Bratz DVD Review
thejoelmeister | www.GoneWithTheTwins.com | 11/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There is a pressure on filmmakers when it comes to turning an extremely lucrative toy franchise into a feature film. Sometimes filmmakers have it easy, especially when the topic is giant fighting robots that already have a mythos attached. Other times the demands are too much, case in point Batman and Robin, a film in which Joel Schumacher admits that the merchandising seemingly drove the entire narrative. One has to give director Sean McNamara credit for finding the story in Bratz, the new feature film based off a line of sexually suggestive, ghetto Barbie dolls.
While most adults will likely approach Bratz as nothing more than mind rotting fluff, McNamara manages to tackle some deeply entrenched high school quandaries, namely cliques and their destructive nature on friendships. Moving from their computer animated, straight to video releases to a live action, big screen adventure, The Bratz are tackling their biggest challenge yet: the angst ridden days of high school.
Controlled by the long arm of the Principal's spoiled daughter, Meredith, the queen bee is determined to maintain her powerful status by keeping the school populace segregated into cliques. At first the "Best Friends Forever" fights Meredith's stronghold, but as each member of the Bratz posse discovers their own unique talents, they are quickly pulled into separate factions. Before it's too late though, a fateful mistake by Meredith reunites the girls, joining them together to take down the student body president's tyrannical rule.
Reminiscent of many late eighties' films aimed at children, Bratz is epic in scale, spanning three years of the girls' high school careers, but underneath all the shopping, singing and dancing there are actually powerful messages. While materialism is obviously enforced by the overt product placement and fashion featured in the film, the fact that McNamara is able to clearly portray cliques in a negative light might be a hugely positive theme to expose ten-year-old girls to.
Not any more mind numbing or offensive than an overlong episode of Saved By the Bell set in the modern MTV generation, the influence of Bratz will not truly be understood for another decade, when the target audience grows up and reflects on the product with a sense of nostalgia. For adult audiences to write off the film as aggravatingly awful is not truly fair. Can you imagine being denied your favorite childhood movies, simply because the critics thought they were mindless entertainment?
While Bratz may be a torturous two hours for adults, the positive message and frantic pace and style of McNamara's film will certainly entertain, and hopefully influence its target audience.
With box-office prices at such a high level, Lionsgate should find that Bratz will perform much better at home, where the purchase or rental of the DVD will ease the strain on parents' wallets. Filled with features that promise to entertain audiences of all ages, the Bratz DVD will undoubtedly be a hot seller thanks to its strategically planned release right before the holidays.
While the deleted scenes and music videos should give young girls the extra Bratz fix they need, the biggest surprises on the disc are the 12 featurettes! While most films targeted at children rarely offer any substantial material, behind the scenes looks at casting, wardrobe and some of the picture's huge set pieces are a refreshing addition. McNamara's commentary is also engaging, offering great insight and personal reflection on how he approached turning Bratz into a live-action production.
Regardless of how the doll's attitude and fashion statements have influenced children up to this point, McNamara has created a piece of cinematic fluff that will inevitably do more good than harm.
Can't think of good title
Amy Brobst | 01/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I really liked this movie. I'm not saying that they (the screenwriters, etc) did not stereotype a lot, and that they concentrated too much on fashion and beauty, but instead of looking at those things look at the two things it does teach: we can all learn new things, and we can work as a team.
I don't like how they made fashion and beauty such a big thing, but let's face it: the world treats beautiful people nicer. It always has."