A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated DVD is based on the classic Charles Dickens tale and, unlike most Barbie movies, features an unlikable main character. Exactly like most Barbie movies, that character learns predictable lessons about selfishness and caring. Though not period-appropriate for Victorian England, a close biracial friendship is depicted. Ghosts play a part in the story, but not in a way that would scare even young children (one looks like a Valley girl, another Ethel Merman, and the third looks like a queen). There is virtually no discussion of the religious aspect of the holiday.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In her first holiday movie, BARBIE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL takes the classic Charles Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and applies a fat layer of Barbie glamour. Told as a cautionary tale by Barbie (voiced by Kelly Sheridan) to her grumpy younger sister, the story relays the saga of Eden Starling (Morwenna Banks) a famous singer in Victorian England who employs a staff of opening entertainers and her childhood friend-turned-costume designer, Catherine Beadnell (Kandyse McClure). On Christmas Eve, haughty Eden demands that her lackeys cancel their holiday plans so they can help her rehearse her new show. This triggers nighttime visits from the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, who encourage her to examine her self-absorbed ways.
Is it any good?
Barbie stories usually focus on a near-perfect heroine; in this case, it's refreshing that Eden seems nearly all bad. The visit to Christmas Past is especially illuminating, and the scenes of Eden celebrating the holiday with the welcoming Beadnell family during happier, if less famous, days are touching. Catherine's work with orphans who happen to sing in perfect harmony is a little over the top, but a nice chance to discuss the place that helping others has in a family holiday celebration. The computer animation is delightful, and the soundtrack, played by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, is filled with familiar Christmas carols.
The fact that Tiny Tim, in the original Dickens story, is now Tiny Tammy is as good an indication as any that this movie is aimed squarely at little girls, but anyone who enjoys a good comeuppance will appreciate Barbie's take on the holiday tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Eden Starling's demand on her friends. Which of her three ghostly visits do you think was the most convincing in helping her reset her priorities? Barbie and Kelly start the movie talking about their family holiday traditions -- which are the traditions that you most like within your family's celebration?
- In theaters: November 4, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: November 4, 2008
- Cast: Kelly Sheridan
- Director: William Lau
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Book Characters, Holidays
- Run time: 76 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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