come on! Why would there be a car in a game about matching crystals?! Is this still the racing game then? Who made this?! Why??

Back in code limbo, Barbie finds a bonus stage, and the cloud man tries to convince her not to go. She decides she ain't gotta listen to no cloud, and enters the stage, where it's another racing game, but with Tron lines, and more goddamn characters! How many is she gonna collect before this thing is over with?! Fine, just win the stupid thing and get it over with.

Oops. So Barbie is teleported out and they're left to die in a virus infested wasteland. Ah well, que sera, sera, am I right? When she gets back, Barbie's all "Oh boo hoo some video game characters are gonna die!" and it turns out the cloud has a confession to make.

YOU BASTARD! That's what you get for playing God! Now this movie happened and I'm only halfway through the goddamn thing! Why won't it end?! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE NEXT?!

Oh great. Minecraft. Barbie's not there long before she builds a portal back to the bonus level, where, sadly, the two other characters are still alive. This time she uses goddamn cheats and wins, so they all escape, back to Digbuild. The viruses soon follow, and make a big deadly bouncy ball. I'm serious.

And then there's... I don't even fucking know.

Wh... what?

I don't know what's happening.




I understand now. I see past the veil. We can't defeat the virus, because we are the virus.

By gaining sentience, we've opened the portal to the uncanny, and any attempt to rationalize it becomes absurd.

Our minds search for patterns, for logic, where none can be found. The universe operates beyond a level we can comprehend, and the attempt will only drive one mad. Each layer we dig deeper only digs away at a level of our sanity. There is no solace, there is no escape, save for a life of ignorance, or the grave. There is no way out there is no way out THERE IS NO WAY OUT

Oh hey, they won.

Well, now that's over. I guess it's time for them to say their goodbyes. You know, it's almost a little wistful to see these characters go. All the good times we had, with the purple hair chick, the annoying dude, the other three. Maybe I've learned something through this, that nothing bad will last forever, and I think we've all come out changed for the experience. Perhaps now I can look at things through a new light, in the knowledge that I can prevail through any situation.