It’s Thursday and I have no topic. I used to enjoy doing Thursday Thirteen, so you’re getting one this week whether they’re still updating the site or not.
Now in my lifetime, Barbie’s had some trouble with her image. Not her self-image. While she tends to be a little ADD about what she’s going to be when she grows up (nothing wrong with that), I think she’s pretty cool with who she is.
But, you know, some people have had issues with her proportions, what they think she represents, etc., and while Mattel might seem to not look past the end of its nose when it comes to trends the adult segment of the doll collecting community, they really seem to have taken parental concerns to heart when developing Barbie’s animated, direct-to-video movies.
There’s not one of these that I wouldn’t encourage my daughter to watch, and they’re among my favorites to watch with her. Sorry, no links or pics today. The post itself took an awful long time, and I’m quite behind now. Thanks for coming.
13 Barbie movies, in no particular order:
1. Nutcracker– This is a charming retelling of the ballet story. I’m certainly not a dance expert, but it seems like the animators spent time watching live performers, and the dance sequences are really lovely. Barbie, as Clara, is fabulously proactive in this movie. Drawn into the Nutcracker’s world, and his battle to free the people of Parthenia from the Mouse King, Barbie not only fights at his side, but really leads the way with plenty of bravery and cleverness. The supporting characters are amusing, without being over the top annoying to this adult, and, with a bit of a sweet, romantic thread, this movie is satisfying every time I watch it.
2. Rapunzel– As Rapunzel, Barbie takes on the role of an artist who has been forced into the role of servant to a very angry and unpleasant woman with magical powers. When Barbie finds a charmed magical item that might be a clue to her own past, she finds that she is able to paint her way out of her prison, and explore the world outside of it. She becomes torn between two worlds, the witch’s castle where her animal friends remain, and a life of freedom beyond the walls where an attractive stranger waits for her. Again, Barbie’s no damsel in distress in this tale. She’s always the one taking action, and making brave decisions based on things like loyalty and affection.
3. Swan Lake– In another ballet retelling, Barbie, as Odette, is the somewhat quiet daughter of the town baker. When she tries to help a unicorn, she finds herself drawn into the plight of the residents of a magical forest, who are being put upon by the evil sorcerer, Rothbart. For her interference, Rothbart changes her into a swan. The part-time bird thing isn’t the only problem when a handsome prince enters the forest and falls for Odette. The main problem is the obligation she feels to free her friends from Rothbart’s power. Another movie in which the character makes brave choices, based on loyalty, and love conquers all in the end.
4. Princess and the Pauper– A nice movie with two staring roles, Princess Annaliese, and Erika, a look-alike in the village who was indentured to a mean dressmaker by her impoverished parents. When the princess is kidnapped, in an attempt to thwart a marriage that will save the financial future of the kingdom, a palace insider convinces Erika to take the princess’s place at court while he investigates, though this is risky for them both. Meanwhile, Princess Annaliese won’t be kept without a fight, and sets about becoming a self-rescuing princess. Two courageous heroines in this one, but the show is really stolen by an over-the-top fabulous villain. He’s got an awesome, self-congratulatory soundtrack, and is an excellent character. The gag reel on during the credits is very good, too.
5. Diamond Castle– This one’s not as much a romance (though there are these twin they meet in a bar…), but a friend tale. Which, you know me, is merely ok. Barbie and Theresa star as two friends who share everything, including the adventure of a lifetime. In order to protect (I think it was) the power of music, a young woman hides herself inside a magic mirror. Our heroines must protect the mirror and their new friend, and defeat a powerful sorceress.
6. Fairytopia– Barbie is Elina, a fairy born without wings. When an evil witch, Laverna, creates a plague, it affects everyone but Elina. Suddenly, this outcast finds herself the only one capable trying to get help for her settlement. As she’s drawn deeper into the story, she becomes the key player in defeating Laverna and restoring their benevolent ruler to power.
7. Mermaidia– In the sequel to Fairlytopia, Elina teams up with a mermaid to rescue the mer-prince from her nemesis, Laverna, who is trying to get him to reveal the location of an immunity berry which she believes will allow her to escape her prison. Again, Barbie comes through, putting up with a lot from her jealous, mermaid partner, and making a touching sacrifice for the mer-people.
8. Magic of the Rainbow– This is another Fairytopia movie. Elina gets chosen to go to a school to learn fairy magic. She seems to have some “new kid” challenges, she screws up and frees Laverna, but she makes it all right in the end.
9. Island Princess– This is another sweet, romantic movie in which Ro, a girl who grew up on an island with no other humans after a shipwreck, is found by an explorer prince and taken back with him to his kingdom. Upon their arrival, the prince discovers his parents’ matchmaking plans for him. What they don’t know is that the girl’s mamma has a grudge against the royal family, a lust for power, and a plot. In saving the day, Ro also discovers her own identity. The songs in this movie can really get into your head, and the duet between Ro and her prince is particularly sweet.
10. A Christmas Carol– In this retelling of the classic, Barbie plays the part of Scrooge. Only a pretty one who is a selfish diva of the theater. Cratchet’s role is played by a childhood friend who is now her costumer, and the function of Tiny Tim is served by a group of orphans, to whom the friend devotes her time and money. It’s very different from the other Barbie movies, but is still a nice, and different take on A Christmas Carol.
11. 12 Dancing Princesses– I’ve always been sure they did this one so that they could make more dolls to sell. It worked. My mom got all of them for my daughter that year. This is a very pretty movie with a bit of ballet, a scheming relative with an evil pet monkey, and a very nice romance between Barbie and the attractive young man who makes the pretty shoes. A theme in this movie is the smallest of them, the one who feels like she can never measure up, being the one to save the day.
12. Three Musketeers– When I think of this one, I think grrrrl power. It’s pretty blatant, but fun. Barbie wants to be a Musketeer, like her father, and so travels to castle to seek her fortune. Where of course they won’t have her. But she knows they’re something going on, so she gets a job in the palace where she hooks up with three other girls, who each have their own ass-kicking skill and Musketeer aspirations. They are secretly trained by a palace insider to foil an attack by traitorous Musketeers, which they do with girly flair to a modern soundtrack. Yes, there’s a lot of girly silly in this movie, but loosen up and enjoy it.
13. Pegasus– I think I’ve probably put my two favorites at beginning and end. In the Magic of the Pegasus, Barbie is Anika, an overprotected princess with a love of ice skating. The crazy of the king and queen seem somewhat more justified when she disobeys them, and an evil sorcerer (yeah, yeah, I know, but call it a genre thing) finds her and demands she marry him. When she refuses, he turns everyone to stone and tells her she has three days to change her mind. She’s rescued from immediate harm by a flying horse and sent on a quest to create a mythical Wand of Light, the only thing that might break the spell. On the way she meets Aiden, a hot guy in the forest with his own somewhat tortured backstory. Aiden doesn’t want to have anything to do with the silly girl, except that he can’t help being drawn to her for qualities like her brains and bravery. Very nice romance in this, and a good equality between the h/h. Good gag reel, too.
Have you seen any of these? Tell me which ones you’ve enjoyed.
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