Universal // 2006 // 81 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 25th, 2006
Enchanted dancing in a magical world.
In a case of some weird meta-storytelling, fictional character Barbie stars as fictional character Princess Genevieve in this brand-new computer-animated fairy tale about 12 dancing princess, an evil queen, a good-looking cobbler and the most virile king in history.
King Randolph is that aforementioned stud king, now a single dad, after his wife bit the farm (after popping out 12 children it's a wonder she was still ambulatory). He loves his daughters, all of whom are kind and hot (in that animated kids movie kind of way) and love to dance. Unfortunately, their manners are not tuned toward royalty and Randolph fears they will be unfit for the demanding pressures of castle life.
Enter his cousin, Duchess Rowena, a vile bee-yatch of woman who eyes only one thing: the throne. But to usurp her cousin from his kingship, she needs to get the princesses out of her way. The princesses, under the leadership of Genevieve, suspect something is amiss with the Duchess's machinations, and enlist handsome cobbler Derek (of course that's his name) to help figure out what's going on. But before all that goes down, there's some dancing that needs to be done. See, the princesses have discovered a magical land of enchantment of nonstop Muzak where they traipse to at night and dance and dance and dance.
Will Genevieve and her siblings be able to stop dancing for like nine consecutive seconds to repel Rowena and preserve their father's kingdom?
Here's the lowdown on The 12 Dancing Princesses: it is a total girl movie, and a good one at that. This film is not embarrassed to fully embrace the whimsy and makeup and hairspray and ball-gowns and hot guys named Derek and imaginary worlds where all there is to do is dance that no doubt makes up the imaginary worlds of most young girls. I am, of course, simply assuming that, lest you conjure up an inappropriate thought or two.
Seriously, though, I fully recommend this DVD for the girls. It is completely harmless, easy on the eyes and features a perfectly serviceable fairy tale story. The computer animation is very impressive, and the faces of these characters look eerily realistic. And, yes, Barbie is smoking hot. My only complaint about the look is the soft colors. For production that begged to be robustly colored, I felt this area lacking in the animation. Still, it won't be enough to deter the young ones from getting up and dancing around like the princesses.
The writing is sharp (enough) and the story has its share of wise-cracking animals (there were three, a cat, a parrot and a monkey), which should keep the tiny ones transfixed. There's probably not much value here for the grown-ups, but that's not a bad thing and besides would it kill you to spend some quality time with your kids? Suck it up!
There you go, a great little girls' movie, and something, I predict, will end up getting many, many spins on your home DVD player. Princesses and dancing and evil cousins and pretty eyelashes, it's all here.
The film receives a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and 5.1 Dolby Surround mix. Extras are bare: a music video, some previews and the "Merry Memory Ballet" game, which I suck at.
Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Music Video
* "Merry Memory Ballet" Game
* Barbie Official Site