A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that even though this DVD is clearly meant to sell more toys in the Barbie brand (the dolls, the carriage, and the castle can be purchased), it does have enough substance and skilled performances to engage a varied audience. Younger children may not understand the history of the muses, though the over-arching themes of friendship, connection, and harmony are meant for all ages.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
BARBIE AND THE DIAMOND CASTLE is a story within a story. When Stacy (voiced by Stacie Chantal Strand) is having a fight with another friend, Barbie (Kelly Sheridan) and Teresa (Cassidy Ladden) tell her a story of a magical land, where two friends are confronted by a wayward muse who seeks to destroy all music but her own. In this land Barbie becomes Liana, and Teresa turns into a character called Alexa. They meet a girl trapped in a magical mirror who asks for their help getting back to the Diamond Castle, so that she can rescue the muses turned to stone by the malcontent muse Lydia (Kathleen Barr). The girls face hunger and loss of their home, they are tempted by promises, and their loyalties are tested.
Is it any good?
Music is a central theme of this film, and it gilds the plot in a surprising aura of skillfully crafted songs. The general score, performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, is not cloying or overt, but rather serves to emphasize the theme of harmony among friends. Very young girls in particular will want to "play" Alexa and Lianna after they've seen the movie (and Mattel is happy to supply them with dolls and set pieces, of course).
Overall this is a mild film, which has a drifty ambience that may surprise adults with its watch-ability. The performances are not shrill, nor are the characters syrupy sweet or randomly evil. They seem actually rather innocent and self-effacing. And their tale is one with plenty of lessons. Connection and friendship are touted as being more important than having excess food, a closet full of clothes, or a bigger house. And loyalty trumps everything. Barbie says: "Real friends care even when you make a mistake." And she seems to mean it in this movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship and what it means to be connected. Have you ever invited a new friend into your circle of old friends? Have your friendships ever been tested? Why did Alexa decide to stay in the mansion when she knew she was breaking her promise to Melody and Liana? Why are friends important, and how are they different than family? How are they similar?
- In theaters: September 9, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: September 9, 2008
- Cast: Cassidy Ladden, Kelly Sheridan, Maryke Hendrikse
- Directors: Gino Nichele, Jeffrey Nachmanoff
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More
- Run time: 79 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- MPAA explanation: Not Rated
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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.