47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There is hope!, September 12, 2011
This review is from: Barbie: Princess Charm School (DVD)
After increasingly disappointing installments in the Barbie movies line (they had been going down since Mermaid Tale) Barbie has given us a glimmer of light. Princess Charm School (originally dubbed "Princess Prep School" but later changed to the more toddler-friendly "Charm") brings back so many of the wonderful, whimsical elements we've grown to love about Barbie. Blair is not a movie star, uber trendy and loaded with cash & fashion. She is not an overly preppy teen whose biggest flaw is that her dress isn't up-to-date. She is a very down-to-earth girl who works hard to keep her family afloat. She has problems that, with the help of a very likeable character, she works through.

Friendship, forgiveness, kindness, family bond, never giving up, discovering your own talents, and overcoming your own obstacles are all celebrated. The animation (Barbie's face in particular) shows great improvement. For the first time since the Three Musketeers, our heroine doesn't look like an alien Bratz doll with bug eyes and a pointy chin! And the ridiculous Sequin has been traded in for Prince, a cute golden retriever. Alexandria Privet is an excellent character, exhibiting confidence and good manners. She is ladylike and kind-- something you don't often see anymore. Blair, too, is humble and sweet. Towards the end, she begins to show a bit of an "attitude" and has the mindset that "the crown is mine, I DESERVE IT" which is a bit concerning, but she seems to be still worried about her family.

There are really no bad elements in the movie; the disappointments come more in opinion matters. I miss Kelly Sheridan's voice terribly...it's not that Diana Kaarina's voice is bad (although it comes across as annoying and teeny-bopperish), it's more that Kelly IS Barbie and no one- not Diana, not anybody- will ever replace her. Until Mattel gets its corporate head on straight and re-hires Miss Sheridan, Barbie movies will not be the same.
The animation, though with serious improvement, is still somewhat lacking. The faces are still stiff, and the lips and eyes are the only things that move. Hair looks as though it's carved out of stone. And even though all of the positive elements are here, Princess Charm School is aimed for a younger audience. It's sad but true...Mattel has officially decided to move in the Hannah Montana/Victorious/ANT Farm and other fame-crazed young audiences.

So I give it a 4/5. The trailers for the next two upcoming BMs look promising: Perfect Christmas especially, as it features the whole Barbie family. I'm sad though, that after years of Barbie's baby sister being "Kelly", she is now "Chelsea". (Seriously....what do they have against Kellys?) Barbie in a Mermaid Tale 2 is the other....not quite as excited about this one, although Mermaid Tale was a decent installment. So fellow oldschool Barbie fans, we can only hope and pray (and wait) for Mattel to listen up. Until then, PCS is a great movie that little girls will love. Older girls and mothers, reminiscent of the Princess and the Pauper or Nutcracker will be somewhat disappointed, but of course, we aren't the target audience. And the target audience will not be disappointed--not one bit.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barbie Movies are getting better, September 11, 2011
This review is from: Barbie: Princess Charm School (DVD)
After a rough patch of less than stellar animation and storytelling (diamond castle, fairy secret), Princess Charm School looks to have been given better production values. My 8 year old says this is definitely her favorite of the Barbie movies so far (though she misses the movies with songs a lot).

The story theme is simple: every girl has the potential to be a princess. Blair, an ordinary waitress at a pastry shop in a thinly disguised inner city NY type of location, wins a yearly lottery to attend a prestigious "Princess Academy". There, she deals with rivalry and class difficulties while befriending fellow 'outcasts' in her dorm. Her main rival, Delancy, and Delancy's mother provide the strife and adversity for Blair as she tries to fit in. The girls learn that there is a long lost princess and Blair fits the description - but she can claim the title only if she can beat Delancy and her avaricious mother to the throne on coronation day.

Unlike previous Barbie DVDs, the characters are unique to the story and do not look recycled from previous DVDs. Also, it was nice to see that the main rival, Delancy's mother, was not a red head (though she wore the typical green color of all of the villains in Barbie movies). And as with Princess Luciana in Island Princess, Barbie will win over the heart of Delancy and foil Delancy's mother's plans to steal the throne of the country.

The characters do resemble their dolls more - though the side characters still have little to do in the movie other than exist as a reason to be a doll. But the animation of the characters is greatly improved - the 3d animation is less distracting and 'unreal' than in previous DVDs. It's only until the last frames that the animation looks rushed and much less detailed (dresses move strangely and are lacking shading/realistic details).

The story churns along at a steady pace and has all the Barbie movie hallmarks: Barbie goes on a quest, Barbie encounters diversity, Barbie trains in a montage, Barbie uses friends and ingenuity to overcome obstacles. One thing that is clear is that they are appealing to a much younger audience this time: all the Charm School girls wear hairstyles suitable to 6 year olds (ponytails and such).

One big change is that the comic relief sidekick of the villain is actually funny this time - giving one-liners in a deadpan that does bring a smile.

