Is any art form quite as fraught as the toy-inspired film? Its existence is fundamentally cynical: I can sell toys, therefore I am. And yet, to achieve its true goal, the toy movie must evoke the sincerity, humor, and psychological engagement that children experience when they’re cross-legged on the floor with their dolls or construction sets. “Bratz: The Movie” came out in 2007, when Bratz dolls—like Barbies but more diverse, and styled as if by RuPaul—were at their most popular. But the film tanked, earning a nine-per-cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Girls loved Bratz as toys, because they could imagine that the dolls had strong, sassy personalities; as movie characters, the Bratz turned out to be shallow and mean. In a review, Tony Wong of the Toronto Star wrote, “Bratz is a disappointment because the characters come off less as the girly superheroes they should be, and more as, well, brats.” Since then, the Bratz brand has faded. The company that makes the dolls, MGA Entertainment, can hardly blame the movie for everything—among other problems, MGA has been caught up in years of legal battles with Mattel—but it certainly didn’t help. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog