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As I sat through this movie with my girlfriend and her nieces, I became gradually aware of how this film succeeds: it's invincible. Completely critic-proof. What can I say against this movie, exactly? Whine about how I don't like Barbie?
It's basically a modernized (and nauseatingly politically correct) take on The Nutcracker, throwing Barbie into one of the lead roles for pretty much no reason (unless you count bankability). Of course, it's a kids' flick, and relies on sparse, simple dialogue and spare editing to convey the action. It definitely works well; the girls ate it up and came back for seconds.
This is a rather interesting computer-animated movie. While it's noticeably lower-budget than Toy Story and Shrek, the visuals have a sort of subtle charm. The vast landscapes are quietly serene and beautiful without becoming overwhelming. Sometimes the motion-captured characters are placed against a flat 2D background, giving one severe flashbacks to the early days of the Playstation.
Bottom line: If you're a girl age four to ten, you'll likely enjoy every minute. Barbie's voice actress and Tim Curry as the Rat King are worth noting.
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