This is a special, Spring Break, edition of the Farian Papers. Below, I have ranked the top five Barbie movies of all time. To date, there are seventeen Barbie movies spanning the golden age of film - 2001 to present. Whittling it down to only five best was surprisingly easy. Here goes...
The Nutcracker: The fifth best Barbie movie of all time isn’t really the fifth best at all. I felt I had to include it because it is the movie that started the Barbie movie franchise... Surely that is worth something. The nutcracker in this movie is awkward and an idiot. I did like the giant rock monster. I don’t really have much to say about this movie, besides the fact that it was first.
The Island Princess: This movie seems tired and long, but the colors are brilliant. I love it when a movie has a dominant color and sticks with it throughout the film (an adult example is the color green in Great Expectations). Anyway, the peacock is a tiresome character and only redeems himself by providing Ro with the most dazzling dress of all the Barbie movies. In every Barbie movie, you can bank on two things: Barbie will inevitably “find herself,” and there will be wonderful music. The music in the Island Princess is the best from an all-around catchy perspective. Ro does find her long lost family. It’s also great to see her botanical knowledge save the whole wedding party.
The Diamond Castle: The plot of this movie is the best of all the Barbie movies. The singing is strong. The characters - especially the twin male “heroes” - are really wonderful. This is an adventure tale full of enchanted songs, a trance-inducing flute, and a mean dragon that isn’t too scary. The only reason this is not ranked higher is because the antagonist is as annoying as anything in any Barbie movie and the tune she plays on her magical flute will be stuck in your head for days. (It is now stuck in my head as I right this review!) This is a great movie to watch with your kids, but a horrible one to have going in the minivan when all you can hear is the music.
The 12 Dancing Princesses: The second best Barbie movie of all time gets in for the music alone. This was our first Barbie movie to see and I was literally stunned at the beauty of the music. The plot is not bad either. Having twelve daughters must be hard for the king, but being poisoned by your cousin must make it even worse. If only Geneveive would be more honest or her father more perceptive, it seems like all the problems would go away! Luckily the girls find the magic dancing pavilion and the kingdom, somehow, gets saved because of it.
Rapunzel: Everything in this movie is strong - that is why it is number one. The plot is simple enough, Barbie has her hidden paint brush that transforms her to new worlds (a must!), and the music is solid enough not to lose ground to the Dancing Princesses. Of course, there is very little overlap between the real story of Rapunzel and this one, but you probably expected that by now if you are a connoisseur. Barbie Rapunzel has the honored designation of being the only movie to produce a song that ended up on my iPhone. Constant as the Stars Above is a beautiful song and an absolute favorite of my girls - my oldest daughter used to weep every single time she heard it.
And the worst of the worst... Just because.
Mermadia: This is the worst Barbie movie of all time! She is catty and her friends are worse. I could’t believe it was a Barbie movie. It was like the B team came in and did this one. I still don’t know what is going on in the plot and I am 37 years old and have seen it at least a few times (we have since thrown it away). What Timothy Dalton was to James Bond, this is to the Barbie franchise.
I would love to hear your comments aobut your best/worst Barbie movie, because I know some of you have an opinion. Your thoughts?
My next post will be during Holy Week. Have a happy Spring Break!