A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that lots of singing and dancing surrounds Princess Alexa in Barbie and the Secret Door, a fairy tale adventure with some positive messages. Mild conflict includes cartoon falls, abductions, some zapping magic, and a greedy villain in the person of a naughty, scheming little girl. For kids who understand the difference between cartoon peril and real jeopardy, nothing will be scary. This movie likely will appeal to kids who like a little magic, adventure, and music along with their elegantly costumed princesses. Although the story is less consumer-driven than some Barbie tales, Mattel has introduced a line of Princess Alexa dolls and other products related to the characters in this film.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In BARBIE AND THE SECRET DOOR, Princess Alexa, a thoughtful, book-loving princess (played, of course, by "Barbie," voiced charmingly by Kelly Sheridan and sung well by Brittany McDonald), lives in a beautiful castle with her very caring family. The problem is, the princess is shy and unsure of herself, and she shrinks from some of her princess duties such as meeting new people, making speeches, and attending castle balls. She's content to stay in her room surrounded by her books, hiding from all but her family and her supportive ladies-in-waiting. When she finds a secret door, opens it, and enters a magical kingdom, her life changes forever. Fairies, mermaids, unicorns, and adorably unique little creatures live there, and they're desperately in need of Princess Alexa's help. They're fighting to protect their way of life from a formidable villain in the person of Malucia, a naughty, mean-spirited little girl with ponytails, a sneering smile, and a desire to possess all the magic in her kingdom. Princess Alexa must find the courage to do battle with Malucia, learn to value herself and her talents, and open her heart to new experiences and new people.
Is it any good?
The upbeat, engaging story is combined with a very likable new Princess and the delightful characters that surround her. Rather than relying on traditional fairy tales, Mattel has created an original one with vibrant colors, an inventive villain, and lots of music. Solid messages about courage, self-confidence, and risk-taking are subtly included rather than delivered in a heavy-handed way. Though some of the half-dozen songs are conventional, the dancing that accompanies them is not; it's contagious fun. Certainly, this DVD is intended to sell a lot of new dolls, and it stays true to the Barbie tradition of doe-eyed, perfectly pretty girls, but it's a Barbie adventure that stands on its own as an appealing movie for toddlers through grade schoolers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the character of Princess Alexa. How is she different from other Barbie Princesses? What did you like about her? What did she learn from the Secret Door?
Did you want to purchase a Princess Alexa doll after watching this movie? How does your family decide whether or not you can buy toys from movies or TV shows?
Malucia was an unusual villain. How did the filmmakers make her seem both funny and wicked at the same time?
- On DVD or streaming: September 16, 2014
- Cast: Kelly Sheridan, Tabitha St. Germain, Brittany McDonald
- Director: Karen J. Lloyd
- Studio: Mattel Entertainment Inc.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 81 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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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.