A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbie in Princess Power adds a new action-adventure dimension to the Barbie family of movies and products. Cartoon jeopardy, narrow escapes, and physical battles make up a substantial percentage of the story. Barbie "plays" a princess named Kara who, when kissed by a butterfly with magical powers, turns into Super Sparkle, a superhero with super strength, agility, special weaponry, and the ability to fly. Kara and Corinne, a rival cousin who becomes Dark Sparkle, become invincible heroines capable of rescuing innocents, rounding up criminals, and defeating powerful villains. Along with Kara's best friends, who are scientific masterminds, technological advances are made and weaponry is created, all to combat evil. Still, Kara's interest in fashion and friendship is retained; after all, she is played by Barbie. Products inspired by the movie are available for purchase.
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What's the story?
BARBIE IN PRINCESS POWER finds Barbie playing "Kara," a sweet and beautiful present-day princess. Kara is a normal princess with lofty goals (developing a community garden) and loving but over-cautious parents who refuse to let her take any risks at all, even when Kara is sure she'll be fine. It's especially hard to accept their fearfulness since Kara's two best friends, Madison and Makalya, are scientific geniuses who come up with wonderful new inventions to delight the princess. Danger lurks in the castle, however. No one is aware that the Baron, a key advisor, has hatched an evil plan (and nefarious potion) to destroy the king and rule the land himself. The real adventure begins when the Baron's potion gets away from him. A butterfly, turned into a magical force when it ingests the runaway elixir, kisses Kara with the enchantment on its lips. It's then that Super Sparkle is born. Finding joy in her new persona, Super Sparkle/Kara is soon saving the multitudes of Windermere from impending disasters. A final battle between the Baron and Kara, assisted by her formerly very jealous cousin who has found magic of her own, will determine the fate of everyone in the Kingdom.
Is it any good?
There are fewer simple "messages" in this Barbie movie and more adventure and derring-do; it's surprising to see fashionista, shopaholic, and iconic princess Barbie as a superhero. But it serves a very definite purpose: Barbie is effective, strong, resourceful, brave, and comfortable with power in this tale. Her two best friends are astonishingly competent in the realms of science and technology; they're fully at ease with physical facts and numbers. All in all, those traits are valuable for Barbie fans to recognize as viable for growing girls. Still, there is a lot of action and peril where very little has come to be expected, so some young fans might find it unsettling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Barbie's new superhero personality. Why do you think the creators of Barbie wanted to introduce Super Sparkle? What new audiences and customers do you think they're trying to reach?
An increasing number of Barbie stories have Barbie playing the role of a familiar character (Barbie as Rapunzel, Barbie in The Princess and the Pauper). Do you like seeing Barbie in stories you already know? What are the advantages for filmmakers of adapting these stories to fit Barbie?
With so many new Barbie toys introduced with each new DVD, do you find yourself wanting to buy new members of the Barbie clan each time? How does your family decide if or what you can purchase?
- On DVD or streaming: March 3, 2015
- Cast: Kelly Sheridan, Michael Kopsa, Britt Irvin
- Director: Zeke Norton
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Friendship
- Run time: 74 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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