I watched this classic 2006 film Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia about a million times growing up, but the disk eventually got scratched and I haven’t seen it for many years. I recently purchased it again for $13 and I can proudly say that almost every single line came back to me!
It’s directed by Walter P. Martishius and William Lau. These names don’t really mean anything to me, but I don’t keep up with directors, so. It’s written by Elise Allen (my favourite!) and Diane Duane.
This review contains spoilers. I will include whether each paragraph includes spoilers in the heading.
A fairy, Elina, and a mermaid, Nori, band together to save the kidnapped prince of Mermaidia (Nalu). Nalu is being held captive because he knows the location of a magical berry, that will make the person who eats in invincible to all magic. If the prince does not show his kidnappers where the berry is, they will poison all of Mermaidia. Before Elina and Nori can save the prince, they must first work out where he is being held.
Animation & Music
I love this animation, in it’s classica Fairytopia style. Simply beautiful. The music is brilliant, too -Eric Colvin did a fantastic job. Often I wish that the more recent Barbie movies would focus less on the upbeat songs “with a cool and inspirational message” and more on the instrumental soundtracks. That’s one thing I liked about Secret Door, I prefered ‘Unicorn’ over ‘I’ve Got Magic,’ for example.
I really liked the outfits used in this film, I think they’re all really different and whoever designed them did a great job. Although, I must admit, I’m not a big fan of Elina’s new wings at the end, I understand they were necessary for the transforming toy, which in turn will make the company more money. I like the design on Elina’s mermaid tail, I think they did a fantastic job with that, too.
I love, loved the storyline. At times, however, I felt like they were doing things for no reason -why did Delphine make them ‘prove their courage’ by visiting the depths of despair, considering she knew where Nalu was the whole time? Why did the MerFairies say ‘the shell matters not, best heed what’s inside’ when the little random mermaid did not help at all? What was all that rubbish she was going on about, with the bit coral saved is a bit of coral earned? HOW DID THAT TELL ELINA ANYTHING?
Little Mermaid Thing: All’s fair in love and pufferfish.
Elina: Ohh! So you’re the Oracle, of course! Because pufferfish!*
*not really how the dialogue goes, fwi
Another thing I thought we needed more of, was definitely Nalu and Nori! Seriously, Mattel, not even a kiss? Gosh. I love the whole jealousy aspect, though, and the fact that at first, Nori was so unwilling to be friends with Elina.
If you compare the film to Barbie in a Mermaid Tale, I found this one so much more interesting. I think that was because it was more unexpected -in Mermaid Tale, we all told which objects Merliah needs to gather. So obviously the film will go intro – object 1 – object 2 – object 3 – final battle. But with Mermaidia, all of the pieces of the puzzle slowly begin to fit together. Cutting to scenes with Nalu and the Fungi also helps to break it up and show another side of the story, which I rather enjoy. If I had only seen Nalu when he was being captured and after being rescued, I think the audience wouldn’t be able to understand his character as much, and his struggle to choose between saving Fairytopia and saving Mermaidia.
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Elina. I like how she never gives up on Nalu despite Nori’s numerous attempts to get rid of her. One thing I dislike is how easily she told Dandelion she wasn’t allowed to come with her. Yes, I understand she doesn’t want her friend to get hurt, but she told Dandelion she wasn’t allowed to come to Fairy Town back in the first movie, too. It’s almost like, despite being “best friends,” Elina doesn’t really want her hanging around. I also don’t like how Nalu gave the credit of saving Fairytopia to Elina, when Nori helped out, too. Elina just happened to be in the right place at the right time! (as with all Barbie heroines, ha)
As for Nori, I simply loved her character, and wish they produced more Fairytopia movies with her in it. As mentioned before, I love the jealousy aspect, but I also like how we can see Nori and Elina’s friendship developing throughout the film -for example, when Nori saves Bibble from the geysers, how you can hear the terror in her voice when she is captured by the seaweed, and so on. I wish we knew more about Nori in the past. I get the feeling she tries to act all bold and tough and spent a lot of her childhood exploring Mermaidia, but still feels not good enough for the prince and doubts their relationship has a future.
I feel like Nori is a very ‘real’ character, especially how she gets mad at Elina for showing up at the Crystal Cove after the firebird incident in the last movie.
Nalu is one of my favourite characters as well, even though he doesn’t have all that much dialogue. He is intelligent and takes his job very seriously. He would rather spend the rest of his life, circling around the carousel of confusion, than have Mermaidia poisoned. However, one part that I didn’t like, was when Elina played matchmaker and instead of declaring his love for Nori, he confronted Nori about her love for him. Another thing -how did Elina know that Nalu was into Nori? It’s not like Nalu and Elina even talked about it.
But how can I forget Max? Max is seriously the best character ever. Left-ing! Left-aroo!
I thought the bonus features were pretty good -one game, although there were two parts to it, and some previews. The previews could be selected individually, however the trailer for Pollyworld does not include any footage from Pollyworld at all, it contains footage from the other two movies. So that’s a bit odd. I did not find the game particularly enjoyable, although I suppose I am not in the target age group! Some objects were quite difficult to find, and it wasn’t a total waste of time. I imagine, if I was younger, I would have enjoyed it quite a bit.
I cannot express how much I like these toys! I know I’ve mostly been saying mostly positive things so far, but I really do like them. The details are wonderful! Nothing like you’d get today. I also like how they included dolls that weren’t in the movie, so you could really add to the Fairytopia world with similar dolls who looked like they belonged together.
These type of photos make me want to go out and buy a whole bunch of fantasy dolls! [this photo is by Flickr user miau25]
I used to own the purple one, who’s name I forget. She definitely has a name, though. Merlisa? Merisa?
After rewatching this movie, I realise that I should have bought it again a long time ago! It’s really an entertaining film and I highly recommend it.
One really annoying thing, though -my version of the DVD has Sunburst on the cover! WHY IS SHE THERE? WHYYYY?????