A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Lessons about self-confidence and finding one's identity and voice as well as appropriate uses of social media.
Discover and stay true to yourself. "Don't let yourself get put inside a box." Inspire others. "You can be whatever you want to be." Make memories, not just photos: "Life doesn't happen on camera. Life is what happens when the cameras are off." Some gender stereotypes. Message about not having to be picture-perfect, although most characters have thin figures.
Positive Role Models
Barbie is finding her own voice, wants to inspire others through her vlog, but she lacks much of an audience. When she's offered a major platform by an unscrupulous content aggregator, she has to decide what changes she's willing to live with. Amelia has a mass audience but hasn't been allowed to find her own identity and voice, as well as her own image beyond the "picture-perfect" princess she's been packaged as. Both girls are searching for their true identity, how best to share that with the world. Alfonso has to learn to trust Amelia to make her own decisions (and mistakes). Prince Johan uses unethical means to try to gain power; his plans are ultimately thwarted. Barbie's friends support her, keep her secrets, help her escape when she and Amelia are kidnapped. Cast is diverse.
Violence & Scariness
Animated violent sequences (nobody is injured or seriously hurt) include chase scenes on mopeds, boats, horses; Barbie and Amelia being kidnapped by (then escaping from) royal guards; exploding headphones; and airport mayhem when Barbie's puppies get loose.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
High school principal is attracted to "handsome" royal adviser. Ken seems to want to tell Barbie he likes her. Barbie dances with both Ken and Prince Johan.
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Products & Purchases
Tie-in to Mattel's Barbie products.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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.