If you’re looking for a movie to make you feel nostalgic, dumbfounded, delighted, confused, exhilarated, and a skosh uncomfortable all at once, then I have a movie recommendation for you.
Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper (Yes, the animated one from 2004 that came out exclusively on VHS.) should move straight to the top of your watch list. You have no excuses because it is available in full on YouTube, uploaded by a user named simply “Jessica,” but, even if it weren’t available for free, the Amazon Prime charge of $2.99 would be absolutely worth it.
From the opening moments of this movie, one thing is clear—the animation is strikingly beautiful considering the movie was probably made on a Barbie laptop (I’m just assuming this is required for all Mattel productions). It is challenging to describe the animation style in all its glory, but I will attempt. Remember the CGI lizards from Holes? Imagine a whole movie of those lizards, but the lizards are Barbies and Shia LaBeouf isn’t there.
The plot of Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper comes from the classic tale of The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. If you go to the IMDb page for Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper, you will find that one of the writers listed is Mark Twain. There is only one logical conclusion. Mark Twain wrote Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper.
Viewers of this cinematic snafu may find themselves invested in the characters, many of which are animals. “Wolfie the Dog-Cat” is a cat who barks. “Midas the Poodle” sports handcrafted human-like eyebrows and can speak English, but occasionally chooses to bark. “Seraphina the Cat” serves as the token feline feminist icon.
The most notable success of the film, the music, brings a subtlety to the story we mustn’t overlook. The songs were engineered systematically to remain stuck in your head until you die, but it’s okay because the lyrics are breathtaking. Some of these lyrics include gems such as “you’re my doggish cat.” Personally, I found the music a bit troubling as it immediately reminded me of my old Barbie doll that used to sing the words “I’m just like you, you’re just like me” while her batteries slowly ran out.
Despite this, I do not regret the three hours I have spent watching this (I’ve seen it twice).