Today I’ll be reviewing the 2008 film Barbie: Mariposa and her Butterfly Fairy Friends. The DVD was also released simply as Barbie: Mariposa on some copies. My version is called Barbie: Mariposa with the tagline ‘A new adventure in Fairytopia,’ which makes me think it is the European version, with US stores receiving the longer title. It is written by Elise Allen and music is by Eric Colvin.
Isn’t the cover beautiful? Even though none of the characters actually have hair like this in the movie, I think it’s pretty all the same. In my opinion, it’s one of the best movie covers, actually. I love how Mariposa’s face is soft, while not being too cartoony, such as in the Barbie and the Three Musketeers (2009).
Basically, Flutterfield is cut off from the rest of Fairytopia because it is surrounded by skeezites -nocturnal, flying beasts that rely mostly on smell, who feed on butterfly fairies. During the nighttime, butterfly fairies hid in fear until Marabella arrives, who has a special power to create magical lights that protect the kingdom. The people of Flutterfield make her Queen. One day she is poisoned by her attendant, Henna, and will die in several days. Her son, Prince Carlos, suspects what the poison it is and wishes to go and search for the antidote.
Unfortunately, Carlos is locked up by the Queen’s royal advisor, in case he [Carlos] does not return from his quest, the Queen dies and then there is nobody left to rule. Carlos tells Mariposa to find the antidote instead. Mariposa takes her friends, Rayna and Rayla, and they follow Carlos’ directions to the antidote. Along the way, Mariposa learns to not doubt herself and Rayna and Rayla learn to think of others. When they return to Flutterfield with the antidote, they discover the Skeezites have already invaded and the fairies are doing everything they can to hold them off. Mariposa battles Henna and gives the Queen the antidote. Everyone is saved hooray.
I really, really enjoyed the music. I like how it maintains the similar theme of Fairytopia but with a Spanish influence. I wish I could point out which instruments I particularly liked, but I have no idea what instruments they were.
Being a 2008 Barbie movie, the animation is simply beautiful. Gorgeous. Look at the detail on those wings! Look at that face! The scenery is absolutely stunning, too, better than the previous Fairytopia movies. I noticed a section on motion capture in the credits. They probably used that for the flying / action scenes. Cool, huh? I also loved all the outfits and hair because of all the detail.
“Hey, fun fact! Mariposa means ‘butterfly’ in Spanish,” my friend tells me, excited that she knows something Barbie that I don’t know. I smile politely, but of course I already knew that. Not only is it right there on Barbie Movies Wiki, but I tried to learn Spanish for nearly a year.
I really do like the fact that the butterfly fairies speak with an accent. In the credits, a ‘dialect coach’ is listed. Rayna and Rayla sometimes throw in some Spanish words like ‘si, si’ and other things I couldn’t understand. If there was subtitles on, I could have written it down to look up later.
I really enjoyed the storyline, because even though it was a ‘quest-y’ movie, we were continuously unaware of what was going to happen next. My favourite part was definitely the cave of reflection, where your reflection says what you are thinking. Rayna’s reflection told Rayna that she had to be the one to go ahead, if she wanted to marry the prince. Besides, Mariposa could never achieve anything, she’s a nobody. “Stop!” Rayna cries. “I never said that!” She sounds really hurt, but if her reflection says this, then surely it must be floating around in her head somewhere. This shows that even though she has changed throughout the quest, she still holds some of her old beliefs.
Another aspect I like is how Mariposa is just a common fairy -she has a job as an assistant (or maid, or whatever she is)- not anything related to royalty. Willa and Mariposa don’t even know what the prince looks like! I especially like how Henna came up to Mariposa and explained that she feels like she doesn’t fit in, too, though I’m not sure how that influences the plot. Maybe just to reinforce the fact that Henna is the Queen’s attendant? Or to show that she seems so nice on the outside, she can’t possibly be a murderer, which is why nobody suspected her?
I love, loved Mariposa. I loved how she was shy, I loved how she didn’t want to go to parties, I loved how she reads and ends up being smarter than everyone, which ultimately saves Flutterfield. I love Carlos, Gastron and Henna, too. Because even though Henna wasn’t just a villain, she was also a manipulative popular fairy. And Carlos wasn’t just Mariposa’s love interest and the prince, he was also so concerned about Mariposa treating him differently that he changed his name and smart. Like Mariposa, he doesn’t enjoy parties and going out in public, and would rather read instead.
But the characters I didn’t like? Rayna and Rayla. Rayna is the pink one, Rayla is the blue one. I only remember that because I saw the movie recently, but I bet I won’t be able to in five weeks time. WHY DOES MATTEL GIVE THEM SUCH SIMILAR NAMES AND PERSONALITIES. The only obvious difference I could spot between the two was that Rayla was afraid of her talking reflection, so chose to stay behind. But, if you ask me, that was just a plot device to narrow the characters down so Mariposa could be chosen for the final test.
Apart from their similarities, I liked their development and how they knew how to handle the mermaids.
Do I have Skeezite Snack on my forehead?
Willa was a really interesting character, as she wasn’t just the ‘standard best friend.’ She got annoyed at Mariposa for sleeping in, she tried to understand why Mariposa enjoyed hanging out by the edge of Flutterfield, she was a real person. One thing I found interesting was how Mariposa told Willa to go to the party by herself and Willa immediately agreed and sounded excited, like she was grateful she didn’t have to miss out on the fun by sitting outside with Mariposa. It was also interesting how, although Willa is a very social fairy and goes to all the best parties, she doesn’t hang out with anyone apart from Mariposa. Is Mariposa dragging her down? If so, it’s pretty nice that she doesn’t ditch her in order to be more popular. Willa also seems jealous of Henna when she sees her with all her friends, and says ‘as if Henna feels like she doesn’t belong’ (or something along those lines). This also might imply that Willa feels like she doesn’t belong, too.
Zinzie, the flying bunny rabbit who lives in the woods and wears jewellery, served mostly as comic relief. She also had the idea of throwing rocks at the Skeezites to distract them, but apart from that, she just things worse, like when she woke up the baby mermaids and caused a giant sea beast to chase them. Thanks a lot, Zinzie!
My copy of the DVD only came with ‘Flutterfield Dress-Up’ which is probably wins the award for Worst Game Ever. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too far, but seriously -you can chose between Mariposa’s hair, Rayna’s hair and Rayla’s hair, then the same with wings and dresses until you have this weird combination of the three characters. It’s the same as the game on the old Barbie.com, before they did the horrible relaunch and deleted 80% of the content!
On the US version (the one with the longer title), there is also a scavenger hunt game. It’s really weird that I don’t have that! I assume it’s similar to the treasure hunt from the Mermaidia DVD. There are also some previews, but I didn’t bother clicking on that.
In conclusion, I am a big fan of this movie. I’m not sure why I don’t watch it more often! I’ve only seen the sequel three times, making it one of my least-watched Barbie movies. I think the only ones I’ve seen least is Spy Squad and Puppy Adventure, which I’ve only watched once. Mariposa and the Fairy Princess (2012) will be placed on my wishlist!
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