on 7 October 2007
This movie may not yet be out on DVD here in the UK, but I've seen it and it is BRILLIANT!! I've seen all the Barbie movies and this one is offically my favourite.
'Barbie as the Island Princess' tells the story of Rosella, a girl shipwrecked on a beautiful tropical paradise island who can talk to animals. Rosella lives with her three animal friends Tika a loyal baby elephant, Azul a prim peacock and Sagi a wise red panda until one day, Prince Antonio discovers their island. Antonio and Rosella fall in love and Rosella decides to return with Antonio to his kingdom to try and find her family. But when arriving, Antonio discovers that his parents have arranged for him to marry Princess Luciana, whose mother Queen Ariana is plotting to overthrow the kingdom. Can Rosella stop Ariana's evil plot before it's too late?
I absolutely love the songs in this beautiful Barbie musical, I've been singing them to myself ever since I saw this movie. The animals are so adorable - Azul certainly is very funny as he thinks he's a Prince himself, Tika is so cute and looks up to Rosella as a sister, Sagi is very wise and is always there for Rosella when she needs help and Tallulah is an adorable monkey who helps Rosella prepare for the Ball. I certainly love the characters as well - Rosella is a beautiful young girl with an amazing gift, Antonio is a handsome young man who'll stop at nothing to thwart his father's plans for him to marry Luciana (also in terms of appearance, he's the best image of Ken we've ever had), Luciana is a beautiful young girl with a good heart who knows what to really marry for and Queen Ariana is one mean lady you don't want to get on the wrong side of! And of course, Antonio's three little sisters Rita, Gena and Sophia are very cute.
I absolutely love the plot of this movie - there's a lot of lovely scenes as well. The Royal Ball scene is really sweet. When I first saw this scene, I couldn't get over how beautiful Rosella looks in her beautiful ball gown. And I was very touched when watching her and Antonio dancing together - so beautiful! So if you're a Barbie movie fan, you'll like this movie - 'Barbie as the Island Princess' is now my offical favourite Barbie movie!
This latest offering from Mattel in the series of "Barbie" animated films for little girls (and boys) is beautifully made, imaginative, and, if my daughter is anything to go by, can hold the attention of a little girl for hours. Several sections of it will also give considerable amusement to adults.
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. In general, however, I have been pleasantly surprised.
Yes, they do have a lot of commercial spin-offs and a high saccharine count, but the quality of that film and the other Barbie videos we have subsequently bought or rented, including "The Island Princess," was significantly higher than I had originally expected before I saw the first one. 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. Several of them also introduced my children to some great musical classics: others, of which "The Island Princess" is one, had instead some enjoyable original music. In both cases Mattel had hired first class international orchestras to provide the instrumental soundtrack.
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 opera "The Magic Flute", and my daughter, who was then five years old, recognised and expressed appreciation of the music, and correctly remembered which Barbie film had used it. ("Magic of Pegasus" and "Mermaidia" respectively.)
Of those Barbie films where the music is original rather than taken from the classics, "The Island Princess" is one of the two best: the other, which has a sound track that I can particularly recommend, is "The Princess and the Pauper."
Barbie films with scores taken largely from the classics include
Barbie in Swan Lake (with music from the ballet of that name)
Barbie in the Nutcracker (ditto)
Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus (Beethoven)
Fairytopia II: Mermadia (Mozart)
Twelve Dancing Princesses (Mendelsohn)
The plot of "The Island Princess" begins with a little girl being shipwrecked on a desert island, following a great storm: the inference is that her ship sank and she was the only survivor. The girl is adopted by three animals living on the island: a raccoon, a peacock, and an elephant. At this stage of the story she cannot remember her name, but wreckage washed ashore with her suggests that the first two letters of her name may be 'R' and 'O' so she is referred to as "Ro" for most of the film. The girl learns the language of the animals and for many years lives happily with them, growing up on an island paradise. However, she always wonders where she came from and about the family she can no longer remembers.
Ten years later, when Ro has grown into a lovely young woman, a ship stops at the island to take on water, under the leadership of the handsome prince, Antonio. He is very taken with Ro and persuades her and her animal "family" to travel with him to his home country. His parents are concerned that this island girl may spoil their plans for Antonio. But there is a much more serious threat to their kingdom. A supposed ally is, unbeknown to the King and Queen, the heir to a noble family who they banished for treason twenty years ago. Behind a mask of friendship this individual nurses a nefarious plan to gain revenge.
Some of the funniest parts of the film relate to this plot for revenge, and the humour is obviously designed to provide some entertainment for adults who are watching with their offspring as well as for the primary target audience of children. I don't want to spoil the story by giving away too much of the plot (in either sense of the word), but at one or two points of the story I was not far off laughing out loud.
In terms of production values, the DVD runs very smoothly and is fairly easy to navigate around: "Island Princess" is also possibly the most visually beautiful of the Barbie films to date, which is quite a high standard.
Those people who enjoy criticising the way Mattel operate the Barbie franchise will not have much difficulty finding things in these films to sneer at. If you, or more importantly your kids, are allergic to an excess of twee sweetness, then these DVDs and the Barbie videos generally may not be for them.
