Ranking Childhood Barbie Movies

Ranking Childhood Barbie Movies

Lila Kinnick, Reporter

Barbie movies have always been a magical part of my childhood. The unfinished-looking animation, questionable voice acting, and annoying side characters only put in the movie to sell toys all made my younger years incredible. I wanted to revisit these movies years later to see if they still hold up like I remember and rank every single movie made by Barbie from 2001-2010. To make this ranking as unbiased as possible, I rewatched all 17 movies in 4 days and even though my head may explode from all of the pink glitter and messages about friendship, every movie has been ranked to the best of my ability.


  1. Barbie Presents Thumbelina: I remember liking this movie when I was younger but on rewatch, it is quite possibly the most boring movie I have ever had the displeasure of watching, and is the only bad movie on this list. The movie follows a species of fairy-like creature called the Twillerbees whose valley is at risk of being turned into a factory by a rich couple. The title character of Thumbelina befriends the spoiled daughter of this wealthy business owner and together they try to stop the destruction of the garden. The movie presented a cute environmental message and also the importance of friendship, but none of the themes were executed well with the daughter acting incredibly spoiled throughout the movie until the very end. This made their relationship appear very one note and only put in there for convenience. The soundtrack was also lacking, none of the side characters were enjoyable and the magical touch that is present in so many of these movies was non-existent, with the environment and setting in the movie looking like a cheap computer backdrop instead of a magical garden and vibrant city the movie was attempting to create. There were some funny moments and cute scenes that appeared irregularly throughout the film, but not enough to save the movie from the curse of bad writing and lackluster story.


  1. Barbie in a Mermaid Tale: I was hoping to enjoy this much much more than I did on rewatch. This movie is something I remember trying to recreate at local pools in my free time and made me wish I could surf, but unfortunately, this movie is not nearly as magical as I remember, but it does have some redeeming qualities that prevent it from being at Thumbelina levels of bad. Barbie in a Mermaid Tale stars Barbie as a surfer girl named Merliah, who discovers she is a mermaid princess and she needs to visit a mysterious ocean world and save it for her evil aunt. The movie involves incredibly entertaining surfing scenes, and Merliah was a very interesting and realistic protagonist as she didn’t want to help the mermaid world at first, but then grew to appreciate it as the movie went on. It was cool to see her growth and it was more interesting than the normal static protagonists that are normally the stars of these movies. The ocean world was also fun to watch and it involved fun takes on how mermaids would be like in a modern world but under the sea. It had tail shops, a Seaphora (get it, SEAphora), and other fun puns in the underwater city. Of course, this movie is not short of flaws, however, as the movie was very boring, not much happened and the villain was very bland and had no humor which is what most of these Barbie movies have. I also did not enjoy the side characters. They came across as annoying and only put in the movie to sell toys. Overall, this movie was not bad, but not as good as I remember it being. 


  1. Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow: This movie is the third and final installment in the Fairytopia trilogy. Unfortunately, this movie is not as good as the other movies taking place in the world of Fairytopia, but it is still an enjoyable movie. The Fairy Eliana, and her friend the forever iconic puffball Bibble are selected to learn the dance of spring with other top fairies to welcome a new season to the land. I love how this movie introduces different types of fairies instead of the one type that was in the other movies. It was so fun to see Eliana’s other classmates’ designs, personalities and powers and I wish we got to see more of them. The movie only really showed us a glimpse of these fun characters and new concepts but never focused on them for more than a quick throwaway line or scene. This movie also involved the same villain that has been in the last two Fairytopia movies and at this point, it was boring to see her again. The villain Laverna worked in the last two, but at this point, she seemed irrelevant, and her inclusion dismissed Elaine’s last two accomplishments. The movie also was kinda boring as not much happened until the climax and even then it was not as exciting as other ones we have seen in the past. Even though this is the worst out of the three Fairytopia movies, it was still enjoyable because of the magical fairy setting, fun side characters (especially Bible), and cool fairy designs, but the other Fairytopia movies succeeded in these things as well and handled the concepts much better than this one.


