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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in Barbie: Star Light Adventure, Barbie is a take-charge, smart, and successful teen. She's come a long way from her origins as a curvy beauty who primarily focused on appearance, clothes, and social activities. This Barbie has a can-do attitude, participates in her community (in this case, a distant galaxy), and is a solid role model for her fans. In fact, other than one ball gown, Barbie's attire is all practical, appropriate for her character's active lifestyle. Some mild cartoon action, including a challenging journey through an electrical field, falls, and a sparring match with a teammate, is delivered with a light hand, only a bit of suspense, and no serious consequences. The story and accompanying original songs are chock-full of clearly-stated (and repeated) messages about believing in yourself, taking a risk when it's the right thing to do, and always listening to your heart (i.e., your better instincts). It's important to note that setting Barbie on an adventure in a high-tech, far-off universe is a boon for Mattel and its licensees, providing them with a wide variety of new marketable characters, products, and media entries.
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What's the story?
Far, far away from Earth in another galaxy, Barbie (voiced with high spirits by Erica Lindbeck) lives an idyllic life with her widowed dad (Michael Chandler) and her beloved pet, Pupcorn, in BARBIE: STAR LIGHT ADVENTURE. Barbie is a hover-board champion, is gifted at communicating with her planet's creatures, and spends her days in a magical world filled with peaceful beauty. On the galaxy's Capital Planet, however, a legendary prophecy is about to come true. It has been said that one day the stars that light the world and maintain harmony for all who live in it will dim and eventually disappear, and the galaxy will be plunged into darkness; only a special being, with the heart of a leader, will be able to restore the stars. As the stars begin to fade, King Constantine (Dwight Schultz) tries and fails again and again to return them to their sparkling glory. As a last hope, he summons a group of volunteers to help. Barbie is one of those volunteers. Along with Sal-Lee (Kimberly Woods), Prince Leo (Robbie Daymond), and some eager sprites, Barbie, spurred on by memories of her deceased mom, uses her wisdom, her desire to make a difference, and her special talents to lead the way and try to make the skies whole again.
Is it any good?
A solid story, eager fans, and a Barbie who is cool, smart, and a great role model spell success for Mattel and its licensees who've introduced a new line of dolls and toys based on this concept. Barbie: Star Light Adventure sets Barbie and her dad in a magical, high-tech, timeless universe with an unspoiled environment and a diverse population. Barbie is faced with meaningful challenges and rises to the occasion with only a few missteps, which she is quick to admit. The straightforward messages presented about being true to oneself, following one's heart, and how anything is possible are never subtle. In fact, the lessons are heard so many times in conversation and multiple original songs, that, though worthy, they become repetitive. It's nice to see how far the Barbie creators have come in making their brand relevant and positive for today's kids, particularly girls. This movie is a welcome entry for old fans and a pleasant introduction for new viewers. Its mild action and simple-to-follow plot make it appropriate for most kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fact that this DVD has been released in tandem with many new Barbie: Star Light Adventure dolls and toys. How does the movie help sell the toys, and how do the toys help sell the movie? How does your family deal with the pressures of this promotion?
Barbie admits that she isn't perfect; she often questions things too much, and she sometimes acts before she thinks. How does acknowledging our shortcomings help us make better choices? Think of one lesson you've learned from a mistake you made. How did it change your outlook or your behavior?
Villains often learn nothing in stories and never change. This antagonist is different. What did King Constantine take away from his adventure with Barbie? How did the filmmakers show that he had changed?
- On DVD or streaming: September 13, 2016
- Cast: Erica Lindbeck, Robbie Daymond, Kimberly Woods
- Directors: Andrew Tan, Michael Goguen
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths: Courage, Integrity, Perseverance
- Run time: 79 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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