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Article:    Barbie as Rapunzel: Reviews

 



The Barbie As Rapunzel Movie - On Video & DVD

We had a chance to preview Barbie as Rapunzel, set to be released on video and DVD on October 1st. 

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair!

Barbie as Rapunzel is Barbie's second full-length animation feature. Like the successful debut movie, Barbie in the Nutcracker, CGI animation is used to capture Barbie in a magical story that has her, playing as Rapunzel, "painting" her way to freedom. And, who better than Barbie, with her glorious golden locks, to play as Rapunzel? Children are treated to works of art from the likes of Leonardo DaVinci and more legends; and the soundtrack features music performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The movie features voice acting from Anjelica Huston, Kelly Sheridan, and Cree Summer. 

The Story. The movie opens with Kelly, Barbie's little sister, stumped over what she should paint. This prompts Barbie to tell Kelly a story about a girl whose paintings saved her life.

Barbie as Rapunzel retells the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale in a fresh new way. Hidden inside a manor, which in turn is hidden inside a mysterious and magical forest, is a young girl named Rapunzel. She lives in captivity--at the beck and call of Lady Gothel, an unpleasant and strict witch. Luckily, she has some animal friends--Hobie, a talking rabbit, and Penelope, a talking purple dragon (pictured at left). And, she has her art! Although Gothel disapproves of her painting, preferring that Rapunzel spend her time serving her, Rapunzel still manages to squeeze in some painting time in between her many chores.

A couple of chance discoveries change Rapunzel's rather grim life forever. First, a spoon accidentally opens a hidden staircase that leads underground. There, Barbie finds an old box with a hairbrush inside. The engraving on the brush begins with, "To our daughter on her first birthday", which has Barbie wondering about Gothel's claim that her parents had abandoned her as a baby.

Next, a hidden tunnel beneath the manor leads Rapunzel to an enchanting kingdom where she meets Prince Stefan, played by Ken. Rapunzel has no idea that Stefan is the son of King Frederick whose kingdom is at war with another kingdom, ruled by King Wilhelm. Rapunzel promises to return the next day, but Gothel locks her in a tower. 

Isolated in the tower, Rapunzel finds hope in her parents' words she has read on the hairbrush. Soon she discovers that, through the power of her imagination and her paintings, she can not only solve her own problems, but bring peace to the kingdoms.

Supporting characters and a multitude of sub-plots and interesting story twists add to the fun and adventure. Kelly, Melody, and Lorena (pictured above) appear as princesses. 

The producers have wisely altered the original fairy tale (which contained inappropriate content for children) with a new, politically correct, and considerably more responsible story line. 

The movie's use of Computer Generated Imaging seems a perfect fit for bringing the Barbie dolls to life--there's a slight stiffness to the characters that actually works in the movie's favor! Still, it is remarkable how the animation captures subtle nuances and expressions--from the characters' movements to the expressions on their faces. All in all, it's a visual treat.

The soundtrack to the movie is just as pleasant. Classical music (performed by the London Symphony Orchestra) and tunes from a young R&B-pop star, Samantha Mumba, nicely support and enhance the story line. 

Barbie as Rapunzel is filled with adventure. While the overall theme is powerful and positive, the very young may find some of the adventurous scenes involving Gothel a little too overstimulating. The movie, therefore, is probably best for children ages 6 and up.

The DVD Edition: Barbie as Rapunzel DVD edition features nice extras. First, there is a "My Favorite Scenes" option in which children can quickly skip to any of 21 scenes, including the beginning and ending credits. There is a wide-screen or full-screen option. In a nice touch, Barbie actually narrates the DVD's menus, making it easy for young children to make their selections.

In the "More Fun" section of the DVD, an interactive art gallery activity introduces children to art history and fundamentals. For example, Barbie describes the meaning of a "landscape", and asks kids to find the painting (from a group of 4) that features a landscape. When kids select the correct painting, they see a close-up of the painting, learn about the artist, and are asked to spot interesting scenes in the piece of art. This activity is educational and interesting.

Of course, it seems that no Barbie game is complete without a dress-up activity! The "Dress Up Rapunzel" game allows children to choose ball gowns and hairstyles for Barbie using the DVD remote control.

Also included is "The Artist In Me" documentary, starring 19-year-old art prodigy Amanda Dunbar, who gives viewers a tour of her art studio, her home, and her show at an art gallery. Other female artists are featured as well. 

Our Rating: A  This movie is entertaining, fanciful, and contains some educational value to boot. The DVD edition features some exciting extras. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy/preorder: Barbie as Rapunzel (VHS) or Barbie as Rapunzel (DVD) at Amazon.com]

 

Barbie as Rapunzel Software Game

Barbie as Rapunzel CD-ROM takes children on 8 adventures through the rooms of the castle and in the garden as they attempt to find missing gems that will bring Prince Stefan back to life (he's been turned into stone!). Players help redecorate the castle in time for the Masquerade Ball. The activities focus on creativity--designing murals, playing dress-up, creating masquerade masks, and so forth. Full review coming soon. 

See our screenshot gallery of the game, Barbie as Rapunzel.

Our rating: B+ 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Barbie As Rapunzel at Amazon.com]

 

Barbie as Rapunzel Toys

Barbie as Rapunzel dolls and playsets by Mattel are available. These include Barbie herself (in full costume), Kelly as the Petal Princess, Ken as Prince Stefan, a horse and carriage, and more. 

[To buy the toys pictured above, follow these links: Barbie as Rapunzel Doll or Rapunzel Kelly Doll Bundle. Alternatively you can find all of the Barbie as Rapunzel toys offered by Toys R Us by following this link: Barbie as Rapunzel Toys]

 

 

~~Coming Soon~~ 

coverBarbie fans can look forward to another CGI-animated direct-to-video Barbie movie, Barbie As The Princess and the Pauper. This time around it's a musical, featuring seven original songs. Like Barbie of Swan Lake and Barbie as Rapunzel, the graphics are rich and the story is a modern re-telling of a classic tale. The DVD and video are due on September 28th.

[For more information, user reviews, or to pre-order: Barbie As The Princess and the Pauper (VHS) or Barbie As The Princess and the Pauper (DVD) at Amazon.com]

 

 

 

 
 

 

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September 2002/Updated September 2004

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