In all, this is much better than the very weak "Fashion Fairy Tale" and the dolls that go with the movie are much better quality as well.
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51 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the sensitive child, September 16, 2011
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This review is from: Barbie: Princess Charm School (DVD)
My five year old daughter is particular about what she watches. Of the previous Barbie movies, she only liked the Mermaid movie and Fashion Fairy Tale. The last Barbie movie, the one where there were fairies did not appeal to her, but it had nothing to scare her. This new movie, Charm School, starts out pleasant, but when Blair gets home from work, and we discover her mother is sickly, and needs care, my daughter got concerned. And then when Blair actually leaves her sick mother and her younger sister to go to a school where she must live, she got upset. My daughter is dealing with going to kindergarten and being separated from me for the first time, so I think this hit too close to her current personal experiences. Then when Blair gets to the charm school, she isn't treated kindly by most of the other girls, and again, this upset my daughter. The "villain" of the show is a mother who wants her daughter to become the princess, and she is very unkind to Blair, says and does mean things, and by this point, my daughter wanted it turned off she we never finished it. As a grown-up, this movie seems to have potential, but if you have an easily upset child, especially one who doesn't want to watch anything mean, unkind or sad, this isn't for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We love all the barbie movies, September 22, 2011
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This review is from: Barbie: Princess Charm School (DVD)
As a mom of 6 girls I am a pretty good judge of girl movies and we have always like Barbie movies. Some more than others, but this one was fun and everyone enjoyed it. From the 14 year old to the 2 year old. These movies are always well done and teach a moral about greed or pride and being kind to everyone. There were a lot of things I found similar to the other movies in this one. In an adults opinion I think they need to find a new writer. But my girls like it so I can't complain too much.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great fun for my little girl, October 14, 2011
Fun treat for my little girl and I. Very cute story. My daughter enjoyed it immensely and of course she had to have the dolls.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars mom's favorite Barbie movie, October 4, 2013
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One of my little girl's favorites and probably mom's favorite Barbie movie! Beginning with a reality tv aspect, filled in with MacGyver-type ingenuity, and ending like a fairytale, this movie has a little bit of everything. A rags to riches story, also dealing with friendship, this movie was very entertaining.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 yr old loves it, May 16, 2013
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This review is from: Barbie: Princess Charm School (DVD)
Barbie in charm school.. okay it is all so silly but oh so perfect for a 7 yr old.. fun dvd for that age group..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good animation, March 16, 2013
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Mary (New Jersey) - See all my reviews
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Very good animation, especially for Barbie. The songs are cute, the story is meh, but I've seen it ten thousand times and I don't want to gouge my own eyes out yet. My daughter has this on her fire and she watches it over and over and over again. I can't stand rubbish animation, so that alone makes this worth it to me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Princess Charm School Hits and Misses, September 15, 2011
This review is from: Barbie: Princess Charm School (DVD)
The latest Barbie movie, Princess Charm School, features the story of hard-working Blair, who is adopted as a young child into a poor family. After her sister enters her into a contest, she wins a scholarship to Princess Charm School, where it is hoped she will earn the skills to become a Lady Royal.

I think there are many positives about this movie. The animation is I think better than any of the other Barbie movies, and we've seen them all. This movie carries over themes we've seen in other Barbie movies where someone who has acted terribly towards Barbie or other characters experiences a change of heart and is able to become friends with Barbie's character and I think that is great. Having good character is emphasized as being a desirable trait, and this movie makes I think an invaluable point about confidence: Nobody "can make you feel inferior without your consent."

I am however, concerned with the continuing trend of dressing Barbie in skirts that are overly short and that I as an adult would not feel comfortable wearing. To borrow a phrase Barbie used in "Fairy Secret," they're a little too breezy and certainly not an appropriate model for young children. The characters in the earlier Barbie movies dressed classier, and in some cases acted in a ways I would feel much more comfortable with my child emulating. I also think some of the "manny and peddy" and materialistic swooniness that has crept into the last several Barbie movies, and does indeed show up in this one too, is not so desirable. A movie can be modern and relevant without so much of these things.

I am also lukewarm about some of the similarities with the Harry Potter story. Blair's parents are killed in a car crash when she is 1 and she is left on somebody's doorstep. She returns later to a castle that has magical elements that is supposed to help her reach her true potential. I also could see some elements of the Princess Diary movies in here. However, I think that while you can see that these might have been some of the inspiration for the story line, it is not blatant forgery, so I think it still passes as a cute and respectable movie.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbie, Beyond the Charm School, September 28, 2011
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ITBeast "ITBeast" (The Greater Los Angeles Area, Ca.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Barbie: Princess Charm School (DVD)
I got this for my daughter a week ago since she is an advid Barbie fan (All my fault for getting her started)and I most say this was one of the better Barbie movies I had seen in a while.

Synopis - Barbie plays an adopted under privilaged, hard working teenage girl who not known to her she is entered into a contest for a free scholarship to the most prestigeous "Princess Charm School" by her younger adopted sister. Upon winning (To here utter astonishment) she goes to the school in hopes of one day being able to make a better life for her adopted sister and adopted Sick Mother. Upon arriving to the school she quickly learns that completing the required course may not be as easy as it seems and most learn to conquer her own fears and to believe in herself to do so, However she later learns she may actually be something more than what she had originally dreamed of being when initially arriving at the school.

The movie gave the usual good moral lessons, was fast paced, and kept the targeted audience (My 9 year old daughters) attention to where she has already watched about 8 times since purchasing it. I would deffienantley recommend it for it's targeted audience and even for the adult audience as well.
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