Warner Bros. Discovery issued a statement responding to the country of Vietnam banning the film’s distribution over a map that they believe shows China controlling waters that Vietnam says belong to them and other countries.
The Associated Press reported on July 4th that Vietnam banned the film with the country’s director general of the Vietnam Cinema Department Vi Kien Thanh explaining Barbie features a map depicting the nine-dash line.
According to the AP this line “extends Beijing’s territorial claims far into waters that fall within areas claimed by Vietnam and other countries.”
After Vietnam banned the film, Francis Tolentino, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the Philippines, posited that his country should ban the film too if the movie does indeed depict the nine-dash line.
As reported by Variety he said, “If the invalidated 9-dash line was indeed depicted in the movie Barbie, then it is incumbent upon the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to ban the same as it denigrates Philippine sovereignty.”
MTRCB is reviewing the film with a statement on their website reading, “We confirm that the Board has reviewed the film ‘Barbie’ today, 04 July 2023. At this time, the assigned Committee on First Review is deliberating on the request of Warner Brothers F.E. Inc. for a Permit to Exhibit. Once available, a copy of the Permit to Exhibit or the Committee’s decision will be uploaded to the Agency’s official website.”
The country previously prevented Uncharted and Abominable from screening in the country over their inclusion of the nine-dash line.
A Warner Bros. Discovery spokesman issued a statement regarding the map showcased in the film’s trailer saying, “The map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing. The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world.’ It was not intended to make any type of statement.”
Along with this statement, Variety’s Matt Donnelly appeared to run cape for Warner Bros. Discovery detailing that a source informed him that the alleged nine-dash line is actually “journey lines.”
Donnelly explained these journey lines are “serial dashes often used in family animation and kid’s drawings to represent where a character traveled to or from.”
However, that explanation is circumspect given the dashes are on the eastern coast of a continent labeled Asia and travel from the land to the middle of ocean and just end.
There are other dashed lines around the map’s version of Greenland, and that also appears to begin at the land masses southeast corner and travel southwest into the Atlantic Ocean.
The film’s trailer also features a montage of locales that appear to depict Barbie and Ken traveling from Barbie Land to the real world. The locations include a desert area with cactuses, a body of water surrounded by mountains, outer space, a field of tulips in what looks like the Netherlands, a camp site in what appears to be the Rocky Mountains, and finally a ski resort. None of the locations appear to be near Greenland or China.
As for it being a make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the real world that might actually be a spoiler. The film’s trailer seems to indicate that the trip is quite real for Stereotypical Barbie as she eventually shows up in the real world alongside Ken rollerblading at Venice Beach in California.
There’s even dialogue that Barbie is in the world from America Ferrera’s character, Gloria. Will Ferrell’s character, the CEO of Mattel also remarks, “If this got out. This would be catastrophic.” He later adds, “No one rests until this doll is back in a box.”
What do you make of this statement in response to the film getting banned in Vietnam?