  1. Barbies Rapunzel: Unfortunately, nostalgia does carry this movie, but it is still incredibly whimsical and enjoyable. All of the older Barbie movies have a special charm to them. I don’t know if it’s the uncanny animation or the appealing color palette. Even though it is the worst of the very early Barbie movies, it is still very good and charming. In this film, Rapunzel has been kidnapped and lives in a tower, but finds a magical paintbrush to see the real world around her and eventually falls in love and (spoiler alert) defeats the evil mother Gothel. One thing about this movie I will say is that it does not involve the traditional Rapunzel story very well, and it only seemed to have the Rapunzel name in it to sell more copies of the movie. Rapunzel didn’t even have her iconic long hair, but this can just be put off as nitpicking. The villain is only not very enjoyable as she is just boring and not evil in a fun devious way. She does have a pet weasel that is unironically the funniest thing I have ever seen due to its out-of-pocket moaning and uncontrollable levels of horniness for an animal in a Barbie movie. The relationship is also very one noted as the lovers only meet once before they decide to get married and never really show their love, just declare it to each other. Despite these flaws, the movie is super appealing to look at, the side characters and Rapulzels companions are super cute, especially her spunky dragon friend Penelope. The magical paintbrush painting an entrance to the village is such a cool concept as well and seeing it in action and also creating new dresses is so nostalgic. Overall, this movie does have some flaws but they do not hold it back too much.


  1. Barbie Fashion Fairytale: With this one, I was pleasantly surprised. This movie introduces an incredibly fun concept of Barbie being an actress in this universe for the other Barbie movies in the Barbie collection. In the beginning, she is filming for a new princess movie but then gets fired and simultaneously dumped by her boyfriend due to miscommunication on the same day. She goes to Paris to help put on a Fashion show for her Nana to save her store. Throughout the movie, she mentioned other Barbie movies she “acted” in such as the Three Musketeers and it was cool to see the Barbie Cinematic Universe in action (or the BCU). Besides that entertaining concept, the movie was a fun watch, with the side characters being fun and the Paris setting being a delight to see on screen. The animation was also quite good for a Barbie movie and the movie had genuinely funny moments such as the bit with Ken traveling the world to see Barbie and apologize in Paris. The movie does get boring at certain parts, there are a lot of plot holes and the villain is lacking in personality. Despite this, Fashion Fairytale is definitely worth a watch.


  1. Barbie Fairytopia: This movie is the first in the Fairytopia universe, and it introduces the audience to the land of Fairytopia and all of the characters and fun world details. It follows Eliana who is a wingless Fairy who goes on an adventure to save her people when the villain Laverna spreads a disease that prevents all of the Fairies from flying and Eliana is the only one to save them because she is not affected because of a lack of wings. It was cool to see Eliana grow, and I thought the fact she had no wings and could prove to everyone she could do it was fun to see. This movie also introduces Bibble who is the most iconic Barbie character ever. He is funny without being annoying and adds a certain charm to the movie that a lot of the other movies are lacking. Fairytopia is also a wonderful setting, and I loved how it introduced different worlds and environments all within the land of Fairytopia. The villain in the movie was unfortunately very boring and the soundtrack was almost nonexistent. I also wish the movie could focus on other fairies besides just Eliana. She is a fun character but there are so many others I wish we could see more of.


