Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Review: Barbie and The Diamond Castle

My daughters and I received a copy of the DVD of Barbie in The Diamond Castle. I agreed to do a review because, despite what we all know about Barbie's unrealistic figure as a doll, the movies aren't always about a princess finding love. The Fairytopia movies are fabulous because of that. These are movies about young women doing something other than finding prince charming. While we would all like to find that charming person, it doesn't always happen.

The Diamond Castle is about friendship mostly, although there are two rather rakish rogues as characters which my husband and I liked.

We meet Liana and Alexa, two young women who sell flowers to make a living. They aren't doing well after a storm wipes out their garden. Being plucky characters, they salvage what they can to sell at the market. Seeing a frail woman, they share their meager food. In exhange, she gives them a mirror.

In the mirror is Melody, an apprentice muse captured there by a former muse, Lydia. Lydia doesn't believe in choruses. She's truly a diva with a desire to make everyone sad and bend to her voice and will. She sends her flying serpent to retrieve the mirror. He doesn't get it, but he manages to burn the cottage of Liana and Alexa. The two women decide to help Melody free the other muses by unlocking the Diamond Castle. By playing the muses instruments locked in the castle, Melody believes she can defeat Lydia.

On the journey, Alexa and Liana pick up two small dogs, which they carry in baskets in the style of Dorothy and Toto. In search of food, the two women take over for absent musicians in a pub. The ladies are good singers and catch the attention of the errant duet who planned to play. These are the two rakes, twins, Ian and Jeremy. Man, are they full of sarcastic remarks and witticisms.

Lydia, still on the search for the mirror, nearly captures the friends, but the twins save them just in the nick of time. Now, the group of four continues the journey. They meet a troll, intent on eating the twins. Alexa and Liana solve the troll's riddle, saving the twins from becoming dinner, and get access to the bridge. Now separated, the friends say they will meet the men at the seven stones.

On the way to the Stonehenge-like place, Alexa and Liana find a lavish house, full of food, and two people enchanted by Lydia's spell. Alexa wants to stay in the comfort of the home. Liana argues that they promised to help Melody and should fulfill that. The argument ends with Liana leaving and Alexa staying behind, tearing off a necklace that signified their friendship.

Liana reaches the stones. In the meantime, Alexa is caught by the flying serpent and brought to Lydia's lair, a bunch of stone platforms surrounded by acid or some other noxious liquid. Alexa, no longer wearing the protective stone of the necklace, is enchanted by Lydia. This leads to Liana and Melody (still in the mirror) being caught. Melody agrees to show Lydia how to find the Diamond Castle if she lets her friends go.

Through some twists and turns and some apologies, the friends triumph with a little help from the twins. I won't give away the ending, but songs and believing in things you can't see (like love and friendship) help.

I liked the story and the characters. Sure, they got to be princesses at the end, but it was more like if an American became knighted by the Queen of England. As a parent, I groaned a bit at the cute dogs and the obligatory scenes. That's just how I roll. My kids liked those parts. The young men have to be written in for the moms who watch the movie. Their wit entertained me the entire time. My soon to be seven-year-old declared that we must keep the movie and that the dogs were her favorite part. My five-year-old enjoyed the movie and the songs. She sings bits and pieces (one sung by American Idol winner Katharine McPhee) all the time. On her list, besides the music, was that the friends save the world in beautiful dresses. (Can I complain about the wearing of peasant dresses in all these movies? I get it. Many girls like it. It's just so cliche!) Not to be excluded, my son, age 3, gave his review. "Good. The dragon was super cool when it was chasing the girls, but they saved the mirror from the dragon anyway."

Since receiving it, we've watched it twice. That's saying something with all the activities we have to do in the evenings and on a weekend that my sister visited. They like the story about friends and the music. I liked that there were no weddings at the end. Thumbs up from this mom.

A big thanks to Mom Central for the opportunity to review the movie.


Mama Zen said...

My daughter is begging for this. Thanks for the review!

Alanna said...

All those characters! Could any of us keep up?

Sarabeth said...

Believe me, I wrote down the plot and characters of the movie as I watched it with my kids.