Barbie Mariposa & the Fairy Princess
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbie Mariposa & the Fairy Princess is the 25th direct-to-DVD Barbie movie, and like most of the films, the content is fine for almost all ages, but the marketing angle is the biggest concern. All the characters and some of the settings are available for purchase and are advertised within the DVD. There is mild peril as an angry fairy temporarily freezes fairies and destroys their energy source, but otherwise there's just humorous slapstick due to a clumsy main character. Mariposa, the Barbie fairy protagonist, is the royal librarian and a huge book lover who isn't overly concerned with fashion or looks. This story about inter-fairy relations is a kid-friendly study in cultural acceptance, friendship, and teamwork.
What's the story?
Queen Marabella (Jane Barr) of the butterfly fairies appoints Mariposa (Kelly Sheridan), the royal librarian of Flutterfield, as the royal ambassador to the other Fairytopia land of Shimmervale, where the crystal fairies reside. Initially Mariposa refuses, but after a pep talk from the handsome Prince Carlos (Alessandro Juliani), she agrees to go with her magical puffball pal Zee in tow. They arrive in Shimmervale expecting a grand welcome, but only one fairy is there to greet them and take them to the castle, where King Regellius, who believes a host of scary rumors about the butterfly fairies, and his more progressive daughter Princess Catania (Maryke Hendrikse), who is eager to get to know the lovely butterfly fairy, live. Unbeknownst to everyone, the vengeful fairy Gwyllion (Kathleen Barr) plans to attack Shimmervale and turn their energy source of crystals to stone.
Is it any good?
Chances are good that if this DVD is playing at your house, you probably don't have fundamental issues with the Barbie franchises. If that's the case, then this is actually one of the better titles. Mariposa is intelligent, a book lover (she's a librarian then a diplomat!), and culturally sensitive (she refuses to believe the stereotypes about crystal fairies and wants to prove that the ridiculous rumors about butterfly fairies all having fire breath and warrior skill are wrong too).
Although Prince Carlos is obviously smitten with Mariposa, there's no overt romantic story line, and most of the plot revolves around Mariposa and Princess Catania befriending each other despite their cultural differences. Zee is a very minion-like (Despicable Me) creature who speaks her own language but can be understood perfectly with her expressive eyes and gestures. So as Barbie movies go, this one promotes literacy, diplomacy, and looking past superficial differences to what friends have in common.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about why these Barbie movies are so popular. Do you have to be a fan of the dolls to enjoy the movies? Which ones are your favorites: the ones where Barbie is in an established story or original ones like this one?
Kids: Does seeing this movie make you more interested in buying the Fairytopia-themed Barbies and accessories? Parents: How can you focus on the stories' positive messages without getting any merchandise?
Despite being a "perfect looking" Barbie, Mariposa isn't as interested in her looks as many other Barbie characters. What are some of the messages about beauty and gender that get communicated in Barbie movies and toys? Is this movie different in any way?