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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Lessons of doing what's responsible and right and correcting bad behavior are mostly overshadowed by superficiality; the girls shop an awful lot. However, unlike other Barbie movies, there is no prince charming here -- the girls save the day on their own.
Positive Role Models
Merliah does take charge of her own destiny -- wtih the help of her friends. Her surfer-dude Grandpa is a very understanding and mellow guy.
Violence & Scariness
Some perilous underwater chase scenes where Merliah and her friends are threatened by giant jellyfish or manta-sharks. Aris is an evil ruler who uses whirlpools to capture people and put them into dungeons.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
All female characters wear bikini tops all the time.
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Products & Purchases
Not only are the Barbie items pushed (the doll's hair changes color, just like in the movie), but the girls in the movie are completely focused on shopping and hair. There are very lightly veiled allusions to the makeup store Sephora ("Seaphora" in the movie) and shops like the trendy L.A. store, Fred Segal ("Fred Seagull.") Very elaborate shopping scenes.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the materialistic vibe of this movie is pretty over the top. Oceana is populated with girls who shop all day and act ditzy. On the other hand, there's no prince in this Barbie movie -- the girls save the day all on their own. Violence is pretty mild with some underwater chase scenes and an evil ruler who captures people in whirlpools. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Because the underwater world is full of fascinating scenery, and because the adventure is pretty exciting, the rampant consumerism in this movie really is a drag. Couldn't the girls in Oceana be pretty and fun without being so utterly focused on their clothes and hair? That said, Barbie fans will enjoy the ride, though parents might cringe to hear their girls mimicking the totally gnarly surf-speak that pervades the Malibu beach scenes.
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.