Barbie: A Christmas Carol

 
Less authentic take; also less to scare younger kids.
  • Review Date: November 4, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 76 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As in the original Charles Dickens story, a miserly, selfish main character is changed and learns to value the true meaning of the Christmas holiday. Includes lessons on the impact of simple acts of caring, the way that facing our fears helps us grow, and the redemptive power of second chances.

Violence & scariness

There are ghosts, but none are scary: one looks like a Valley girl, another looks like Ethel Merman, and another a queen.

Sexy stuff


Very mild flirting.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Another in the juggernaut of Barbie movies timed for holiday release, there is plenty of reinforcement of the Barbie brand -- and at least two tie-in dolls. Promos for other upcoming Barbie movies can't be skipped over.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

As young Kelly points out during the movie, 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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 4, 2008
DVD release date:November 4, 2008
Cast:Kelly Sheridan
Director:William Lau
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Book characters, Holidays
Run time:76 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Barbie: A Christmas Carol was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byNectaria December 1, 2009
Parent of a 5 and 11 year old Written bytwoandtwomakesfour March 10, 2010
age 4+
 

Loved it!

Love this movie! Great family movie, your girls will love it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written byahill123 March 10, 2010
age 10+
 
i like the movie and i recommend it to everyone

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