A Barbie movie reminds me how much time has passed.
(It’s been a long time.)
My sister surprised me today by suddenly bursting into song.
Now, to be clear, I’m used to her bursting into song. We do it all the time. Usually with Hamilton songs, but her song choice this time was what surprised me.
She started singing lyrics from Barbie’s The Princess and the Pauper.
I pride myself on remembering lines from Disney movies that I watched as a child. And I watched this movie just as often as I watched Disney. But I couldn’t recognize a single word of what she was singing. Which was strange because (1) we watched that movie several times as a kid, and (2) usually the aspect of a movie that sticks with me the longest are the lyrics to the songs.
So, to test her, I went on YouTube to find the songs from the movie and wouldn’t you believe it—she sang along perfectly to every single one of them. Often, she was singing ahead of the lyrics, and she matched them for tone, pitch, and word! Later, when we discussed the plot, she remembered the whole plot line. Even quirks like the barking cat and the antagonist’s ridiculous henchmen.
As I watched the clips of the songs while I was testing my sister, I realized how stilted the animation style was, and how spoiled Disney’s Tangled made me for well animated hair. I noticed how silly the songs were, but also noticing all the lyrics that an eight-year-old (for that’s how old I was then) glosses over.
And how dumb the puns were.
But at the same time, I was noticing how…detailed the animation was. While not refined, there were tiny add ons to facial expressions and small movements that impressed me.
And I understood why I liked the movie so much. It was about two strong women, the plot was halfway decent, it was a fairytale retelling, I loved (and still love) animated movies, and it was a musical. The princess was an educated young woman, the pauper was musically inclined.
I mean, animated musical fairy tail retelling just screams “Leanna, you will like this!”
Well, at least 8-year-old Leanna did.
I find it almost impossible that I liked this as much as I did. I tried watching the DVD we have and I couldn’t stop cringing. And laughing. And every once in a while, I felt a wave of nostalgia.
It seems so weird that I am so detached from someone I used to be. That I couldn’t remember something I used to remember so fondly.
And that it was a Barbie movie.