Barbie as Rapunzel
By Tracy Moore,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Barbie-themed fairy tale a bit passive but arts-focused.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie encourages a love of art, and it could inspire some kids to try their hand at painting or creating.
Barbie as Rapunzel promotes positive messages about loyalty, friendship, courage, being true to your dreams, and most significantly, believing in yourself.
Positive Role Models
The characters in Barbie as Rapunzel are fairy-tale simplistic -- everyone is either good or bad, and there isn't much in between. However, the positive attributes found in Rapunzel, her friends, and the minor characters we encounter, some of whom admit they are wrong, offer forgiveness, and work to resolve conflict, offer admirable traits worth emulating.
Violence & Scariness
There is some very minor fighting with swords, magic power that knocks characters off their feet, and a brief scene where guards are tied up and their mouths duct-taped. Otherwise, the movie mainly shows Rapunzel imprisoned, and in one scene, her hair is chopped off by magic.
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Products & Purchases
Barbie is an international marketing behemoth that has no doubt reached all possible crevices of the earth, but nothing in this movie promotes any specific merchandise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbie as Rapunzel is a Barbie-inserted take on the classic fairy tale, which has a somewhat morose premise: Rapunzel believes she has been abandoned as a child, has a mean stepmother, and is locked in a tower and treated as an indentured servant. But within those confines, Barbie manages to foster good friendships, find solace in art, and still take the high road with those who've wronged her. There's some very minor fighting with swords, magic power that knocks characters off their feet, and a brief scene where guards are tied up and their mouths duct-taped.
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Where to Watch
Based on 6 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
In BARBIE AS RAPUNZEL, Barbie (voiced by Kelly Sheridan) makes her debut as Rapunzel, a flaxen-haired prisoner under Gothel's (Anjelica Huston) watchful eye. Using her painting skills and a little magic, she finds her way past the castle's magic wall and into the town, where she meets a kind, handsome prince. Will she find her way back to him before Gothel ruins her chances of finding true love?
Is It Any Good?
The age of this animation (2002) means the film looks more like a turn-of-the-century video game than an animated movie, but that won't matter to Barbie fans. They'll still enjoy Barbie's sidekicks, the magic paint brush, and the whimsy of this medieval world. Parents may want to offer a counter to the traditional fairy tale narrative here, but can still likely appreciate the focus on Rapunzel's good naturedness, her big heart, her emphasis on following her dreams, and her message about believing in yourself.
The Rapunzel story has its own limitations -- handsome prince, captive princess, impractically long hair and only one way down. This take adds a few details: a love for painting, some quick thinking, the importance of friendships, and a big show of forgiveness on Rapunzel's part to the evil Gothel who did her wrong.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the way fairy tales often show women as passive, or as a relationship with a man as the ultimate destiny or source of happiness. For little girls watching, families can talk about their goals and dreams for when they grow up, and encourage their choices and interests.
The dragons in the film were shown as being disliked because they were different. Have you ever been afraid of someone who was different? What did you do? How did the situation turn out?
For kids who have seen Tangled, how does this version of the Rapunzel story compare?
- On DVD or streaming: October 1, 2002
- Cast: Anjelica Huston, Cree Summer, Kelly Sheridan
- Director: Owen Hurley
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Fairy Tales
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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