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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Barbie movies aim to entertain, not educate, but young viewers will learn about the discipline needed to be a competitive equestrian as well as the various events in which equestrians compete (dressage, jumping, cross country). They will also learn that the Alps are in Switzerland, the movie's location.
Barbie's relationship with her three sisters promotes healthy sibling relationships through kindness (as opposed to the rival brothers). Healthy competition also is highlighted but more as a way to find one's strength, not necessarily to win. Lastly, being gentle to animals is encouraged.
Positive Role Models
Barbie is a kind, understanding big sister who encourages and supports her younger siblings. The girls' Swiss aunt is loving and wants the girls to do their best in the equestrian competition without putting too much pressure on them to win.
Violence & Scariness
Wolves are about to attack Barbie when a horse intervenes, saves her, and drives the wolves away. A man is cruel to his horse and overuses the riding whip.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Skipper ends up having a crush, and they end up flirting and dancing at a party.
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Colorful insults exchanged between the rival brothers: "You hair of a child's nostril" and "You pig of a dog of a mule."
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Products & Purchases
Barbie movies are made as a tie-in to the dolls. Every time a new Barbie movie comes out on DVD, the accompanying line of related toys is available in stores. Skipper frequently uses an iPad-like tablet.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbie and Her Sisters in A Pony Tale is a direct-to-DVD offering starring the popular Mattel doll. Like all Barbie features, this one has a direct merchandise tie-in to a set of equestrian Barbie (and her sister) dolls and their corresponding horses. The movie is fine for younger kids but does contain one potentially scary moment when wolves menacingly creep up on Barbie and her horse until another more powerful horse intervenes and scares the wolves away. The language includes some colorful insults exchanged by bitter rivals such as, "You hair of a child's nostril" and "You pig of a dog of a mule." It's not a major plot point, but there is a little romance between Skipper and a Swiss equestrian. Kids might learn a thing or two about equestrian competitions. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
These direct-to-DVD Barbie movies aren't exactly a marvel in modern animated storytelling. But for what they are (a way to attract kids to the Barbie brand by creating a rich backstory to their doll lines), they're pretty decently written and conceived. The backgrounds, landscapes, and other CGI details aren't up to par with theatrical animated movies, but the story should appeal to kids, especially children who love horses.
Barbie isn't for every family, and if you have all boys, chances are slim they'll be interested in this franchise of DVDs, but that's not to say boys won't enjoy the competition angle and the fierce rivalry between the two riding academy managers, who enjoy sparring verbally with creative insults. Older girls may get a kick out of how Skipper ends up having a little romance with one of the other academy's top riders. As for lessons learned, this particular movie will teach young kids about the power of sibling relationships, being kind to animals, and rising to the challenge.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.