A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbie and Her Sisters in A Pony Tale is a direct-to-DVD offering starring the popular Mattel doll. Like all Barbie features, this one has a direct merchandise tie-in to a set of equestrian Barbie (and her sister) dolls and their corresponding horses. The movie is fine for younger kids but does contain one potentially scary moment when wolves menacingly creep up on Barbie and her horse until another more powerful horse intervenes and scares the wolves away. The language includes some colorful insults exchanged by bitter rivals such as, "You hair of a child's nostril" and "You pig of a dog of a mule." It's not a major plot point, but there is a little romance between Skipper and a Swiss equestrian. Kids might learn a thing or two about equestrian competitions.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In BARBIE AND HER SISTERS IN A PONY TALE, Barbie (Kelly Sheridan) and her three younger sisters, Skipper (Kazumi Evans), Stacie (Claire Corlett), and Chelsea (Ashlyn Drummond), travel to Switzerland for the summer to visit their Aunt Marlene (Alex Kelly), who runs a horse stable and a riding academy. Barbie, a renowned equestrian, is there not only to compete as part of her aunt's academy but also to pick out a horse to take back home to Malibu. Barbie soon becomes enchanted with a mysterious wild horse she encounters while riding in the beautiful Alpine terrain. While Barbie obsesses about the magical-seeming horse, Aunt Marlene delivers the terrible news that if the academy doesn't win an upcoming competition, she'll be forced to close it.
Is it any good?
These direct-to-DVD Barbie movies aren't exactly a marvel in modern animated storytelling. But for what they are (a way to attract kids to the Barbie brand by creating a rich backstory to their doll lines), they're pretty decently written and conceived. The backgrounds, landscapes, and other CGI details aren't up to par with theatrical animated movies, but the story should appeal to kids, especially children who love horses.
Barbie isn't for every family, and if you have all boys, chances are slim they'll be interested in this franchise of DVDs, but that's not to say boys won't enjoy the competition angle and the fierce rivalry between the two riding academy managers, who enjoy sparring verbally with creative insults. Older girls may get a kick out of how Skipper ends up having a little romance with one of the other academy's top riders. As for lessons learned, this particular movie will teach young kids about the power of sibling relationships, being kind to animals, and rising to the challenge.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the allure of horse stories. Why do you think horses appeal to audiences, especially young girls, so much?
Talk about how to separate the movie and its characters from the Barbie products in stores. We have tips on how to manage product placements and advertising in pop culture.
How does this particular movie compare to others in the Barbie universe? Do you prefer the Barbie movies where she's a fairy tale or fantasy character or the more realistic ones? Do you like the movies with the sisters or ones only about Barbie?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.