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Video/DVD Review:    Barbie of Swan Lake

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coverThe most popular fashion doll in the world stars in her third direct-to-video feature film, Barbie of Swan Lake. This CGI-animated full-length film presents a contemporary adaptation of an old German classic fairytale, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Barbie plays as Odette, a modest young woman who discovers her courage after following a beautiful unicorn (named Lila) into an Enchanted Forest. When Lila becomes entangled in the wood, Odette pulls out a crystal to help free the unicorn. Viewers learn from the forest’s Fairy Queen that it had been foretold that the one who freed the crystal would overcome Rothbart, an evil wizard intent on ousting his cousin, the Fairy Queen, and taking over the forest. Odette doesn’t believe she is brave enough to go through with the task, but a confrontation with Rothbart, who transforms her into a swan, forces her to confront her own fears. With the help of the Fairy Queen (who counters the spell so that Odette can keep her human form by night), some wonderful forest friends, and Prince Daniel (Ken), Odette embarks on a fantastical (and musical!) adventure that is brimming with humor and suspense.

 

The characters in the movie are endearing. A troll guard, for example, appears to be an intimidating creature but turns out to be a lonely and very hospitable troll. Ken plays Daniel, a prince who is expected to find a bride. Rothbart’s evil plan to lure Prince Daniel into the forest to shoot the swan (Odette) backfires as the beauty of the swan entrances Daniel. Daniel falls in love with Odette by night, and has the power to break the spell on Odette if he pledges his true love to her and no one else. Despite Rothbart’s trickery, Odette and her friends manage to triumph over evil and save the day.  

 

The music is truly enchanting, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and the film features rather lengthy and intriguing dance scenes, choreographed by Peter Martins, Ballet Master in Chief of the New York City Ballet. Kelsey Grammer (from "Frasier") does a fantastic joba as the voice of Rothbart and Maggie Wheeler (Janice on "Friends") plays the irritating and spoiled Odile (Rothbart’s daughter).

 

The DVD edition features an especially child-friendly menu and includes a “My Favorite Scenes” option that allows kids to jump to key chapters in the movie, such as “Daniel’s Archery Practice”. Kids can also watch an inspiring segment entitled “The Music in You”, explore the stars and constellations (such as Cygnus the Swan) in an interactive way, and play some games with the DVD edition.

 

Like the first two feature films (Barbie in the Nutcracker and Barbie as Rapunzel), the CGI animation is well done, the story is modernized and politically correct, and the movie has something to teach children. In the case of Barbie of Swan Lake, children are introduced to the beauty and grace of both classical music and ballet. In our review of Barbie as Rapunzel, we cautioned that some of the scenes of good vs. evil may have been overwhelming for younger and more sensitive viewers. However, less focus on these types of struggles in Barbie of Swan Lake makes it pleasant fare for children approximately 4 years and up. This film is truly enchanting! 

 

[For more information, or to buy: Barbie of Swan Lake (VHS) or Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD) at Amazon.com]
 

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Barbie - Swan Lake
Barbie - Swan Lake
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~~Coming Soon~~ 

coverBarbie fans can look forward to another CGI-animated direct-to-video Barbie movie, Barbie As The Princess and the Pauper. This time around it's a musical, featuring seven original songs. Like Barbie of Swan Lake and Barbie as Rapunzel, the graphics are rich and the story is a modern re-telling of a classic tale. The DVD and video are due on September 28th.

[For more information, user reviews, or to pre-order: Barbie As The Princess and the Pauper (VHS) or Barbie As The Princess and the Pauper (DVD) at Amazon.com]

 

Our Rating:

To Buy this Video/DVD:

Buy Barbie of Swan Lake (VHS) or Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD) at Amazon.com

Buy Barbie of Swan Lake (VHS) or Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)  at Amazon.ca

 
Reviewed October 2003   Comments? Email us.
 

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