Barbie has made the transition from doll to a cartoon movie star. The famous doll has many movie credits to her name, with her playing the star in each one. Her first cartoon movie was actually a television special that aired in 1987. It was titled, Barbie and the Rockers: Out of this World. This movie was so successful that it was almost immediately followed up with a second one, Barbie and the Sensations: Rockin’ Back to Earth. Both movies were released in 1987. Five years later, Barbie starred in another movie, this one was titled, Dance! Workout with Barbie.
The year 2001 saw Barbie star in Barbie in the Nutcracker. That was followed by Barbie as Rapunzel in 2002, Barbie of Swan Lake in 2003, Barbie and the Princess and the Pauper in 2004 and in 2005, Barbie Fairytopia. As one can see, after her three initial movies, the rocker series and her dance workout video, many of the movies starring her have been based on fairy tales. This was done in large part to help Mattel promote some of its toys.
The latest cartoon movies are introducing the doll to yet another generation of young girls. Three films were released in 2011 alone. They were Barbie: A Perfect Christmas, Barbie: Princess Charm School and Barbie: A Fairy Secret. Two movies are slated for release in 2012. They are Barbie: A Mermaid Tale 2 and Barbie: The Princess and the Popstar.
Some of the newer movies deal with subject matters that are a bit mature for those on the lower end of the youth spectrum. Some parents have expressed concern over some of the more mature themes and dialogue. As the brand has attempted to be a bit more edgy, a la Bratz Dolls, they have offended some of their old target audience.
Barbie movies contain an array of characters. Because many of the movies have fairy tale themes, the cast of character generally changes every movie. Often times, there isn’t a lot of continuity in terms of characters, unlike movies which are developed as a series. With that being said, there are a few characters that people are really familiar. They are Ken, Raquelle and Skipper.
Ken is Barbie’s on and off again boyfriend. He was initially her love interest but the two have since broken up, at least for now. Raquelle has been one of Barbie’s ‘frenemies’. The girls start off as enemies but eventually become friends. Skipper is one of Barbie’s three sisters. She was one of the first doll side kicks and has appeared alongside Barbie in several movies.
Barbie movies continue to be made because there is a market for them. In recent years, the Barbie character is becoming more of the quintessential Western teenager with all the attributes and problems that come along with that. This helps makes her relatable and if Mattel has its way, relevant.