The three Barbie movies that are the bane of my existence

Liz Curtin

More stories from Liz Curtin

On July 21, “Barbie,” the first live-action Barbie film, will be released in theaters. The film will be an enjoyable adventure with everyone’s favorite doll. 

Despite the star-studded cast and colorful aesthetic, I find it unlikely this film will become the best Barbie movie with over two decades of animated films to compete with. However, I’m betting that there will be at least three Barbie films it will definitely be better than. 

Those films are “Barbie: A Perfect Christmas” (the downfall of decent Barbie cinema), “Barbie in Princess Power” (a film that is more garbage than the movie) and “Barbie Video Game Hero” (a film so bad that I’m ready to riot). 

“Barbie: A Perfect Christmas” is about Barbie and her sisters getting stranded in Minnesota for Christmas and accidentally finding Santa’s workshop. 

This film is also a musical which shocked me upon rewatching because I didn’t remember that, but it made sense when I realized how forgettable the music is. The exception is the song “It’s Gonna Be Amazing.” I wish I could forget that. 

Also, the movie is set somewhere between Rochester and Minneapolis, Minnesota but the area looks more like Alaska than anywhere near the Twin Cities. 

This is the first of the Barbie films to feature all three of Barbie’s sisters, who are spotlighted much more prominently in the later animated films. 

Personally, I think the sister’s inclusion drags down any films they are in since any film featuring them focuses more on family drama than its fantasy elements. 

I think this film could have worked if they had rewritten the story to focus more on the plot line of the eldest sister, Skipper, instead of trying to come up with a story for the other sisters.

The younger sisters’ plotlines just seem unnecessary and make the girls come off as extremely annoying, when I know they could have an interesting dynamic like they did in “Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse.” 

“Barbie in Princess Power” is a much more magical adventure. The first half of the film has an easy-to-follow story about a princess getting superpowers and having to keep her identity a secret. 

Once Super Sparkle (yes, this is the best superhero name the writers could come up with) gets a rival hero named Dark Sparkle, plot holes start to invade the story. 

Our main character gets her secret identity revealed offscreen and is banned from doing superhero work, only for the main villain, Baron Von Ravendale to show up and threaten Super Sparkle’s family immediately afterward. 

Plus, within the last fifteen minutes, it is revealed that a huge volcano has been located next to the city the whole time. 

Wow. How convenient for our villain. 

Baron Von Ravendale activates the volcano and lava surrounds the seemingly-lava-proof castle. Luckily, Super Sparkle is able to save the day before the lava destroys the city. 

First off, whoever was in charge of city planning should be fired. 

Secondly, if the royal family had access to lava-proof materials, why would they build a castle instead of a protective barrier around the city? 

In fact, why would the royal family build a castle so close to a volcano anyway? Well, I hope the view of their citizens drowning in lava was worth it.  

This is the stupidest finale I’ve ever seen in a superhero movie by far. 

It was barely built up at all and so little time was spent on character development that when Dark Sparkle and Super Sparkle team up to stop Ravendale, it doesn’t feel like a good payoff.

But if you thought that last movie sounded crazy, then you need to see “Barbie Video Game Hero.” In this flick, Barbie is transported into a video game and has to save the game by defeating the emoji virus. 

In fact, it’s odd how much this film reminds me of “The Emoji Movie,” complete with an annoying British man following our main character. 

This film does actually have some pretty funny writing and characters when it isn’t making obvious puns. However, the film definitely doesn’t feel like it understands video games or how they work at all despite trying to educate kids on coding throughout the film. 

Plus, the film has a lot of advertising for “Just Dance” in it. I really like “Just Dance,” but the only song the characters dance to in this is “Chiwawa” by Wanko Ni Mero Mero, and it gets old really fast. 

I also hate that in the final battle, Barbie starts making up her own “Just Dance” moves and that’s why she wins the game. (Also, also, the movie straight up rips off “Minecraft.”) Despite these problems, I do still think it manages to be enjoyable, even if only ironically.

So with all those films in consideration, let’s pray that Barbie (2023) isn’t any worse.

Curtin can be found at [email protected]