Sounds Like Werner Herzog Wasn’t a Big Fan of ‘Barbie’

Liem Soeng

Sounds Like Werner Herzog Wasn’t a Big Fan of ‘Barbie’
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Werner Herzog didn’t make it through all of “Barbie,” though it doesn’t sound like he loved the bits he did see.

On the “Piers Morgan: Uncensored” TV show, Morgan asked the legendary filmmaker if he’s on Team Barbie or Team Oppenheimer. The answer was neither, though each was out for very different reasons.

“I have not seen ‘Oppenheimer’ yet, but I will do it,” Herzog said. “‘Barbie,’ I managed to see the first half hour, and I was curious. I wanted to watch it because I was curious. And I still don’t have an answer, but I have a suspicion. Could it be that the world of ‘Barbie’ is sheer hell?”

Herzog continued, “For a movie ticket, as an audience, you can witness sheer hell, as close as it gets.”

Boy did that delight Morgan, who was a kid in a candy store over the apparent diss.

“Yes! Yes!” Morgan exclaimed. “Let me spare you the horror: I watched the whole thing, and it is hell. I completely concur with your initial assessment after a half an hour.”

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Calm down, Piers. It is actually a bit unclear which part was “sheer hell” for Herzog — was it the film itself, the plastic veneer and saccharin sweetness of BarbieLand, or some other aspect entirely? We don’t know; perhaps Herzog does not yet know. He said he wants more time with “Barbie,” which has a 154-minute runtime.

“I don’t know yet,” Herzog calmed down his giddy host. “Give me a moment to watch the whole thing. I have to watch the whole thing first.”

IndieWire attempted to reach Herzog through reps for clarification on his comments; we did not immediately receive a response.

Should Herzog eventually come around on “Barbie” after actually watching it, he won’t be the first prominent filmmaker to flip-flop. “Wall Street” and “JFK” director Oliver Stone initially called the movie an “infantilization” of filmmaking before watching it. Stone later apologized after seeing “Barbie,” adding that he “appreciated the film for its originality and its themes” and “found the filmmakers’ approach certainly different than what I expected.”

“Barbie” received eight Oscar nominations, including a Best Picture nod. Though Greta Gerwig was not nominated in the Best Director category, she and co-writer Noah Baumbach are nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay race. Lead star Margot Robbie was not nominated in the Best Actress category, but she’ll still get an Oscar as a producer if “Barbie” wins Best Picture. Robbie’s co-stars Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera received acting nods for their supporting roles.

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