  1. Barbie of Swan Lake: Out of all of the original five Barbie movies, this one is by far the most aesthetically pleasing and beautiful. Of course, all of the earlier Barbie movies have very low-quality animation, but somehow this movie makes the animation work, and the background, character designs, and movement add to the nostalgia and whimsy of the movie instead of taking me out of the movie as other films do. The soundtrack was also incredible in this movie. It uses music from the original Swan Lake Ballet, and it was so fun seeing Barbie dance in a magical forest with these angelic songs. Swan lake follows Barbie as Odette who is turned into a swan and lives in a magical forest with other unfortunate people who have been turned into creatures. Together, Barbie works to find a wand that can defeat the villain and save the forest. As I mentioned before, the forest is such a lovely setting, and the movie luckily has enjoyable side characters that enhance the movie instead of making me want to rip my ears out. I love the quest aspect and the plot is very appealing and entertaining. The only things that hold this movie back however are the uninteresting villain and the unlikable love interest. I am normally not super picky about the relationships in these movies, but Barbie and the prince fall in love instantly and are prepared to die together the second they meet. It is very hollow and I could not get invested. Other movies on this list treat their relationships way better than just a simple love at first sight. One thing I will say however is the villain’s daughter was actually really funny, and it handled the spoiled daughter trope very well. The scene where she pretends to be Oddete at the ball is a top ten Barbie movie moment for me.


  1. Barbie in the Three Musketeers: there is only one word that can correctly define this movie; GIRLBOSS. This movie stars Barbie as Corinne, a girl who travels to Paris to become a musketeer with three other girls who share the same dream. Together they must train to become musketeers and save the prince and kingdom. It was so cool to see the girls train and fight and become more powerful while also embracing their femininity. The girls all have ball gowns that transform into kick-butt musketeer outfits with weapons that are incorporated into their ball gown outfits such as a necklace, slingshot, and knife fans. The 1700s Paris setting is cool too and this movie was the most action-packed movie by far. The animation was surprisingly good for an earlier Barbie movie and helped the action scenes appear way less static. Other than the bland villain and unlikeable love interest, this movie was very good and I understand why I wanted to be a musketeer when I was younger.


  1. Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses: This movie is iconic. The soundtrack makes me ascend and on rewatch I was about to die of nostalgia. In this Barbie film, Barbie is just one of 12 sisters whose evil aunt attempts to poison their father and take control of the kingdom, she bans dancing and any fun the girls like to have. Luckily they find a magical set of stepping stones that lead to a world where they can dance without a care in the world. I adored the different princesses and I loved seeing their unique personalities and interests. The love interest was also actually likable and had his personality and their relationship was a league above other ones on this list. Other great things included when the sassy villain, who was perfectly voice-acted and was so unique from other villains as she was very pretty and was trusted by everyone. The Barbie movies do have a nasty habit of dehumanizing and vilifying objectively ugly characters so this villain was a much-needed change of pace. There were some boring scenes in this and there was not much action or plot until the very end but this movie carries so many nostalgic moments and fun characters that I couldn’t bear to rate it any lower. 


  1. Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia: When you think of the best movie sequels, a few come to mind. Possibly The Empire Strikes Back, Terminator 2, and Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia. The world-building in this movie is surprisingly amazing. This movie shows the lands and concepts introduced in the first movie and expands on them. Not only does it feature characters from the first and make them leagues better but the returning villain is quite entertaining and I love the relationship she has with her henchman. Eliana from the first film has to return to the world of mermaids in Fairytopia and rescue Prince Nalu from the clutches of the villain with the help of a new friend Nori who starts very mean but slowly befriends Elina and their growth is wonderful to see. Bibble is also at his absolute best in this movie with some hilarious jokes that make me laugh unironically. Overall this movie is a well-deserved sequel and made me glad to return to the world of Fairytopia. The only downside I can think of is we didn’t get as much of the villain as I hoped and the pacing was a bit slow at times.


