43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely adaptation of the Tchaikovsky classic ballet..., October 9, 2003
This review is from: Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)
This film is not just for young Barbie fans. It is also for their moms - particularly moms like me who grew up admiring Tchaikovsky's beautiful "Swan Lake" ballet. I saw it performed by the Royal Ballet in London as a teenager and have been enraptured with the story eversince.
I purchased this DVD for my 3 year old daughter for us to watch and enjoy together. My daughter loves it because of the sweet story, playful characters, the dances and, of course, for Barbie! What I enjoyed about this movie is how it captures the spirit of the ballet. Any decent adaptation of "Swan Lake" needs to incorporate Tchaikovsky's music into the story and this movie does just that. Add to this the lovely ballet that the characters perform and a plot that stays fairly true to the original (albeit minor changes to make it more G or PG-ish). In this case, Odette becomes lost in the Enchanted Forest and is captured and transformed into a swan by the evil Rothbart. The fairy queen helps her by changing the spell so that she becomes a swan by day but transforms back to her old self at night. While wandering the forest the Prince Daniel meets and falls in love with Odette but only through courage and strength can Odette find a way to defeat Rothbart and break the spell.
This is a lovely story that any young girl (and her mother) would enjoy. The CGI is splendid and the movie is filled with beautiful scenes and landscapes. The dance sequences are lovely and are lifted almost directly from Tchaikovsky's ballet and the music, of course, is wonderfully incorporated into the film. Highly recommended for Barbie, Swan Lake or young ballet fans, their sisters and their moms!
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a Barbie skeptic..., December 2, 2003
By 
Lisa McKinley "lisa_in_so_cal" (Citrus Capital of the World, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)
Barbie. I tried to keep her away from my rough and tumble twin girls as long as possible. I relented two months ago, for their fourth birthday. I just couldn't squelch their girly-girlishness any longer. First came the dolls, then the outfits, and now the accessories. Great-Grandma bought them this dvd, Swan Lake, while we visited for Thanksgiving. The whole family is pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it is! It successfully kept the two older brothers and daddy out of the kitchen for a good part of the afternoon!
If you are not freaked out by fantasy, crystals, unicorns, and magic, than I assure you, your little girl will enjoy this dvd. I think what I really enjoyed about it is that it uses the classical Swan Lake music, rather than Disney-esque songs. So if I have to listen to it in the background every day for the next week or two (as children are wont to do with a new dvd), it is much more pleasant than listening to inanimate objects singing mind-numbing verse.
The animation is very realistic, especially the dance sequences. The story is about good vs evil, and courage. There is humor, beauty, some scariness, and of course, true love.
The additional featurette about girls and music was very interesting. It features five teenage girls and how music is such a strong part of their lives (two violins, one cello, one harp, and one trumpet). My girls have now taken to "performing" music for us, using a little electronic keyboard and a guitar, which they prop between their legs like a cello. They even "rehearse" prior to performing. I think a love of music is vitally important in creating a well-rounded soul, and I am thrilled that this Barbie featurette gave them an impetus to actively participate in music-making, rather than just listening.
Again, it was much better than we expected. I'm beginning to think this Barbie-thing could be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to expanding my Barbie horizon.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely music, lovely dancing, and an approachable classic for girls, October 4, 2005
This review is from: Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)
Next to the Princess and the Pauper this is the favourite movie in our house for my under 5 yr old girls. It is beautifully animated, generally quite gentle and pastle in colours (so different from Fairytopia and even RApunzel), it has lovely clear messages and great music.

This is the story of Swan Lake retold for Barbie. Here she plays the role of Odette who is the daughter of a baker in a small town. Her sister is a tom-boy who loves riding horses - this sister seems quite superflouous to the story, I have never figured out why she was put in here at all.

Anyway, Odette follows a Unicorn back through a secret entrance to a magic forest. There she saves her but cutting a rope with a jewel which she has found. This turns out to be a magic jewel which only a special chosen one can pick up. It seems it is Odette who is chosen, but before she can do anything she is turned into a Swan by Rothgar who has been terrorising the forest. The Fairy Queen makes a crown out of the jewel to protect her - and changes the spell as best she can so Odette is a swan during the day and girl by night.

Odette is saved by love when a Prince, drawn into the forest by Rothgar to kill the swan, falls in love with her beauty - first as a bird, and then as a girl.

The film departs from the standard Swan lake at this point - there are lots of animals enchanted by Rothgar - but in the end it is love, and friendship which overcome all. A really nice message.

