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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 October 2006
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 "12 Dancing Princesses," was significantly higher than I had expected. 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.

On more than one occasion I have been listening to a CD of a classic such as Beethoven's pastoral symphony, or "The Queen of the Night's aria" from Mozart's magic flute, and my five year old daughter has recognised and expressed appreciation of the music, and correctly remembered which Barbie film had used it. ("Magic of Pegasus" and "Mermaidia" respectively.)

The soundtrack to "Twelve Dancing Princesses" is mostly adapted from some of Mendelsohn's best work, including "A Midsummer night's dream" and the Scottish and Italian symphonies. It also includes a lullaby sung to the King by the 12 princesses which was based on a 16th century anthem by Byrd, the recording of which was sung beautifully by Melissa Lyons and the Women's Occidental Glee club.

The story is loosely based on the familiar children's story. "Barbie" plays "Princess Genevieve", the seventh of 12 daughters of a widowed King. (The twelve daughters comprise seven young adults, plus a pair of twins who appear to be about 11 and a set of triplets who appear to be about 6.)

Like the original, the story is about 12 princesses who having been banned from dancing, sneak off every night through a magic passage and take a magic barge to a special island where they can dance all night.

However, in this version the killjoy who tries to stop them dancing is not the King their father, who loves them very much, but his cousin, Duchess Rowena, who the King has brought to the palace to be their tutor. At first even the princesses do not realise quite what a bad mistake this was ...

As with many of the Barbie films, comic relief is provided by talking animal companions of some of the principal characaters. In this case Princess Genevieve has a pet cat, and the evil Duchess Rowena has an equally evil pet monkey, Brutus. The hero, who in this version is the royal cobbler, Derek, has a pet parrot. For some reason the parrot talks with a greatly exaggerated Indian accent. (That's Indian from the subcontinent, not native American.)

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 body shape is, it is not quite impossible that this film may contribute to it.

But 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. Alternatively there are enough more sophisticated jokes thrown in that you won't be completely bored to death if you decide to watch it with your offspring.

And best of all, the soundtrack is almost worth buying the film for on it's own.
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on 18 August 2007
If your little girls like dancing then they will love this and spend most of the film dancing along. The music is sweet, the animation (as another reviewer has noted) is a little more realistic than the early Barbie films and the adult-appeal factor is still maintained, perhaps even more so with a couple of double-entendres that went straight over the heads of my 4 and 6 year old girls.

If your little girls like dancing and Barbie you must buy this!!!
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on 13 May 2014
My 5 year old daughter loved this, everything you would expect from a Barbie DVD .. didnt feel at all let down as I have with some other dvds I've bought for her. It arrived prompt within the time limit and was in very good shape for a 2nd hand dvd..no scratches and packaged well. You could easily have given as a present to someone.
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on 27 December 2006
I have two young girls, and they both love all the Barbie films. Actually they love the dolls too, so that might influence them a bit.

We (yes myself included) have watched all of them from:

Rapunzel - story not really based on the original tale

Swan Lake - not sure if true to the tale, but enjoyable

Princess and the Pauper - one of the best ones. great songs

Pegasus - not one the girls re-watch again and again

Fairytopia - original tale, enjoyed it

Mermadia - episode following Fairytopia

to the latest:

12 Dancing Pricesses.

Anyone who has seen any of the previous films will not get any surprises, the quality of animation is about the same, although is getting better (like the dresses flow much better now than before), it is not on the level of the Pixar productions (eg Toy Story, Shrek, Cars etc). It is not really competing in the same market as the Pixar productions though, so it's unfair to compare them.

I believe any girl who like Barbie dolls will love these films. Even if they are not into the dolls, it is still watchable.

The one disappointing thing about these films is that they reuse the characters in a some of the films, for example, the wicked Dutchess in this film is the same character who plays the wicked fairy in Fairtopia. Then again, Barbie plays the main role in them all...

What can I say, this is the latest in a series of Barbie films aimed at young girls (average 5 yrs maybe), I'm not sure what the upper age limit these will appeal to (9 yrs maybe).
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2006
Our daughter has all the Barbie films and, on the whole, they are well made and entertaining. The 12 Dancing Princesses, sadly, is the weakest to date. It seems to be more part of a marketing barrage to sell merchandise than a film. The storyline of the film is so thin it is almost invisible and the characters lack personality or warmth. Even the cute talking animals are dull. There's plenty of animated dancing and nice music though, and that seemed to keep our seven year old fairly entertained. Even so she prefers the other Barbie films and I think seven is the maximum age you should be buying this for. It is too devoid of plot, action or character to please anyone older.
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on 29 August 2013
Was bought for kids to watch as they love animated Barbie films.
Was really good to watch with family and to have to watch whenever we choose is good to.
Have recommended to friends and family
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on 10 March 2010
My daughter loves Barbie and has managed to collect all the DVD's and wasn't disappointed with this one, great value for money and a good story
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on 16 June 2009
You really can't go wrong with a Barbie princess movie. The heroines are bright and likable without being fodder for princes. The music is always a joy and the storylines engaging to adults and children. We love the Barbie movies in our house because the characters are real role models and embrace everything that little girls love such as dresses, shoes, dancing, friends, reading. I really dislike the whole Bratz phenomenon and the feeling that little girls should be little teenagers. I say, let little girls be little girls and enjoy pink and ballet and magic while they still believe.

As with most of the other Barbie movies, this one is based on an original fairy tale where a magic world opens up allowing the 12 sisters to dance and enjoy a secret world hidden from the evil Baroness who has come to steal the throne (think Sound of Music for little girls).
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on 6 July 2010
Based on the basic premise of the old Brothers Grimm tale, Barbie takes on the role of Genevieve, one of the princesses. Their mother died some time previously and their father (the king) is having some difficulties (or so he believes anyway) in raising the 12 girls, so he enlists the help of a cousin to help raise them as "proper princesses" except she has other plans to kill the king, trap the princesses and take over the kingdom for herself...

There is some beautiful music in this one and the animation for the dancing is superb.

This one was a big favourite with my kids (boy 7, girl 3) until other Barbie movies came out but it's still one they're more than happy to watch, particularly to enjoy the songs.
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Out of all the Barbie movies that we have this has to be the favourite of my little girls. They watch it everychance they get. Although after they had seen it everyday for 12 days straight it did start to wear me out. The good thing about this is the Dancing, encouraging little girls and boys to dance by coping the moves, another good thinig about this over the other movies is there isn't so much singing as it can take little ones a while to learn the songs but dance moves are picked up easily. The downside to this is the sheer volume of characters and number of names which is confusing for the little ones. This films would have worked just as well with half the number of princessed.
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