  1. Barbie in the Nutcracker: This is Mattel’s very first Barbie movie, yet is better than a majority of the movies. The only downside is the animation is very rough, especially the backgrounds, and some of the side characters are unnecessarily mean and annoying. I also wish the candy world was explored more as we only got a glimpse of what it could have been. Despite these flaws, the movie holds up incredibly well and solidifies itself as a Christmas classic. This movie retells the story of the nutcracker and adds fun details and inclusiveness that make this my favorite nutcracker-related movie ever. The soundtrack, similarly to Swan Lake features music from the ballet and features delightful dancing scenes that go along with it. The mouse king voiced by Tim Curry is a fun villain and the voice acting is very entertaining. One of the biggest pluses of this movie is the relationship between Clara and the Nutcracker. I adore how they spend the entire movie together on the adventure and getting to know each other instead of just meeting at the end. The nutcracker had a lot of fun personality and spunk to him and he went through a character arc of learning to be more responsible which I appreciate. This movie is an iconic one and had the Barbie movie sweep start with a bang.


  1. Barbie Mariposa and Her Butterfly Fairy Friends: I was so surprised with this one. This movie is one I don’t remember seeing when I was younger so I had no nostalgia bias toward it, so when I watched it and loved it, I was so impressed. This movie features Eliana from the Fairytopia movies telling Bibble about Mariposa and the story of how she saved her world from evil fairy-eating monsters. Mariposa is by far the best Barbie movie protagonist. She is not Barbie, but a different doll, and I appreciated the focus on someone different. Mariposa is funny and relatable and seems like a real person you would meet instead of a perfect and overly nice protagonist you normally see in the movies. The side characters were funny, the setting was incredible and the butterfly designs the wings had were beautiful to look at. The world felt so much more alive and magical than any other setting I have seen in a Barbie movie. On top of the amazing characters and setting, the monsters were scary, especially if you were a little kid watching. They were said to eat the fairies alive which I thought would be gruesome and haunting but it also made the movie have much more stakes and had me much more invested in wanting to see Mariposa succeed. Unfortunately, the only flaw the movie had was a surprise extra villain included in the movie who was not menacing, funny, or enjoyable and ruined some of the best scenes.


  1. Barbie as the Island Princess: These next 5 movies are all my most nostalgic and favorite ones as a child and luckily each one was just as good as I remember. With Barbie and the Island Princess, there is only one bad thing I can say about the movie and that is that there is one certain character named Tika the Elephant. This elephant is probably the most annoying Barbie side character in any movie. She acts sweet but is very selfish and I could rant about the audacity of this character for 5 hours. Despite this foul creature Barbie as the Island Princess is amazing. Not only is this movie a musical featuring songs that slap, but the aesthetic of the movie is so unique and different compared to other movies. The movie has a primarily blue-green and tropical color palette and the colors are very toned down and pleasing to look at. That was a savior to my eye, after watching 12 hours of pink and purple movement on my screen. Barbie plays Ro who is a super spunky and adventurous protagonist and her love interest is equally as fun. The Jungle and Kingdom that the movie takes place in are cool settings and the bedsides of Tika, the other side characters, and Ro’s other animal friends are super enjoyable. One side character I adored is Lucina, who is the villain’s daughter and is very kind and gracious I loved watching her arc dealing with her evil mother. This movie is my favorite aesthetically and if it weren’t for the horrendous elephant it would be first on the list.


  1. Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus: This movie is probably the most unique of the original Barbie movies and the plot is so entertaining. Barbie stars as Annika who is an adventurous princess that loves ice skating. When her entire kingdom gets turned into stone, it’s up to her and her sister who has been turned into a pegasus to travel the land in search of a magic wand that has the power to defeat the villain and save the kingdom. The movie has so many enjoyable things about it. The action and plot are very entertaining and it reminds me of a classic adventure film as the protagonist and her companions navigate different traps, villains, and strange places to find the magic artifact. I adore the sisterly relationship between Annika and her sister. The girls are very different but equally as enjoyable. The other relationship in this movie is also done very well. The main love interest is named Aiden who accompanies Annika throughout the whole movie which I appreciate and he has his character arc of trying to prove himself to his family after a big mistake. Annika and Aiden banter throughout the movie as well and you can see them fall in love. It’s much more realistic than liking each other at first glance and it is a much more layered pairing than featured before. The only flaw is that the villain is not as enjoyable as the movie thinks. He is funny at some moments but comes across as more rude and sexist than funny. They attempted to recreate the villain that was present in the Princess and the Pauper but instead it resulted in a character who is much more annoying and rude than sassy and devious. Despite that one complaint this is the most entertaining of any barbie movie and had an incredible plot.


