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Barbie in The Pink Shoes(2013)
Dance your way to a magical adventure with Barbie as Kristyn, a ballerina with big dreams! When she tries on a pair of sparkling pink shoes, she and her best friend, Hailey, are whisked away to a fantastical ballet world. There, Kristyn discovers she must dance in her favorite ballets in order to defeat an evil Snow Queen. With performances to the legendary Giselle and Swan Lake ballets, it's a wonderful journey where if you dance with your heart, dreams come true!
For more about Barbie in The Pink Shoes and the Barbie in The Pink Shoes Blu-ray release, see Barbie in The Pink Shoes Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 27, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kelly Sheridan, Katie Crown, Ali Liebert, Brett Dier, Tabitha St. Germain, Bill Mondy
Director: Owen Hurley
» See full cast & crew
Barbie in The Pink Shoes Blu-ray Review
"Dance from your heart!"
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 27, 2013
Rather than suffer in isolation, I decided to make the most of my day with Barbie in The Pink Shoes by enlisting the help of my eight-year old son. It wasn't easy, but after a series of tense negotiations, enough concessions had been made -- a trip to Toys"R"Us, an Iron Man 3 Assemblers figure (Mark 42), a Chick-fil-A cookie sundae, thirty minutes of Minecraft and the promise of penning a portion of the review himself -- to convince him to keep me company through a movie he would later describe as "worse than throwing up grandma's taco salad." (He's had some experience there.) Granted, a grown man and his easily nauseated son aren't Barbie's target audience. Far from it, so feel free to take the following movie review with a grain of salt. For what it's worth, I'm sure a small army of little girls will love Love LOVE The Pink Shoes, no matter how clunky its animation, derivative its story or irritating its characters and voice work. Two out of two people sitting at this computer agree, though: that doesn't mean their parents should buy it for them. Quoth my son, "if they really loved their kids, they'd buy The Avengers!"
We begin our descent into fluffy, frilly despair by reading the movie's back cover aloud. Dance your way to a magical adventure with Barbie as Kristyn, a ballerina with big dreams! He's already squirming. When she tries on a pair of sparkling pink shoes, she and her best friend, Hailey, are whisked away to a fantastical ballet world. Cue pleading, begging and pitiful whining. "Sorry, bud. A deal's a deal." I continue reading. There, Kristyn discovers she must dance in her favorite ballets in order to defeat an evil Snow Queen. With performances to the legendary "Giselle" and "Swan Lake" ballets, it's a wonderful journey where if you dance with your heart, dreams come true! And... coughing, choking and a melodramatic fall to the floor where he gives a valiant performance of a boy gasping for his last breath. "No time to play dead, kiddo. We've got work to do." Sixteen minutes, a fake bathroom break and a cup full of Utz sour cream and onion chips later, I finally coax him back into his seat. He even offers to relinquish the Iron Man 3 figure and give up videogames for a week. I laugh at his desperation and select "Play Movie."
Seventy minutes pass. I don't think I've ever heard my son complain this much. I don't think I've ever complained this much actually. The Pink Shoes has everything little girls from three to eight could ask for -- tiny ballerinas, evil queens, magic, dancing, glittery dresses, dainty shoes, generic music, and plenty of soft pinks and pretty purples -- but it's as direct-to-video mediocre as direct-to-video mediocrity gets. The animation is wooden and weak. The script is sorely lacking. The dance sequences are a bore. The jokes and pop culture references are terribly dated. (A Wayne's World doodlee-doo, doodlee-doo. Really?) And it's much, much too long. A half-hour would have sufficed, although my son insists I delete "half-hour" and replace it with "twenty seconds." (I take a moment to explain the dangers of hyperbole. He assures me he isn't being hyperbolic.) The Tinker Bell movies are infinitely better and more fully realized, with more endearing characters and far more exciting tales. Barbie suffers by comparison; to Tinker Bell, sure, but also to the vast majority of animated releases on the Blu-ray market, direct-to-video or otherwise.
But I promised my son the floor, so here's his mini-review (as dictated, I didn't force him to type it all): "Barbie in The Pink Shoes is really, really, really, reeeeeally bad. Lizzie thinks Barbie is better than Iron Man, but she's wrong. I tried to tell her and she won't listen! I asked her if she's ever even seen a superhero movie. Which she hasn't! She called superheroes dumb and said she doesn't understand boys. I told her we are not hard to understand. If it blows up or has a helmet or hulks out it's awesome. Oh and if it has a hobbit... or a lightsaber... or, what's Wolverine's metal called? [Adamantium.] Yeah! Adamantium... or a healing factor, those things are okay too. If it dances or tries really hard to be pretty, it isn't cool. Grace is pretty and she doesn't like Barbies. She has a brother, though. She knows all about The Avengers and thinks Barbie is gross. So Grace isn't weird. Well, a little weird, but not with dolls and stuff. All the other girls in my class are weird. Girls are super weird. That's why they'll like The Pink Shoes. Boys will freak out, so if you're a boy, don't go anywhere near this movie, no matter what your dad gives you. The new Iron Man figures don't even bend at the knees or elbows. What a ripoff! [After prodding him to focus, and suggesting he wrap up, he gets up and starts to walk out of the room.] Just make sure everyone reading this doesn't buy that movie! If I were a dad, I wouldn't make my kids watch it. It'll only make girls weirder, and no one needs more weird girls. [He wanders out of earshot, mid-rant.]"
Barbie in The Pink Shoes Blu-ray, Video Quality
Subjectivity aside, Barbie in The Pink Shoes has a few real problems, the first of which is its 1080p/VC-1 video presentation. Banding is rampant, artifacting isn't entirely uncommon, faint aliasing is a frequent offender and other minor issues creep in from time to time. It doesn't help that the animation and its source have their own share of inherent eyesores, the least of which is a somewhat distracting haze that occasionally gives the Blu-ray image a dully contrasted, DVD-like appearance. Fortunately, all is not lost. The Blu-ray outshines its DVD counterpart for the most part thanks to more vibrant colors, more satisfying black levels, more exacting edge definition, more refined detail (what little there is), and a general pop that makes it the version to own.
Barbie in The Pink Shoes Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't much better, although it's safe to say all of its shortcomings trace back to the movie's decidedly direct-to-video sound design. Dialogue is reasonably clean and clear, effects are relatively bright and crisp, and the music, particularly the ballets, is nice and full. Not enough, mind you -- the score and orchestrations aren't immersive or enveloping by any means -- but decent, especially considering how much of the music is relegated to the front channels. The remaining experience is largely front-heavy as well, and LFE output and rear speaker activity leave a lot to be desired. All in all, Universal's lossless track is more than serviceable and I doubt it could sound much better without starting from scratch.
Barbie in The Pink Shoes Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Barbie in The Pink Shoes Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Barbie in The Pink Shoes is licensed direct-to-video animation on the cheap, and it shows. There are far better movies on the market too, direct-to-video or otherwise, making this the sort of thing some parents only buy because they haven't quite learned to say "sorry, this isn't good for you, kiddo." Universal's Blu-ray release isn't much better, with a so-so video presentation, a serviceable DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and a small smattering of supplements, although I doubt the studio could have done much of anything to improve matters. If you can't resist your excitable little girl's excited little pleas, stick with a rental. If you can muster a "no," pick up something else instead.
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