Talk about dated movies.
Released in 1987, most people who have anything to say about Barbie and the Rockers recall it only as Mattel’s half-hearted stab at the market that Hasbro was capitalizing on with their Jem and the Holograms cartoon and line of fashion dolls. Unfortunately, because Jem had been cancelled by ’88, but Barbie and the Rockers were on VHS, I had never heard of the former and instead watched the living shit out of this.
Watching it now, you can definitely tell when it was made. But that’s part of the fun, ain’t it?
The biggest tell is not the soundtrack which, though very synthpop, is half-comprised of cover songs. This is probably why the movie has never seen an American DVD release, getting the rights to all the covers again. These screenshots come from the Italian DVD release, which seem not to include the second half of the movie where they go back in time to 1959 (the year Barbie was introduced). Which is a shame because if you like this article, you’d love (as Salmon put it when she watched it with me) “oh lord, the 50’s according to the 80’s”.
But no, it is the undeniably the outfits, of which there are many, that plant this cartoon squarely in the “this is from the 80’s” camp.