All 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. This story is quite clearly set in a fictional world where several of the main characters are animals and the heroine can talk to them. However, if you are worried that your children may be forming an unrealistic idea about how thin a healthy female body shape is, it is not quite impossible that this product may contribute to it.
One charge which is sometimes made against the Barbie films but which does not hold much water is the idea that they reinforce gender stereotypes. OK, the films do often end with the marriage of the hero and heroine - although they do not always suggest that marriage is the only thing a woman wants - one Barbie heroine made her suitor wait until she had established her own career, despite the fact that he is a handsome young King. Other kinds of love besides romantic love are usually as important to the characters in the films - for instance, love between parents and children, or platonic love between friends.
But none of the Barbie films has ever portrayed the heroine as a passive victim who sits around waiting to be rescued by the hero. Usually the hero and heroine both take an active part in defeating the evil characters, facing down great danger, and ensuring the victory of good, and the heroine invariably has the key role in doing so.
When a recent feminist press attack on the "Disney Princess" marketing brand said that it "made Barbie seem like a feminist icon by comparison" the remark was intended as ironic criticim of Disney, but IMHO it held more than a grain of truth.
To summarise, these films are beautifully made, and 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. And there are enough more sophisticated jokes thrown in that you won't be completely bored to death if you decide to watch "The Island Princess" with your offspring.
on 30 January 2011
Not to detract from the film itself, which I'm sure is fine, but I really dislike the way this particular DVD forces you to watch two trailers before you get to the film.
I know most DVDs have two or three adverts that appear before the film these days, but with this DVD, you can not skip past the trailers with the chapter skip button; you can not fast-forward through the trailers using the fast-forward button; and you cannot go straight to the menu by pressing the menu button.
This means that if I want to put this DVD on for my little girl, I have to wait for these trailers to end before I can finally press Enter to get the film to start.
I consider this to be a gross misuse of the user operation prohibit feature.
on 30 January 2012
Someone else has beaten me to this review but I am annoyed enough that the product deserves another one star review.
After you've put the disc in it takes the best part of about four minutes before you can actually put the main programme on. There is no way of getting past the trailers at all - all buttons other than 'stop' (yes, even pause) are rendered inactive - how can someone make a disc I'm not even allowed to pause - is this some Clockwork Orange type indoctrination? Even Hitler (if he made DVDs) would have let you press pause. As well as the trailers you've also got to sit through all the copyright warnings which take an age - highly annoying.
My daugher asked to watch Barbie and she's sitting there saying "I want Barbie, I want Barbie" because she's forced to watch some stupid trailer with a dancing polar bear (or whatever it is I was too busy pressing every button on the remote to pay attention to it) followed by some drivel about a $302,500 fine (probably worth it just to get past the stupid trailers). We have loads of kids DVDs that, quite sensibly, start playing the main feature after you've put them on once a few logos have popped. This is just a complete chore to put on as you've got to oversee the whole thing.
I couldn't find anywhere on the packaging to direct my vitriol so this will have to do.
on 23 April 2014
It's not scary, so it is perfectly suitable for sensitive children. My four year old found some Disney films too frightening and upsetting but this was fine.
Also, it's got really catchy tunes. I'm always humming the songs to myself!
And finally, Ro is brave, interesting, and different, that's why the prince falls in love with her, AND she saves the day herself, which I appreciate!
on 6 July 2010
Wow, what an amazing movie!
We've just about the worn the disc out on this one I think... my kids absolutely adore this one, it's filled to the brim not just with a great and heart warming story with an emotional and beautifully portrayed ending, it's absolutely crammed full of wonderful songs. Most Barbie films have a couple of great songs in them, I think there are something like nine of them in this one and all of them are good, with a couple that are just outright fantastic.
My kids (boy 7, girl 3) both thoroughly enjoy them, singing along in the car as we drive to where-ever we're going :)
Ro is a shipwrecked young girl who grows up on an island in the south seas with the help of three animals that become her family and she gains the ability to speak to animals. When she is older (I presume 18 or thereabouts) a handsome prince lands on the island to explore and stumbles across Ro and brings her back to his kingdom. Back in the Kingdom he finds the King has arranged a marriage for him and that's just the beginning of the difficulties culminating in an attempt by an evil woman to kill the king and take over the kingdom, and a truly wonderful surprise for Ro that will have even the most stone-cold heart tear up a bit :)
Highly recommended :)
If your kids like the songs and want to sing along just with them, there is another disc (Sing-Along-with Barbie) that has all these songs and numerous others from different DVD's.
on 27 July 2011
This film has it all - lush scenery, really beautiful musical score, uber cute characters and a romantic but not overly emphasized theme between 'Ro' and the prince (of course).
We've got about 12 barbie films and this is my favourite and in the kids top 3 (Princess and the Pauper and 3 Musketeers also up there).
If you've never bought a Barbie film, give them a try; yes Barbie is a bit perfect/unrealistic but the values of friendship, compassion, courage etc are all highlighted in a very easy to understand way for girls age 4+. I'd imagine mine will still enjoy these films at 12.
(Also reviewing to counteract the two one star reviews - one given because of the trailers and one the delivery service; both reviewers admit they HAVENT SEEN THE FILM!! Amazon can't you take these kind of unhelpful comments off? We don't have the trailer issue with our copy of the DVD!)