Universal // 2012 // 74 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // March 4th, 2012
Splash Into the Sea-quel with Barbie!
If, like me, you somehow managed to miss Barbie in A Mermaid Tale, the sequel opens with a succinct recap of the original to bring you up to speed. The plot is simple enough this isn't necessary, but it is appreciated. Basically, having imprisoned her evil aunt Eris and been granted the ability to sprout a pair of legs thanks to a magical necklace, the mermaid Merliah (Barbie) is able to live a double life as a champion surfer and princess of the underwater kingdom of Oceana.
Picking up soon after the events of the first movie, A Mermaid Tale 2 opens with Merliah competing against feisty determined Australian surfer Kylie who has no intention of finishing second to anyone. But Merliah's two worlds are thrown into conflict, when she pays her mother a visit. Mommy -- or the Queen of Oceana, as everyone else calls her -- is adamant Merliah attends an important ceremony on the very same day she is booked to compete in the final heat of an international surfing competition. Determined to beat Kylie, and win the title, Merliah disobeys her mother's orders. But when Eris dispatches one of her underlings to trick Kelly into freeing her from her whirlpool prison, Merliah is forced back to Oceana, to stop her aunt from making a play for the throne of Oceana.
While one shouldn't be surprised by A Mermaid Tale 2's lack of originality (or quality), it's still disappointing how much this feels like one big ad for Mattel's famous line of dolls. Of course, one big ad is exactly what this film is, but I'd still like to think someone might have considered furnishing this latest Barbie adventure with a little imagination. Worse still, it appears as though the writers couldn't even be bothered to come up with anything to differentiate this sequel from its predecessor, as it sports the same exact villain and the same basic storyline. At least Ben 10 and Transformers Prime are full of excitement and invention.
It may seem churlish to complain, when a film teaches children about the importance of working together and getting along, but A Mermaid Tale 2 is far more entertaining when Kylie is throwing barbed comments at Barbie than when the two team up to take on Eris' army of devious plankton. Still, even with with all the life lessons and not so subtle advertising, it's good to know the writers of A Mermaid Tale 2 weren't above including a few crummy fish-based puns. One scene has Barbie's talking dolphin buddy ask, "Wanna see a movie? Karate Squid? Raiders of the Lost Carp?" Oh cod, my sides are splitting.
Sporting a standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, no one could accuse A Mermaid Tale 2 of being unsightly. A sharp picture, replete with vibrant colors and a good level of detail, ensure this release looks the business. The Dolby 5.1 audio is clear, though rarely excites.
Extras are, unsurprisingly, sparse. First up is a music video for the quickly annoying "Do the Mermaid" song that crops up on a couple of occasions during the movie. A selection of unnecessary outtakes is next, guilty of being nothing more than filler. Finally, there's a Polly Pocket short, "Best Day Ever." Taking on a found-footage look, this cheery little cartoon is sure to keep little girls happy, but left this curmudgeonly thirty-something male grasping for the remote.
It's all innocent enough, but Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2 rarely ventures from the same basic Barbie formula. Young kids will no doubt have a whale of a time, but everyone else should avoid this release on porpoise.
Not one to carp about...unless you're under the age of six.
Review content copyright © 2012 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 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: 74 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episode
* Music Video