Universal // 2011 // 74 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // November 6th, 2011
A Holiday Musical Filled With Laughs!
Due to any number of factors (being a thirty-something male, having two boys, and a wardrobe lacking in pink garments), Barbie: A Perfect Christmas is the first Barbie movie I have had the pleasure to review. And while I'm clearly not the target audience for the franchise -- and doubt I'll return to the movie for my own entertainment -- I can certainly recommend this disc for parents of young girls. Hell, due to it being a Christmas movie, I can see no reason why young boys wouldn't get something out of it; fashion tips, for one.
Offering up catchy songs and wholesome fun aplenty, Barbie: A Perfect Christmas sees Barbie, along with her sisters Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea, head to New York to enjoy their holiday vacation. But plans go awry when a snowstorm causes their plane to divert, the girls landing in the small town of Tannenbaum. Seemingly stranded due to the adverse weather conditions, Barbie and company soon overcome their disappointment and enjoy their new surroundings.
Despite the hardnosed business acumen that drives the Barbie juggernaut, Barbie: A Perfect Christmas offers the kind of good clean fun that parents can leave their offspring to enjoy while they go about their household chores. What conflict there is, mostly revolving around Skipper's attempts to step out of the shadow of her old sister by putting on a show by herself, is soon resolved and sees the girls coming together to execute Skipper's plan; thus proving that teamwork is the way to go. Better yet, the film goes someway to remind us that it's the people we are with, rather than expensive presents, that are most important at Christmas.
Though children are likely to be less concerned with the quality of CGI employed to bring the peppy blonde and her cohorts to life, it's undeniably a bland looking movie. Everything from the characters to the backgrounds is extremely simple, and fails to excite on a visual level. Thankfully, any disappointment generated by the lackluster imagery is offset by the film's soundtrack. Okay, so musically Barbie: A Perfect Christmas is hardly my cup of tea -- I certainly won't be downloading it to my iPod -- but the songs are catchy enough and help capture the magic of the festive season.
Barbie: A Perfect Christmas is presented in a bright and colorful 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack contains clear dialogue, and comes to life during the musical numbers. The DVD comes with several bonus features, headlined by the "A Camping We Will Go" short. Much like the main feature, this short will appeal to young girls, as Barbie and her sisters take a camping trip. Those looking for more Barbie fun can enjoy a selection of outtakes, and a music video. The DVD also includes a sneak peek at Barbie's next movie, "A Mermaid Tale 2."
Barbie: A Perfect Christmas is not typical of my normal viewing habits, but in cases like this I have to put my own personal tastes aside and consider the title with its target audience in mind. Judged as such, this latest Barbie adventure is difficult to fault. The story may be trite, but it's told well enough to keep young children entertained and makes a refreshing change from the self-absorbed Bratz garbage. In that respect, Barbie might be seen as some kind of moral guardian, keeping our young girls safe from the trashy tramps that threaten their innocence.
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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: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Short Film
* Music Video
* Sneak Peek