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DVD Review: Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses

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Grace. Beauty. Singing. And of course dancing. It has to be a Barbie movie.  

Little girls who love their fairy tale romances, complete with magic and dancing, will adore this latest addition to the Barbie movie library. Taking from the Grimm Brothers’ tale, Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses adds its own spin to a classic story.  Barbie plays Princess Genevieve, one of the king’s 12 beautiful, but spirited daughters.

After the emissary of a neighboring kingdom rescinds his invitation to a ball because the girls do not act like “proper princesses,” the king begins to wonder if he’s done right by his daughters since their mother died.  He invites his cousin, Rowena, to stay with him and teach the girls the ways of royalty, but soon takes ill. She quickly tries to whip the girls into shape, taking away all of their colorful gowns, prized possessions and scheduling their every moment; she even bans singing and dancing.  

To escape their frustration and sorrow, the princesses discover a secret their mother had left them: the key to a magical place where they can have anything they wish and dance all night long. When they’re too tired in the morning to complete their princess lessons and have worn their dancing shoes clean through, Rowena tries to get to the bottom of what’s going on.  

In the meantime, Genevieve suspects that Rowena is not what she seems and enlists the help of Derek, the handsome cobbler, to find out exactly what she’s up to. When they discover that Rowena has been poisoning the king, they and the other princesses give her a taste of her own medicine and save the kingdom.  

This is the seventh direct-to-DVD Barbie movie that has been released over the last few years, with others including Barbie Swan Lake and the Princess and the Pauper. It’s an enchanting tale of magic and mystery, punctuated by ample scenes of dancing and classical music. While the dancing is essential to the story, I found scene after scene of nothing but Barbies dancing to detract from the film’s allure.  

The story was a nice and very predictable adaptation of the classic Grimm tale of princesses dancing all night and wearing out their shoes. The modern take was interesting and the colors spectacular—sure to keep the interest of any little girl. Of course it ends with the wedding of Genevieve and Derek, but also with the other girls learning that there is something special within us all.  

Bonus features included a music video, which had my 7-year-old daughter dancing around the room—a matching game (with more dancing!!) that is easily played with the DVD remote, a recap of the six previous movies and a preview of the new Fairytopia film due out in spring.  If you’re looking for a sweet tale with a good moral for your little girl, Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses is a good bet.

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About Robin Kavanagh