The Beanie Bubble
The Beanie Bubble is an excellent look into the rise and fall of the collectible 90s toy that dominated the market for its constant retirement of lines, which led to exclusivity, innovative under-stuffing and a strong presence in the early sphere of the Internet. Much like others in the book-to-film adaptations about businesses – examples including The Social Network and Blackberry – the Apple TV+ release explores the different ways in which power corrupts, and how that leads to the collapse of a product or company. The major difference between the latter films and this one is the strong focus on how men take credit for the work that women do. Featuring the talents of Zach Galifianakis, Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Snook and Geraldine Viswanathan, The Beanie Bubble takes the viewers on a journey through the contribution of each woman, and how Ty Warner (Galifianakis) inevitably screwed them over.
Retrospective narrative oscillates the point of view from different periods in time, as well as Robbie (Banks) telling her side of the story. The transitions from one scene to another are seamless, connecting separate events as one linear theme and thought. This technique, as well as the excellent use of symmetry, creates effective parallels between the unassociated women and their relationship with Ty throughout the film. For example, his constant repetition of “partner” and being “a great team” in reference to all three of the women indicates his insignificance, as well as their strong influence on the success of the Beanie Babies. Even recurring throwaway jokes such as Ty’s anger over the UK deal foreshadow the truth of Robbie’s effort to successfully undermine him – a result only revealed right at the end, as she says, “It took me a while to realise all the ways [that] hurt people hurt people.”
Colour plays a crucial role in the visual spectacle here: there’s a harsh contrast in the plain and cold scheme of the corporate venues and office building used as the Beanie Babies headquarters against the vibrant filter and high saturation that truly enhance the colours of the various stuffed toys and the extravagant clothing of the characters. This serves to emphasise the stark difference between the business and its playful, childish product. The slow and dramatic soundtrack paired with the monotone and comedic spoken delivery is another juxtaposition that adds to the nuance of the film’s events. Finally, the greatest ironic twist comes at the end, when Ty sees his own downfall as the women he has deceived advance to greater heights. The vibrant visual effects and soundtrack all come together in a wondrous explosion to produce a glorious comparison of the empty world of Ty and the exuberantly fulfilled lives of the women who have left him behind.
The Beanie Bubble is released on AppleTV+ on 28th July 2023.
Watch the trailer for The Beanie Bubble here: