First 'Barbie' teaser trailer parodies Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey'

Barbie, Mattel's iconic doll franchise, and science fiction are rarely uttered in the same breath. But thanks to a clever new trailer for next summer's $100 million live-action "Barbie" movie, those two worlds have just collided.

Warner Bros. Pictures recently released the first "Barbie" teaser (opens in new tab) and it's definitely "The Ultimate Trip" with a spot-on homage to the famous Dawn of Man opening from director Stanley Kubrick's immortal 1968 classic, "2001: A Space Odyssey."  

Instead of a band of prehistoric apes having a revelatory moment in the presence of a mysterious black monolith, young girls playing with old-fashioned baby dolls are spurred to abandon their vintage toys when a towering, statuesque Barbie (Margot Robbie) appears in high heels and a bathing suit.

Related: Barbie and Space Exploration: Her Astronaut Looks in Photos

Barbie reenacts an iconic Kubric scene in its first trailer from Warner Bros. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

It's a fun nod to Kubrick's existential masterpiece and the film's inciting incident depicting the evolutionary nudge of intelligent apes as the dramatic strains of Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" rise to a crescendo. 

This time instead of a tribe of hominids, it's composed with an inspired kid smashing her doll and rebelliously tossing it into the air ala Moonwatcher and his animal bone that transitioned into a million-year cut to an orbiting weapons platform.

This isn't the first time Barbie has encountered outer space before as a Barbie astronaut doll was created in 1965 during NASA's Gemini program, then in 2019 Mattel paid tribute to the first American woman in space with a Sally Ride doll as part of their 'Barbie Inspiring Women Series," and a pair of Mattel’s Space Discovery dolls took an orbital trip to the ISS earlier this year in conjunction with the "Mission DreamStar" STEM outreach program. Mattel has also created Barbie dolls of European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.

Margot Robbie as Barbie in Warner Bros. new film.  (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Directed by Greta Gerwig, Warner Bros.' "Barbie" stars Robbie as the famous Mattel doll and Ryan Gosling as her tanned boyfriend Ken in a candy-colored kingdom. 

Early plot details have revealed that when Ken and Barbie leave their idyllic home for the real world, Mattel CEO (Will Ferrell) chases after them to get the plastic pair back to pink-painted Barbieland.

"Barbie" arrives in theaters on July 21, 2023.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.