What little girl doesn't love Barbie, the doll who gets to do it all? She has an exhaustive wardrobe that consists of the latest fashions, she has Ken, a gaggle of equally pretty friends, and just about every accessory a cool girl could want, including a sports car, a spacious house, and even a camper. Barbie has often been criticized by feminists for promoting poor values to girls that emphasize physical beauty over brains, but one cannot deny her universal appeal.
Barbie has also starred in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and now she gets to explore a land of fantasy with the unicorn Pegasus. In 3-D, no less! In The Magic of Pegasus, Barbie is an overprotected princess named Annika, who longs to have more freedom from her parents, who watch her every move. She has a pet bear named Shiver, and soon she befriends Brietta, a unicorn who takes Annika and Shiver to Cloud Kingdom. A terrible wizard named Wenlock turns Annika's family to stone, so it is up to Annika to save her family.
The voice acting in this feature is disappointing, as if the actors are trying far too hard to convey their emotions; the overall effect comes across as wooden and overdone. The scenery, which is imaginative and colorful, is as much as a character, and at times more interesting, as the characters themselves. The filmmakers should get credit, however, for including music from Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, which gives the production more substance, even if the lengthy storyline is thin and plodding at times.
Viewers have the option of watching the movie in 2-D sans glasses, or in all its 3-D glory. Either way, the picture and colors are absolutely beautiful on DVD. I have never been a fan of the plastic-looking animation of the Barbie DVD series, and even the characters' facial expressions are limited; in some scenes it appears that only their mouths are moving.
Viewers have a choice of 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, 2.0 Dolby Digital audio, as well as a Spanish language track presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital audio. The classical score, performed by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, is particularly good. This is a pleasant surprise for a children's movie, and it truly enhances the overall experience.
Barbie has always been all about good grooming and accessorizing, so it comes as no surprise that Viewers can participate in the "Grooming Brietta" game, where they can select from three different tails and manes with two lengths. They can also use ribbons, bows, and jewels to accessorize the hair choices. Young girls will also enjoy the "Hope Has Wings" music video, which features a young singer named Brie Larson; the song is typical teen pop, but the singer is a cute, wholesome, younger version of Ashlee Simpson. My only quibble with the video is that it features Brie in a studio, wearing the ubiquitous headphones, however she is clearly lip-synching. To be fair, this is something that will go over kids' heads, but it is annoying nonetheless. As in the My Scene Goes Hollywood DVD, there is also a blooper reel, which is curious given that it is an animated feature. This feature is completely skippable.
The DVD comes with four pairs of 3-D glasses that can also be used at Barbie.com for additional games. I have always contended that the makers of 3-D movies should offer sturdier glasses than the standard floppy cardboard type. Plastic is not that expensive, anyway, and I imagine parents may be willing to pay an extra dollar or two to avoid the screams and complaints of kids whose paper glasses keep falling off. The fact that the movie can be viewed with or without the glasses is a lifesaver for times when the glasses are inevitably lost.
If only the plot could match the picture and sound quality, which appears to be the case with many Barbie DVDs. That said, most Barbie fans under 10 won't care about that, and at close to 90 minutes long, it is a decent investment for your family's DVD collection. Well, if you have a daughter that is. Boys are likely to run screaming from the room, so keep that in mind if you are looking for more of a whole-family experience. My advice would be to rent it first, and if plaintive appeals for future rentals occur, then consider buying it.