A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In this sequel to Barbie in a Mermaid Tale, Merliah (voiced by Kelly Sheridan) the half human, half mermaid once again impresses judges in international surfing competitions. Her biggest rival is Kylie (Ashleigh Ball). With her magical necklace that allows her to turn into a mermaid whenever she wants to, Merliah checks in with her mermaid mother, Calissa (Nicole Oliver), in their underwater home of Oceana. Calissa invites Merliah to a special "changing of the tides" ceremony with all of the mermaid ambassadors of the sea, but Merliah declines in order to compete in a prestigious surfing invitational in Australia. The night before the competition, the evil Eris' (Kathleen Barr) fish lackey convinces Kylie to steal Merliah's necklace and transform into a mermaid. That leads to Eris being freed from her whirlpool prison and getting ready to take over the ocean -- if Merliah can't stop her.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages of friendship and competition. How does Merliah overcome her desire to beat Kylie? What does Merliah's selflessness teach kids about doing what's right?
Talk about how to separate the movie from the products it's advertising. We've got tips on how to manage product placements and advertising in pop culture.
How does this particular movie compare to others in the Barbie universe? Do you like that there are no boy-girl relationships or romantic themes?
- On DVD or streaming: March 6, 2012
- Cast: Ashleigh Ball, Kathleen Barr, Kelly Sheridan
- Director: William Lau
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Ocean Creatures
- Run time: 74 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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