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 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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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?
Themes & Topics
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