  1. Barbie in a Christmas Carol: This movie is a Christmas classic for the ages. This movie is a magical and amusing retelling of the classic tale. The setting of early London city is glorious to watch on screen. Similarly to Island princess, the color palette of this movie is different from the normal pink and purple headache ambiance and instead is filled with greens, red, and gold which make me instantly in the Christmas spirit. The snowy London setting is so beautiful and gives off amazing Christmas vibes. I love the clothing as well, it is so unique from everything else in the Barbie collection. Not only are the vibes immaculate, but the plot is endearing as well. Barbie plays a version of Scrooge and it is so refreshing to see a nonstatic Barbie protagonist. She goes through her character arc of discovering the importance of kindness and the world with the three Christmas ghosts to rebuild her broken relationships. On top of the astounding plot, the music is so magical and puts me instantly in a Christmas mood. The only real downside can think of is that Barbie’s pet is very annoying and doesn’t do much. Overall this is a top-tier Barbie movie and is not only an incredible Barbie movie but a cheerful and amazing Christmas movie.


  1. Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper: This movie is objectively the best Barbie Movie on the list. This iconic movie checks every single one of the requirements to be an incredible Barbie movie. The side characters are super enjoyable, the story is unique and entertaining. Both of the love interests are developed and realistic. And best of all this movie is a musical and the songs go so hard. You’re Just Like Me, is a certified slapper. On top of all of this, the villain Preminger is the most iconic and exciting villain to exist in any Barbie movie. He is the original sassy villain, every other villain after that movie has been an attempted copy of this devious fellow, and none have even come close to replicating the wonder of Preminger. The Plot of this movie is endearing as well and at the heart is the relationship between princess Annalise and the poor girl Erika. The girls discover they look alike and when Annalise is kidnapped by Preminger, Erika has to pretend to be Annalise to keep the kingdom in order. Both of the girls are well written and the plot had me generally entertained and invested. There were even jokes in this movie that made me audibly laugh out loud. Overall this movie is perfect, but there is one movie that I enjoy a little bit better.


  1. Barbie and the Diamond Castle: I love this movie so much. The amount of nostalgia I have for this movie is overwhelming and every detail about it made me so happy. Not only is this a good Barbie movie but it is a great movie. The plot follows Liana and Alexa who live in an aesthetic cottage together and find a mirror with a girl named Melody trapped instead. Melody explains how it is up to the girls to travel the land and defeat the evil Lidea who has trapped Melody in the Mirror and turned her castle and other friends into stone. The movie is so magical and looks so appealing. Melody and her castle are based on muses from Greek mythology and I think that is so unique and is such a cool concept that is done very well in the movie. The relationship between the two main girls is no doubt the best friendship in any Barbie movie. You really see how much they care about each other, but also how they fight and it is overall a very realistically portrayed friendship. The villain is also very menacing and is the most terrifying villain on the Barbie movie roster. I remember being so scared of her when I was younger and still get the shivers now. One more thing that makes this movie a top-tier one, is the fact that it is a musical. This movie has the best Barbie soundtrack and I can still recite a majority of the song Connected. Similar to the Princess and the Pauper, the movie checks every single one of the requirements for an amazing movie, except with an even more engaging and action-filled plot and a whimsical feeling that makes me want to jump on the screen. I may or may not be a little blinded by nostalgia with this one, but after rewatching every single movie, this is the only one I wouldn’t mind watching again.