The dance scene where Rothgar puts an enchantment over his daughter Odile so that everyone thinks she is Odette is quite confusing for my littlies but does not distract from their enjoyment. The dancing is very beautifully done, lovely animation here.

I also loved the colours in this, they tended towards rich pastels rather than the glaring brightness of Rapunzel and Fairytopia

Finally, the music. I loved it - it is of course from the Ballet itself, and it is lovely. I think this is such a nice way for children to be introduced to ballet and to classical music.

A great movie, good messages and fun to watch as a family.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Um.. it's a LITTLE GIRL's movie, not an epic, May 11, 2006
This review is from: Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)
I'll admit it. I was skeptical. I rolled my eyes and wondered how a Barbie movie could possibly be entertaining in any way.

But I was wrong. Sure, they're not epic, moving tales of love and excitement, meant to blow away your mind and change your views on life itself. They're little girl movies meant to entertain little girls. In fact, they entertained me, at 18, my mother and to some extent my brothers, as well as my 8-year-old sister. The animation is pure eye-candy; colorful, bright and lush. The acting isn't top notch, but it's pleasant and enjoyable. The characters are mostly adorable. They weren't meant to be anything more than cutesie girl movies. And as a cutesie girl movie, it more than suceeds.

This take of the Swan Lake introduces Odette as, not a princess, but a baker's daughter for which I give them points. Instead of the typical tomboy character who rebels against her parents, Odette is a quiet, shy girl, who loves her father and enjoys working (and dancing) in the bakery. More points for overcoming the new stereotype. She is a reluctant heroine, who thinks herself not up to the task of saving the world, but who prooves herself to have grace under fire. Finally, a girly girl is presented as something ok and not as undesirable. More points awarded.

The villian, wonderfully voiced by Kelsey Gramner, was amusing in his being completely and totally wrapped around his whiny daughter, Odile's finger. The irony was not lost on me; Rothbart perfectly in control of himself and everything at his command.. except his young girl.

The dancing scenes won me over. I was shocked when I heard actual Swan Lake music and actual ballet being performed in front of me. It was beautifully done and fit seemlessly into the movie. A wonderfu way to expose little girls to classical music and dance as an artform. In a world where this sort of thing is considered 'uncool' this was a wonderful surprise.

The hate reviews for this movie are pretty interesting. Apparantly a bunch of young teens didn't like the movie and decided to do a group bashfest. About five hate reviews are nearly identical; they love Bratz, hate this movie, and thought Bratz was 1673819x better than Barbie. Furthermore, the music was called 'not classical' and 'not beautiful', and while they are entitled to their opinion about how good the music was, the movie contained THE Swan Lake score as originally composed.

Barbie of Swan Lake was a wonderful princess tale, pretty and girlish in every way, but by no means soppy or insipid. In a way it shows how you can be a shy girl and yet still be strong and attractive. Like most Barbies the prince is more of a love-interest than a real character, but is well done nonetheless. It is a wonderful movie that girls will love, watch over and over and has only good messages to it. I was stunned by how good these movies were.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Inspiring, January 22, 2006
By 
John C. Kunich (Grundy, Virginia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)
For whatever reason, many young girls have declared jihad against all things Barbie, having been co-opted by the Bratz propaganda bratzkrieg. This accounts for all the reviews liberally sprinkled with insightful terms such as "sucks" and "Bratz rule." If one considers this film on the merits, however, there is much to commend it.

The computerized animation is a visual delight, and quite sophisticated. The plot is far more complex than in many children's films, and actually may require the viewer to pay attention to follow its twists. And there is enough sublime music from the distantly-related yet immortal classical work to overcome any other objections.

Kelsey Gramner is no Martin Short when it comes to Barbie villains, but then Short is in a class by himself. In fact, here we get two villains for the price of one, as Rothbard's chirpy-bird daughter steals the show with several whiny/funny lines. The two of them provide both comic relief and villainous menace.

