Barbie in a Mermaid Tale

 
Fun undersea adventure oddly paired with lots of shopping.
  • Review Date: March 9, 2010
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

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.

Sexy stuff

All female characters wear bikini tops all the time.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

What's the story?

When Merliah (voiced by Kelly Sheridan) competes in a Malibu surfing tournament her hair turns a gnarly shade of pink. This sends her underwater -- where she discovers she can not only breathe but understand a dolphin speaking to her. Merliah soon finds out that she is not only half-mermaid, but the daughter of the Queen of Oceana. And Oceana is in trouble thanks to a cruel leader who has imprisoned her mother. With the help of her new underwater friends, Merliah must find three magical objects in order to reclaim her title as princess and to set her mother free.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how consumerism in movies like this influences viewers. Here are some tips that can help your kids see through the hype.

  • Did kids notice the swimsuit figures? Do they seem realistic? Is the Barbie shape a realistic one for girls? For anyone?

Movie details

DVD release date:March 9, 2010
Cast:Kathleen Barr, Kelly Sheridan, Tabitha St. Germain
Director:Adam L. Wood
Studio:Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies
Run time:75 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Barbie in a Mermaid Tale was written by

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Quality

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  • 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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Parent of a 9 year old Written byKbugsmom August 31, 2010
age 4+
 
Barbie sure has come a long way. As a parent who is skeptical about anything that may send the wrong message to my child, I more than pleased with how the makers of the Barbie movies have created these tales. If you have not seen these movies, your first thoughts are probably of a ditsy, snooty character who lives for new clothes, when in fact Barbie is portrayed as intelligent, kind, and an excellent role model for kids. A+ to the makers- good for you for making something that many have thought to be shallow into something positive for our kids. I wholeheartedly recommend this and all of the Barbie series movies.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old August 28, 2013
age 11+
 

No need to put sex

it is very nice for kids to see but why they put sex ?
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byApplesauce Doctor August 17, 2013
age 9+
 

A Disgrace to the Barbie Films

Another awful Barbie movie. The main character complains far too much and is annoying. The story is very predictable, and in the end, it doesn't feel like the main character learned anything. Also, I think the villain is really lame. The villain is constantly asking the merfolk, "Do you adore me?" and just for that, she is very annoying. Also, for a good 5 minutes the characters really just spend time shoppping. This probably only happened to promote more toys. This movie had potential but it really sunk.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism

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