I have a lot of Barbie movies. So many that today I was forced to ask myself, ‘do I actually like this movie? Or am I keeping it for nostalgia’s sake?’
Truth be told, I am keeping a lot of them just because they look good on the shelf, because I always wanted to own all the movies, in order. And then I asked myself another question, ‘what would happen if I did buy all the movies?’
The answer? Nothing. Having all the movies won’t impact my life at all. So I’ve decided I’m going to get rid of some. Here is my collection, as big as it will ever be.
Anyway, while we’re on the subject of movies, I’ve done a review for Barbie as Rapunzel (2003.) Here it is!
Barbie as Rapunzel stars Kelly Sheridan as our heroine Rapunzel, who is joined by her sidekick best friends, Hobie the rabbit and Penelope the dragon. Rapunzel is held captive for seventeen years by Gothel, a selfish old woman who stole Rapunzel from her parents as a baby. Unbeknownst to Rapunzel, Rapunzel’s father, King Wilhelm, is angry and desperately searching for her. Wilhelm believe that King Frederick, who lives in a neighbouring kingdom, kidnapped Rapunzel. This is the beginning of the feud between the kingdoms that leads to destruction, the separation of families and constant upset within the kingdoms.
Gothel treats Rapunzel as a servant and is very cruel towards her. Rapunzel cannot understand what she has done wrong and tries her best to please Gothel. Despite this, Rapunzel secretly wishes she could escape from her tower and be free.
One day, Rapunzel discovers a secret tunnel underneath the tower that leads to the nearby kingdom of King Frederick. Rapunzel falls in love with Prince Stefan after saving his sister from a trap set by Wilhelm. Rapunzel learns of the feud and is confused why the two kings don’t just sort the problem out between themselves.
However, Gothel learns about Rapunzel’s little adventure outside the tower and desperately does all she can to stop Rapunzel from undoing her carefully-laid plans. With the help of her friends, Hobie and Penelope, as well as Penelope’s father Hugo, Rapunzel outsmarts Gothel and marries Stefan.
The underlying theme of Barbie as Rapunzel is hope; hope that things will change for the better. This is demonstrated by Prince Stefan’s attempts to convince his father to end the feud, and Rapunzel’s unwavering hope that she will one day escape Gothel’s grasp. Throughout the film, Rapunzel remains positive about her situation and finds ways to keep herself busy.
The two sidekicks, Hobie and Penelope, couldn’t be more different. Hobie is older and wiser, and is quick to think up solutions to problems. Penelope loves to play with her friends, even if it means neglecting her studies to become a ‘mighty dragon.’ She is fiercely loyal and protective of Rapunzel. Penelope’s strained relationship with her father Hugo is an interesting subplot throughout the film -Hugo does not approve of his daughter’s friendships and would prefer if she spent her time practising to breathe fire, or flying. In the end, Hugo learns that Penelope is brave, loyal and courageous, all the characteristics of a mighty dragon.
Another interesting theme in the film is loyalty. Hugo and Rapunzel are loyal to Gothel despite her mistreatment, and Rapunzel is loyal to her friends Hobie and Penelope, despite it being against her best interests. Even though Rapunzel has many opportunities to escape, she continually returns to the tower to ensure the safety of Hobie, Penelope and Hugo.
The music throughout the film is a subtle touch that can go unnoticed if not paying attention. “Constant as the Stars Above” is about Rapunzel’s parents love for their daughter, and “Rapunzel Theme” is about Rapunzel’s wish to be free of Gothel. “Wish Upon a Star” is a pop song that plays during the end credits. Rather than the songs themselves, I think the instrumental soundtrack is much more impressive and has a greater impact on the audience.
Similar to other films in the era (Preminger, Duchess Rowena and Queen Ariana, to name a few), the film’s villain, Gothel, is incredibly intelligent. I’m not quite sure what her plan was, apart from ‘get revenge on King Wilhelm for not marrying me,’ but it sure created a lot of damage! Both kingdoms were full of disruption, uncertainty and were constantly pillaged by one another. If Rapunzel hadn’t shown up when she did, it’s likely that Prince Stefan would have continued the feud into a second generation. Gothel also managed to successfully manipulative Rapunzel into blaming herself for Gothel’s behaviour. This way, she could effectively maintain control of Rapunzel.
Overall, I think the storyline is an original and clever twist on the classic story, while still incorporating enough of the tale to be familiar to the audience. I believe that this is a fantastic film and Rapunzel’s quick-thinking, ongoing hope and good nature will continue to inspire children and adults for years to come.
So, should you watch this movie?
Heck yeah! Unlike some other Barbie movies, there is not a boring moment! It really is a good, exciting film, and although the storyline is based off of the classic Rapunzel story, it’s original enough that you don’t feel you are watching it for the fifth or fourth time.
The animation is a little low quality, but it’s charming all the same. There isn’t a single bland character and everything makes sense. The only plot hole that I can think of is when Stefan’s sisters are still at the ball, after it was invaded, a fire broke out, two kinds had a swordfight and a witch came and tried to kill everyone. Like, they just sit and watch the whole thing. But apart from that! It’s really good, I promise.
Also this is my 200th post! Hooray! I have been blogging for three years now, since 2015, so that’s not bad! I can’t believe I actually wrote about 200 different things, oh my gosh! I probably have, what, only 30 dolls!