Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Barbie and the Diamond Castle|
Director: Gino Nichele
Genres: Kids & Family, Animation
Barbie? and Teresa? tell us the fairy tale story of Liana? and Alexa?, best friends who shared everything including their love of music. One day their simple lives change when they are given an enchanted mirror and befrie... more »
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Attachment Parents | Seattle, WA | 09/14/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"We just rented Barbie and the Diamond Castle which my daughter has been eagerly awaiting. Some items of caution: The two princely characters aren't princes but instead Lotharios. In the first scene in which they appear, some women in a tavern are mad at them for one-night stands when they expected love. The men flee and then follow the Barbie girls to try to seduce them. At first the Barbies don't want to have much to do with them and one says "you're kidding?!" when the girl in the mirror says they are desirable, but by the end of the movie they have made friends. This, in my mind, is way more dangerous than keeping an eye out for an evil villan, and children under eight are pretty incapable of understanding faked emotion in order to manipulate - my daughter thought they were "bad guys" until they saved the girls - and then she said, "oh, maybe they're nice then after all," which is the conclusion the movie seems to make, although the girls leave them to go home at the end. This is right in line with So Sexy So Soon, which I'm reading about marketing sexiness to children to sell products (and age compression means younger and younger kids are targeted).
And then there's the symbolism that fair is pure and dark is flawed - which maybe I'm particularly bugged by because I'm brunette - but why does it always have to be the darker beauty who is led into temptation and the fair one is virtuous?! Nothing against being fair, truly it's all beautiful; I would just like a little more randomness to the heroine's traits! (Not that I should expect this in a Barbie movie, but when they marketed they were best friends, dark and fair, I thought perhaps both would equally be heroines and there wouldn't be a "better" one!) Of course it's the reverse with the guys, as if "dark" were the only definition of handsome! We're still a far way from celebrating diversity of all kinds.
Another treat for little girls (and boys),
Marshall Lord | Whitehaven, UK | 09/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
This latest Barbie video, a cross between "Best Friends" and fairytale, is one of the more original films Mattel have produced and my seven-year old children thoroughly enjoyed it.
It begins with Barbie and Teresa practicing a guitar duet when a smaller girl bursts in having just had a terrible row with her best friend. Barbie starts to tell her a story of two friends who were put in great danger because each thought her friend had betrayed her, but their friendship won out in the end ...
The friends concerned, Liana and Alexa, share everything, including their love of music. One day they are given a magic mirror - and find a girl, Melody, magically hiding inside it.
Melody is an apprentice to the three muses who use the magical "Diamond castle" to inspire and spread music through the land. Unfortunately one of the muses, Lydia, wants to be the sole ruler of music. With the aid of her magical flute and an evil winged serpent called Slider, Lydia has turned her fellow muses to stone. Melody has the secret key to the Diamond castle, so Lydia and Slider are searching for her.
Alexa and Liana set out to help Melody rescue the petrified muses and overthrow Lydia - they will face dangers and deception along the way.
The story is one of friendship rather than romance, but "Ken" makes an appearance as Ian and Jeremy, a pair of rascally but warm-hearted twins who are travelling musicians. Ian and Jeremy share the role of comic relief with two adorable puppies, Sparkles and Lily: the twins have been given some quite amusing dialogue with plenty of ironic banter, probably intended to keep adults who are watching the film with their offspring amused.
Before we first rented one of the Barbie videos for my daughter, I was expecting them to be trite, over-commercialised, over-sugary and over here. However, I have been pleasantly surprised.
Yes, they do have a lot of commercial spin-offs and a high saccarine count, but the quality of the Barbie films we have subsequently bought or rented, including "The Diamond Castle" was significantly higher than I would have originally expected, and the quality has kept rising as each successive Barbie film seems to be more beautifully made than the last. They have not just kept my children engrossed for hours - including my son as well as my daughter - but introduced them to some beautiful stories and truly wonderful music.
Prsonally I love classical music and want my children to have the opportunity to learn to appreciate it. So it was a big positive for me when I was listening to CDs of classics such as Beethoven's pastoral symphony, or "The Queen of the Night's aria" from Mozart's magic flute, and my daughter, then aged five, recognised the music, and correctly remembered which Barbie film had used it. ("Magic of Pegasus" and "Mermaidia" respectively.)
