Animated Barbie Movies: Are They Worth It?
When a live action Barbie movie was announced, the collective internet masses were confused and skeptical to say the least. Now, with multiple trailers and the grandest marketing scheme I’ve ever seen underway, the masses have changed their tune and the hype has reached its peak. But before the live action movie, there were animated movies. Forty-two, to be precise. Only a few weeks after its release, I’ve decided to watch four animated direct-to-dvd Barbie movies to see if they deserve the same level of excitement as Greta Gerwig’s (Director of Ladybird and Little Women) new masterpiece.
Just as a warning before you continue: I am not an unbiased reviewer. Some of the following movies were my favourites growing up, so there is a certain level of nostalgia that is clouding my ‘impartial’ view. If you’re looking for a different take, might I suggest @ Jaysen and @ Katie Payne on TikTok? Their reviews are just as enlightening as I hope mine will be!
Film One : Barbie as Rapunzel
Released in 2002, this is the second animated Barbie movie. I recall having this one on VHS when I was little, so nostalgia goes a long way here! For new watchers however, this movie is a charming take on the classic fairytale with a beautiful message: always stay true to yourself. Whilst the animation is not on par with that of Disney’s Tangled, it’s the lovable characters and catchy music that makes this movie memorable. ‘Constant as the Stars Above’ will always be one of my favourite Barbie songs! I rate it 3⭐ out of 5!
Film Two : Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper
Released in 2004, this was the fourth animated Barbie movie but the first musical. I remember watching the songs and re-enacting the dances over and over. It’s such a sweet and uplifting movie, like the best cup of hot chocolate! Although Mattel is no Disney, their songs are no less great. My personal favourite is ‘Cat’s Meow’, but all the songs have a special place in my heart! Watch the film and see who your favourite is- Erika or Anneliese! But make sure to stick around for the credits to see the bloopers, reminiscent of the early days of Pixar. (Why don’t more movies show bloopers at the end?) I rate it 4⭐ out of 5!
Film Three : Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses
Released in 2006, this is the ninth animated Barbie movie and my personal favourite! I remember watching this movie and pretending I was a ballet dancer, dancing alongside all the princesses. The choreography in this movie is incredible, which is to be expected when you combine the talent of the New York City ballet with motion capture, as was previously done in Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. Combined with music performed by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, this movie is just as magical as a Disney Renaissance movie. If you don’t bob your head along during the dancing scenes, are you really watching this movie right? I rate it 5⭐ out of 5!
Film Four : Barbie & the Diamond Castle
Released in 2008, this was the thirteenth animated Barbie movie. I didn’t grow up with this one, but in honour of Pride month, I watched it after tiktokker Katie Payne rated it ‘18 straight and 45 gay’! (I highly recommend watching her reviews on it, they made me laugh out loud!) I have to agree with Katie, this film is fabulously queer! Whilst I personally prefer the songs in Princess and the Pauper, I can’t deny that ‘Two Hearts, One Song’ and ‘Connected’ are catchy as hell! Who else wants to live in a Diamond Castle, raise your hands! 🙋🏽♀️I rate it 4⭐out of 5!
So there you have it- my review of four iconic Barbie movies. But there are thirty eight other fun movies that deserve your attention. Watch them, and find your favourite! And be sure to watch the live action movie, releasing on 21st July!
Review by Kareena Thummanah