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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbie: Video Game Hero features Barbie as a smart coder who's designing and programming a video game with friends. Lots of positive messages about creative thinking to solve problems, never giving up, and teamwork getting the job done. There are short, simple explanations of what codes and viruses are. It encourages kids, especially little girls, by showing that they can be coders, too, and make things how they want them to be. Parents may want to talk to kids about what to do if a device is asking them to click to agree to something. That's what starts Barbie's whole adventure, and online safety or consequences aren't addressed.
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What's the story?
When BARBIE: VIDEO GAME HERO's in-game tutorial asks her to help with a beta test, Barbie clicks the "yes" button and is magically brought into the world of the game itself. But it seems the real reason she's been invited in is because a computer virus is threatening to take over and destroy the whole game. To defeat the virus, Barbie will have to win every level. But in-game characters such as Bella and Kris just might have something to say about that. Can they learn to work together to find a way to defeat the virus and save the game?
Is it any good?
It's refreshing to see Barbie emerge as a smart girl: a coder who thinks things through, uses creative solutions, and encourages teamwork to save the day. Barbie: Video Game Hero should encourage kids, especially girls, to explore the world of coding and programming.
Each of the three levels in the video game is fun and colorful in a unique way. Each one also introduces new characters, each with their own contributions to make. And it builds suspense and excitement as the virus takes over more and more. The main concerns are what’s left out of the movie about online safety and when it’s OK to click on a yes button. And characters wearing safety equipment for roller-skating or skateboarding would make that much better role models. But messages about teamwork and problem-solving are strong. It's a fun adventure Barbie fans are sure to enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Barbie learns that she can change things to find solutions to problems in Barbie: Video Game Hero and that things don't have to be only one way. If you could change one thing to be your way, what would it be? Why?
Have you seen any other Barbie movies? Do you have any Barbie toys? How do you and your family decide which ones to watch or to get?
Have you done any coding or computer programming? If so, was it fun? If not, would you like to? How could you try it out?
- On DVD or streaming: January 31, 2017
- Cast: Erica Lindbeck, Michael Dobson
- Directors: Conrad Helten, Ezekiel Norton, Michael Goguen
- Studio: Mattel Creations
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great girl role models, Science and nature
- Character strengths: Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 72 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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