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 vehicle bears virtually no resemblance to the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, aside from the name of the main character. Repeated scenes of spoiled and materialistic kids and clueless parents are intended to set the stage for transformation. Corporate sabotage in the name of saving a patch of forest is depicted repeatedly. Predictable, safe family fare.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Though it shares its name with a famous fairy tale, BARBIE PRESENTS THUMBELINA has virtually nothing else in common with the Hans Christian Andersen story. In this version, Thumbelina is the greatest of the Twillerbees, a tiny race of magical creatures who have the power to make plants grow. Their hidden forest enclave is threatened by development, and Thumbelina has only one way to save them: convincing spoiled little rich girl Makena to talk her cell phone-wielding business owner parents into stopping the bulldozers that will obliterate the Twillerbees forever.
Is it any good?
Definitely some fun eye candy here, in the form of the richly hued animation of flowers, trees, and a posh glass penthouse. The Barbie franchise has hit on a consistent movie formula and stuck with it: a main character, either fairy or princess, who must overcome various forms of evil with the help of animal sidekicks, determination, and some good old-fashioned grrrl power. This DVD is no different. The evil is threefold: modern corporate development at the expense of the ecosystem, shallow friendships, and clueless, overindulgent parents. Never fear, Thumbelina has them all covered (thanks to an assist by Twillerbee girl friends and a smiling dog.)
Good, positive messages are given about the true meaning of friendship in a materialistic world, the virtue of saving nature, and the ability for small people to accomplish big things -- always a nice message in a movie aimed at children. Unfortunately, the movie is so predictable from the opening scene that even the youngest viewers are unlikely to wonder about its outcome, and older kids will grow quickly bored.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Twillerbees' contention that you can do anything you want to and that size is not a constraint. What does that mean in your life -- what are the causes that you're willing to try to make a difference over?
What does this story have in common with the original Thumbelina fairy tale? Which do you like better?
- In theaters: March 17, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: March 17, 2009
- Cast: Anna Cummer, Kelly Metzger, Kelly Sheridan
- Director: Conrad Helten
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More
- Run time: 75 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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