Fantastical Adventure and Unexpected Friendship in ‘Barbie: A Fairy Secret’

BarbieAFairySecret_V2.jpgNBC Universal has put together a little girl’s dream adventure. Available March 15 on DVD, Barbie: A Fairy Secret begins with the titular star and heroine trying on fancy dresses and extravagant shoes in what is obviously an upscale boutique. And it’s quickly made clear the occasion for the dressing-up is an ultimate of glamour: a red carpet appearance for her movie premiere.

There seems to be nothing on the dress racks that’s quite right, but in the hands of Barbie’s two wardrobe designers, Carrie and Taylor, one appears as if by magic. Then, after Barbie’s rival shows up at the red carpet and uses her stiletto heels to put an enormous rip in Barbie’s trailing skirt, we see there really is magic when Carrie and Taylor and a little fairy dust make the rip disappear.

Fairy dust, shimmering wings, a fantastical, brightly hued fairy world complete with grand palace — and, of course, beautiful girls and handsome boys and even a duel for the hand of a princess.  The film is an hour and a quarter of feminine fantasy that flits from one adventure to another.

The characters, however, play out with recognizably human reactions and interactions. Barbie is straightforwardly sweet, but the jealous Raquelle interjects sarcasm that helps keep the film from being too saccharine. Ken, who is compelled to duel against a more warriorly proportioned rival, wants to back out but can’t bring himself to say he’s not “man enough” to face the battle. And Zane, the Latin Adonis with mellifluous accent, is caught for a quick second posturing to show off his physique. 

The story eventually deals with the petty jealousies typical of preteen and early teen-aged girls, laying out not just the misunderstandings that are both cause and effect but digging down a level to uncover the reason for them. Understanding leads to forgiveness, and friendship becomes possible. BarbieAFairySecret_V2.jpg

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