With one exception the soundtrack to "The Diamond Castle" isn't taken from the classics, the songs in the musical are all modern. (The exception is a pastiche of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" which plays when the castle finally appears near the climax of the film. The orchestral accompaniment was recorded by a top rank classical orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. In my opinion Arnie Roth, who conducted the orchestra and co wrote the music with David Blamire, did a good job of it - almost as good the music he wrote for "The Princess and the Pauper" which has the best soundtrack of those Barbie films which have new music rather than raiding the classics.
Those people who enjoy criticising what the Barbie franchise represents will not have much difficulty finding things in this production to sneer at. If you, or more importantly your kids, are allergic to an excess of twee sweetness, then this film and the Barbie videos generally may not be for them.
And the female characters are all on the thin side of plausibility: I'm not worried that watching this is going to give my own daughter anorexia as she likes food too much and has a good sense of the difference between fantasy and reality. However, if you are worried that your children may be forming an unrealistic idea about how thin a healthy female body shape is, it is not quite impossible that this film may contribute to it.
Barbie is often accused of reinforcing gender stereotyping, but I don't think the charge is entirely fair, and even less for this film than most of the others - insofar as gender stereotypes are present in "The Diamond Castle" the film appears to be taking the mickey out of them.
On the plus side: it is beautifully made, it will hold the attention of most small children for long enough for the typical exhausted parent to clear the mess they have made in several rooms of the house or collapse for an hour's rest after doing so.
Or alternatively, if you want to watch it with your children, there are a fair number of more sophisticated jokes thrown in to keep you amused."
Please read this before you buy this movie!!! If you are co
S. Fuller | Mountain West United States | 09/25/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I am a mom of three girls, ages 1, 3, and 6. We own all the barbie movies of every kind. Of course we have our favorites. However this one is very different from the rest for me. Although it seemed to have a good message in the end, getting there was no fun at all.
1. The movie starts off with a friend that had a fight and calls her friend a "backstabber." My young girls might have small quarrels with their friends but already this seemed too mature for them. All they really want is singing and dancing at this age!
2. Their garden is ruined by a big storm, this threw my 3 year old who is scared of lightning into a tizzy. Then their house gets burned down. This happens to be my 6 year olds biggest fear.
3. They go to a restaurant in a village where everyone is throwing food at each other and yelling. They get a job singing because the boys who were supposed to show up don't keep there commitment. The girls hook up with these two "rascals" as the movie refers to them. No thanks. My girls don't need any help thinking hooking up with guys who are rascals is ok. By the way my daughters have a very committed stable dad who is always there so this is not from a chip on my shoulder.
5. At one point one of the girls almost walks off a cliff to her death when she is under the spell of the evil scorcerer. It had a weird feeling because the girl had no control over her self. Very weird concept for a 3 or 6 year old.
4. To get to the end where everything "works out" you have to go through alot of dark scary scenes where my girls were jumping up and down running around scared.
Having said all of that, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and quite a few other girl movie are not with out their scary, evil moments.
But, this seemed WAY too mature for my girls. The innuendos and dynamics did not seem to connect with 3, 4, 5,6, or even 7 years olds which is who this is marketed to.
However,the music was fun and my 6 year old LOVES the song connected.
So I wouldn't say, "DON"T buy this movie." That's for evey one to decide on their own. But I would like to have know about alot of these scenes before hand. And maybe I would have rented the movie and then been done with it.
What I don't get is little girls at this age only care about the dresses, the music and a cute prince or two. Why does there have to be so much other stuff?"
Another great Barbie Movie
J. Bauer | Gilbert, AZ USA | 09/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I pre-ordered this and was pleasantly surprised to find it in the mail one day before it went on sale to the public. My girls, ages 3 & 5 1/2 immediately wanted to see it. This is one of the best Barbie movies, and we own them all. As another reviewer said the last couple movies haven't been as good, but still wholesome. Barbie always has beutiful music, a moral, beautiful costumes, and a handsome prince. In the diamond castle two best friends set out to defeat evil together. What more could a little girl ask for? These are movies I can sit through myself. You won't be sorry with this latest product from Barbie. Of course now we'll have to get the Barbies..."