In 2015, Mattel released Barbie and the Secret Door, which is not one of my favourites. However, I bought it anyway and haven’t watched it too many times since. I recently took a day off school because school is stressful and I didn’t want to go,* so I took the opportunity to watch it again.
*I know that makes me sound super lazy, but that’s not the case at all. I do my assignments several weeks early, always get good grades and generally try really hard at school.
Basically, there is this princess named Alexa who is a pretty great dancer and singer but doesn’t like doing things in front of other people, like talking or dancing at balls or making speeches -all those nasty things princesses are required to do. Instead, she’d much rather read and hide in her room. One day, Alexa’s grandmother gives her a book that unlocks a secret door in the garden. In order to avoid her dancing lesson, Alexa goes through it, Narnia-style. She befriends Nori and Romi, a fairy and a mermaid that have had their tail and wings taken away from them by the evil princess, Malucia, who is basically Angelica from The Rugrats.
Malucia’s goal is to take away everyone’s magic in the kingdom, so she can be the most powerful
person creature in the land. The land itself reminds me a bit of that candy land from the game Sugar Rush in Wreck it Ralph, expect, like, worse. I mean, we know Mattel is so good at creating stunning fairytale backdrops, so why did it do so badly this time? It’s basically Kelly Dream Club all over again! However, the real-world was done nicely and the characters themselves were really cute -although lacking a bit in personality.
Alexa’s friends in the human world were basically cardboard. See, I don’t even remember their names! Perhaps one is called Jenna? They are both very confident and love to dance, and seem to be better friends with each other than Alexa. They are actually her ladies-in-waiting, so no wonder Alexa doesn’t feel that close to them.
Romi and Nori had a bit more personality -Nori was a whole lot of comic relief, although there was a point where Romi said ‘you’re right!’ and Nori said ‘I am?’ as if she was used to always being ‘the dumb one.’ Romi was more tough and I noticed she shyed away from Alexa’s hug.
Despite the movie’s insistence that Alexa was ‘shy,’ she found it very easy to open up once in the magic world and was shouting all over the place. Once she returned to the castle, she had absolutely no problems dancing in front of a huge crowd and talking to strangers. But hey -maybe having magic and saving an entire land of adults from a seven-year-old does wonders to your confidence? Who knows.
I did enjoy the plot, although I felt the movie was a bit ‘short’ overall. I feel like Alexa should have had a moment where she was like ‘why am I here, I can’t do this.’ I know she walked up to the door to leave and then changed her mind, but I would have prefered an entire scene. And I would have liked Alexa to talk to her friends from the human world more -maybe have an honest conversation about how she was feeling?
Another thing I disliked was the clothes, they seemed so …bright and sparkly and …eghh. Oh, and don’t get me started on the toys. All those colours! They seemed so fake and cheaply made. I wasn’t a fan of the songs, either. Like, they were okay, but I wouldn’t listen to them outside of watching the movie. The dancing was nice.
Overall, I was disappointed with this film and felt it was just ‘pumped out’ to satisfy the quota of three movies a year or whatever it is.