A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Barbie movies are for entertainment purposes, but kids may learn a few incidental things like that the national dishes of Australia and Hawaii are pickled beetroot and poi.
Like most Barbie movies, this tale focuses on teamwork -- here, between Merliah and her surfing rival Kylie. The various mermaid ambassadors also work together against Eris' villainous pursuit to control the ocean. Merliah's friends aren't bothered by the fact she's a mermaid. Merliah is willing to help Kylie, even though she stole Merliah's magical necklace.
Positive Role Models
Merliah and her mother, Calissa, are visions of elegance, intelligence, and grace. They're intelligent and kind and only use their physical strength when defending themselves or others. Merliah, like all typical teenagers, is competitive and would like to prove she's better at surfing than Kylie, but in the end she does what's right for the merfolk even though it means she won't surf again.
Violence & Scariness
There's mild violence when Eris lures Kylie to the whirlpool and traps her. The huge electric fish that follow Eris have enormous teeth and act menacingly. Eris' battle with Calissa and the mermaid ambassadors unleashes their biggest "nightmares."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The girls wear bikinis, but there's (for once) no love interests or opposite-sex flirting in the story.
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Products & Purchases
All Barbie videos are made with the underlying intent of creating more awareness of the newest Barbie line and selling the dolls and their accessories. However, there's less overall consumerism in this sequel than in the original, where the girls spent most of their free time shopping.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Barbie tale is actually less consumerist and superficial than other installments in the ever-growing direct-to-DVD franchise. The sequel to Barbie in a Mermaid Tale features a little violence, but nothing scarier than an evil mermaid who can make others' worst "nightmares" a reality (usually a mental or emotional fear). One of Merliah's friends is a bit ditzy, but overall the characters work together to defeat the nefarious, self-obsessed villain. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As a rule, sequels to straight-to-video films aren't exactly going to wow audiences, but this one is surprisingly less obnoxious and superficial than other films in the Barbie universe. There are no cute merman or human hunks to impress, and we're spared the many shots of the protagonist and her friends shopping that were so blatant in the original. And unlike Princess Charm School, which was all about make-overs and Cinderella-style transformations, this sequel is a call to action, a reminder of what's really important.
The movie takes a realistic look at how competitiveness can consume someone to the point that they're willing to do anything to win. There are also valuable lessons in tolerance (Merliah's friends don't mind that she turns into a mermaid), generosity, and courage. The animation in these videos is never as thorough as that in feature animated films, but the characters in Barbie in a Mermaid Tale 2 are more substantial than other Barbie creations, and the story is sweet and refreshingly romance free.
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.