My daughters love the dance sequences, often asking me to dance with them during these scenes. Any movie that elicits that reaction is forever deserving of five stars in my book. I'll remember these moments long after most kids movies are nestled in some landfill. Maybe this film will work the same magic for you and your girls. If it does, it's a bargain at ten times the price.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Fabulous!!!, February 12, 2006
A Kid's Review
Geez, what's up with all these hate reviews? Barbie of Swan Lake was AWESOME!!! It's the best Barbie movie (and Princess and the Pauper is right up there too). The animation isn't the most awesome kind there is, but it's quite tolerable, and it's definatley not junky. The score is beautiful and very true to the original Tchaikovsky (same with the Barbie Nutcracker, which, I should say, is MUCH more enjoyable than the original Nutcracker ballet). Perhaps if you are frightened by such "scary" music you should watch something else, like Barney ;). My five year old sister loved it, and so did I. It's a timeless, romantic tale for every age. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, October 8, 2003
My two girls ages 7 and 2 both adore this movie. My two year old has been putting this movie in the VCR every single day for a week now (that is also how long we've had it) and I'm not even tired of watching it. We also have Barbie Nutcracker, and they have seen Rapunzel, but this is their favorite of all 3 movies. The costumes are stunning, special effects, all the pink glitter magic and the luminous fairy queen are absolute eye candy! Which is in part what makes the movie so wonderful. The computer graphics and animation are very well done. The story line - was well executed. Odette, Barbie, the heroine, finds bravery within herself which ultimately defeats Rothbart, the evil sorcerer and saves the Enchanted Forest. How many girls dream of discovering such a magical fairy world which lies hidden behind a waterfall ... We all love the ballet in the movie, such beautiful coreography, we wish there was a little more of it, but it was all balanced out with everything else going on in the story. The music is so wonderful too, consequently, I'll also be looking for an instrumental CD of swan lake.
The little animal friends turn into elves/fairies at sunset (just as Odette turns into a swan) and the porcupine (Ivan - Tommy) and the skunk ("the lovely Carlita" - Kelley with Black Hair) are just a hoot and their dance numbers are an absolute joy to watch, we just want to join them in the fun! I wholeheartedly recommend this movie to all young girls (even grownup ones!) who love Barbie, fairies and magic.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WOOF! This one is the worst! EVIL RED EYED Villian. YUCK!, March 9, 2005
This review is from: Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)
This movie robs the classic ballet's music, and ruins what story there was with its evil bad guy. (You'd think it was a Disney flick.) The bad guy scared my kids, and they even had nightmares. He has a long, ugly, & pointy nose. He and his awful daughter transform into birds that are dark and intimidating. The red light glowing evil power from his eyes is plain SICK! He shoots his sorcery red power lightning to harm others and even turn Barbie/Odette into a Swan. Because she's a swan- the prince guy almost shoots her with a bow & arrow.

This movie is tense, tormenting, and was the greatest disappointment ever! Not for kids under 6.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Star Movie, August 8, 2004
This review is from: Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)
My 3 yr old received this as a gift for her birthday, and it's been her favorite so far. We've seen it around 20 times in the past month and neither one of us are tired of it yet. It's a simply delightful movie.

Kelsey Grammar is the voice of Rothbar, the villian. He does a few scary things, like turn the heroine Odette into a swan, but for the most part, I wouldn't describe it as a scary movie at all. We now own the other Barbie movies as well (Rapunzel and Nutcracker) and this is the least scary of the three.

In the dvd version, you can select "More Fun" from the menu, and then select dancing scenes. Barbie narrates as it shows clips from the movie where there's featured ballet dancing. My 3 yr old loves to dance along, and even tries to incorporate the head movements. It's really cute, and has gotten her excited about dancing lessons.

Enjoy!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for animation lovers, too..., October 28, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Barbie of Swan Lake (DVD)
Yes, I will admit, despite being in my 20s, I still enjoy and collect animation. I have for years, and Barbie is a fairly recent discovery for me (beyond her cameos in Toy Story).
While at first I was reluctant to give any of the Barbie movies a chance, a friend of mine watched Rapunzel with her niece and insisted they were pretty good. So, renting the first two movies with a few other friends including her, we prepared ourselves for an evening of amusement. Yes, we found some things funny and still carry inside jokes based on the movies even many months after, however overall I liked them.
And Swan Lake is certainly no exception. In fact, I loved this one. The animation is very well done, and the music is just enchanting. It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling all over. It was like I was a kid again, watching my favorite film and going back to relive the feelings years later. It even made me regret I didn't stick to those ballet lessons my mother sent me to years ago, as the dance scenes were adorable and magical. Barbie was in my life once again, only this time, I wasn't playing with dolls.
The only thing that really, truly bothered me about Swan Lake was that of Rothbart's daughter. Her laughter was incredibly irritating and distracted me from any scene in which she chose to do so. Thankfully Ivan and the other enchanted forest dwellers are a delight and make up for it.
In closing, I highly recommend this to any parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or whoever looking for a great gift (holiday or otherwise) for a child. And perhaps even for an animation fan such as myself, if you aren't too afraid.
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