A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbie Princess Adventure is an animated musical fantasy in the kid-friendly Barbie movie franchise. In this story, Barbie trades places with a princess who looks a lot like her. It's not the first Barbie movie with this storyline, but this film's main messages are about teenage girls finding their own identity and voice, and figuring out how best to share that online. Musical numbers are concerned with learning to be yourself, figuring out who and what you want to be, making memories and not just shareable photos, and taking responsibility for your own decisions and mistakes. There's a message about not having to be picture-perfect, although most of the characters have thin figures. Some animated violence includes chase sequences on boats, mopeds, and horses; Barbie and Amelia both being kidnapped by (and then escaping from) royal guards and an ill-intentioned prince; exploding headphones; and airport mayhem when Barbie's puppies get loose. In this film, Ken is eager to tell Barbie something, maybe that he likes her. In a final scene, he asks her to dance. Barbie also shares a couple of dances with Prince Johan, and the high school principal seems attracted to the "handsome" royal adviser. Like the other movies in the Barbie universe, this film is appropriate for little kids, despite some gender stereotypes and lots of marketing tie-ins to dolls and related products.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Barbie (America Young) and her friends have been invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to the kingdom of Floravia in BARBIE PRINCESS ADVENTURE, but little do they know that the trip has been orchestrated with a hidden agenda by Floravia's Princess Amelia (Erica Landbeck). Amelia has realized by watching Barbie's vlog that she and the American teen look almost identical, and she has a plan to switch places for a week to finally experience life outside the palace gates. Amelia's life -- and her image -- are strictly controlled by her royal adviser, Alfonso (Dave Fenndy). The plan seems like a dream come true for Barbie, too, but their adventure is cut short when neighboring Prince Johan (Angelo Restaino) kidnaps both girls in order to steal Amelia's crown. It'll be up to Ken (Ritesh Rajan) and the gang, as well as the ingenuity of Barbie and Amelia, to set things straight.
Is it any good?
This movie shows the franchise makers continuing to evolve the brand, ensuring the blonde, blue-eyed heroine is surrounded by a diverse cast and offering a message of self-affirmation. Even if all that Barbie traditionally represents in terms of gender stereotypes rubs you the wrong way, it's hard not to admit that these animated adventures offer upbeat fun.
Themes about living life offline and finding your own voice are simple enough for the youngest viewers to grasp. They may also enjoy the exotic European-esque locale of the faux kingdom of Floravia, and the special role that animals have in this story, with pets saving the day and the characters getting a helping hoof from horses and goats. The music in Barbie Princess Adventure is snappy and the dancing, which must have been fun to choreograph and animate, is contemporary enough to one day provide a time capsule on 2020 dance moves.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Barbie Princess Adventure compares with other Barbie movies. Was the storyline familiar? How about the location?
Do you or anyone you know keep a vlog or blog? Have you or they had to make any difficult decisions about what content to share and what not to?
Which of Barbie's friends is your favorite character, and why? Did you have a favorite musical number?
If you could trade places with one person for a week, who would you choose and why?
- On DVD or streaming: September 1, 2020
- Cast: America Young, Erica Landbeck, Ritesh Rajan
- Director: Conrad Helten
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Friendship, High School, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 72 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: TV-Y
- Last updated: September 15, 2020
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