Animated Movies, Indie-mation, Reviews

Indie-Mation Club Week 15: [SPOILER] ‘Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper’ Review

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I know many don’t consider the Barbie movies to be true indies but, for the purposes of this club, they fit because they aren’t widely talked about, and we are trying to get the Roto-readers to expand their horizons beyond Disney-Pixar and DreamWorks. Today, we are looking at one of the best in the Barbie series: 2004’s Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper.

In this fresh take on the classic Mark Twain story, Barbie plays a princess named Anneliese who is being forced to marry a man she does not love to save her family from disgrace as the royal treasury is bankrupt. She is devastated because she wants to marry her tutor Julian who she is in love with. Meanwhile, in the village, a woman named Erika struggles to be happy while working as an indentured servant for Madame Carp at her dress emporium.

One day in the village Anneliese and Erika meet and have an immediate connection.

Anneliese returns to the palace but that night she is kidnapped by Nick and Nack, who are associates with the evil advisor Preminger. Julian asks Erika to pretend to be Anneliese while they look for the kidnapped princess. Meanwhile Erika, disguised as Anneliese, meets King Dominick, who is also in disguise, and they are attracted to each other.

Anneliese escapes from Nick and Nack and Julian learns of Preminger’s plan to force the princess to marry him. Anneliese and Julian end up stuck in a cave and Preminger exposes Erika as a fraud.

Erika then meets up with Dominick in the dungeon while Anneliese and Julian discover valuable geodes in the mine that they can use to restore the wealth of the kingdom.

Preminger tries to convince the Queen that Anneliese is dead and that they must marry to save the kingdom. She relents but before they can be married Anneliese returns and exposes Preminger, and insists to her Mother that her true desire is to marry Julian. Dominick and Erika also wish to get married and everything ends happily.

I don’t normally do plot heavy reviews but it seemed like the best way to share what is most special about Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper: the music and the storytelling. This is the first real musical from Barbie, and they did a great job with beautiful songs that are well sung. It is impressive they have different singing voice actors than the normal talking lines but it feels seamless. I wish more animated films would do this as not every voice actor can sing.

The story is a classic fairytale but executed well and with enough pizzazz to keep things interesting and fun. The downside to the film is the same for all the Barbie films, mainly the weak animation. To enjoy a film like Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper you have to be willing to accept CG animation that isn’t the best. The rendering could be better and the backgrounds are practically non-existent. I find I can adjust because the other aspects are so outstanding but that won’t be the case for everyone.

Martin Short has tons of fun as Preminger and Kelly Sheridan does a great job differentiating between Anneliese and Erika in her vocal work (with Melissa Lyons and Julie Stevens doing the singing voices respectively).

If you have an open mind to this type of animated fairytale then you will enjoy Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper. It’s a good story with fairly well developed characters that struggle with conflicts that are not instantly solved by positive thinking or magic. The songs are terrific with beautiful singing voices from all around. The animation isn’t great but it is good enough to enjoy the film anyway. I bet if you give it a shot, you will be surprised by how much you like it.

What do you think of Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper? Have you seen it and is it your favorite of the Barbie movies? Let us know in the comments section!

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About Rachel Wagner

Rachel has loved animation since she was a little girl singing songs from The Little Mermaid at the top of her lungs. She currently works in social media marketing and loves to blog and vlog about Disney, Pixar and all kinds of movies in her free time. Her favorite movie is Up and she considers herself quite the Cinderella aficionado seeing every version she can get her hands on. She also loves animated TV shows like Simpsons, Gravity Falls, Star Wars Rebels and more. Follow her on twitter @smilingldsgirl
  • Marier Villarreal

    I definitely remember watching the Barbie movies, especially this one and the one where a girl lived on an island. The one thing I remember about this movie was one of the songs XD

  • Jordan Briskin

    I’m sorry, but any film that is made strictly for the purpose of selling a product– and all the Barbie films fit this description– are automatically poor, in my opinion. (For the record, I haven’t seen any of these films, and I don’t plan to, EVER!)

    • Rachel Wagner

      If that was the case than they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble to have London Symphony Orchestra and top tier voice talent perform. I actually think they make more of an effort than they need to. They aren’t there to just sell toys any more than the Lego movie exists to sell legos. They are a tool to tell a story and they do it surprisingly well

    • Anna Pąs

      I’m sorry, but that is incredibly stupid. If you look at it like that any movie is created to sell a product. You think just because someone (in this case Mattel) produced the movie to promote and help sell the toys, that stopped the actual creators of this movie to put their talents and efforts into this? Finally, it is simply silly to rate a movie that you haven’t seen.

      • Rachel Wagner

        I agree with you Anna. They could make these with no effort and just to sell toys but they really try to make it entertaining. Practically every movie is cobranded and merchandised but that doesn’t mean there is no effort in the final product

  • Anna Pąs

    Not only one of the best Barbie movies, but also simply one of the best animated musicals ever. I love this entry in the series, it has everything: entertaining plot, amazing songs, lovable characters. When we were children me and my sister always played into Erica and Anneliese.

  • bella

    princess-and-the-pauper >>> GOLDSTREAM-4K.BLOGSPOT.COM

  • It feels so much like a Disney movie in the best possible way!! And the fun thing about it is how it feels like it’s own thing and really is one of the best Barbie films and how they can be creatively impressive with all they had!! Seriously love this movie to death, and this review really got me more pumped about how good it is!! :DDD