Barbie version of Game of Thrones
Barbie & the Diamond Castle (2008 Video): 5 out of 10: Barbie and her friend Teresa are sitting in their apartment one afternoon playing and singing a soft country-pop tune when what I assume is Barbie’s little sister comes in all bratty because her friend did something that was not magic.
So calming her sister down Barbie tells a tale of two other women Liana and Alexa who also live together and play pop-country tunes and who not just look like Barbie and her friend but are voiced by the same actresses. So right off the bat, this isn’t Barbie & the Diamond Castle. Instead, it is Barbie telling a story that is not about Barbie but kind of is, and a Diamond Castle does show up, but in reality, it isn’t a castle. Yeah, I will have to break this one down a bit.
The Good: This story has some lovely morals about friendship, which is pleasant for a kids’ movie. Barbie, sorry I mean Liana, is always trying to do the right thing, and both characters show empathy, kindness, and charity regularly.
There are a decent number of songs in this film, and while none of them are going on my Spotify playlist anytime soon, there are admittedly pleasant little earworms well sung.
The film is colorful, and the story moves at a decent pace, keeping both the kids and parents’ interest.
The Bad: The CGI is right out of a PlayStation 2 cut scenes, and that is at its best (See The Ugly for when even that fails) It is watchable mostly but as is shown in Ghost in the Shell 2.0; CGI ages much faster than traditional animation.
The pandering to the little girl audience is sometimes over the top. I will talk about the dogs in a minute, but first I want to talk about the Diamond Castle. Adults will quickly realize that a place that has Greek Muses is not a castle at all, but a temple. The villain of the piece called Lydia is clearly the Muse Euterpe. While I would not expect young girls to know their Greek mythology, it would not hurt to accidentally educate the little monsters. There is nothing wrong with mixing Greek mythology with medieval tropes, but Barbie & the Diamond Castle tried to fit some square pegs in some round holes instead of letting the different groups coexist together.
The Ugly. The CGI dragon is ugly, but he is a cute ugly. The graphics sometimes make Alexa’s blue dress look like she is hiding a dwarf under there (She is standing, but her legs are as if she was sitting on a chair.) The dogs, on the other hand, are another level of Hell. At their best, they are too cute and sparkly and can cause proximity diabetes. But there is a scene in a tavern where they dance along with the girls’ pop-country tune, and they become Eldritch horrors. Rarely has the medium of film had such terror on screen. I don’t know what kind of art or programming failure caused this, but the uncanny valley has a new depth.
A short break to talk about projecting sexuality and how this is definitely a lesbian love story.
Before In Conclusion: I very much dislike when people project sexuality on characters and circumstances where none exists. But Liana and Alexa are clearly a couple. I mean they reject nicely the lads that help them out on the adventure and abandon them by traveling together over a rainbow bridge. You really can’t spell it out more clearly than that.
Liana and Alexa also refuse to live in the castle/temple so they can go back to sharing the cabin in the woods where they grow flowers together. Keep in mind Barbie is telling this story, and she intends for Liana to be herself and Teresa to be Alexa. Talk about unconsciously projecting your fantasies.
In Conclusion. Barbie & the Diamond Castle is a pleasant enough film with decent songs and colorful worlds for the little ones. Parents can pretend it is a Barbie version of Games of Thrones, which works well. Outside of the occasional ugly graphics and the fear your little ones will start singing, this is a decent video with good values.