Barbie as Rapunzel



Barbie-themed fairy tale a bit passive but arts-focused.
  • Review Date: June 25, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 84 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

The movie encourages a love of art, and it could inspire some kids to try their hand at painting or creating.

Positive messages

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.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

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.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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 Houston) 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 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. 

The age of this animation (2002) means the film looks more like a turn-of-the-century video game than an animated movie. But Barbie fans will still enjoy her 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. 

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

DVD release date:October 1, 2002
Cast:Anjelica Huston, Cree Summer, Kelly Sheridan
Director:Owen Hurley
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Fairy tales
Run time:84 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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