You know when you have to write a story for English, and you know it’s full of plot holes and doesn’t quite make sense, but you submit it anyway? And your teacher says “this is very well-written and entertaining, but it makes absolutely zero sense.”
That is kinda how Barbie: Star Light Adventure is.
If you’re a fan of Barbie movies, this review is for you! If you’re a concerned parent, you might find it more helpful to go to the end of this post.
The film was released in 2016 and stars Erica Lindbeck as the voice of Barbie. I know what you’re thinking -Barbie? Since when did Barbie live in an outerspace Zaha Hadid-type world? Why was she flirting with Leo, if she was dating Ken at the time? Since when is Barbie’s mother dead? (This is especially confusing because she is mentioned to be alive and well in vlogs and other movies?)
Basically, I think what Mattel Entertainment is trying to do here is create a set of movies starring “Barbie.” “Look how Barbie does all these things! Barbie is a gymnast! Now she saves the galaxy! Look at all the things Barbie can be!” Not Barbie “playing somebody else,” like in Barbie in the Pink Shoes, or telling a story, like in Barbie in the Diamond Castle,
If you ask me (and I know nobody did), but I personally think this idea is trash. Okay, before you go all crazy on me here -I think the concept, at first, is okay. For example, in Barbie: A Fairy Secret, the idea worked, because of the ‘magical dust’ at the end that made Barbie forget about the adventure. Similarly, in Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, it also worked because it followed the linear pattern of the other films. She had the same friends, she lived in the same city, she has the same job. It made sense.
But frankly, Star Light Adventure does not fit in with Barbie’s life. It doesn’t make sense. In one film, she lives in LA with her alive parents. In the next, she lives in outer space. And in the next film, she’s back to LA! That’s why I think Star Light Adventure should have had a proper character name, not just “Barbie.”
Firstly, I’d like to mention that I LOVED this film. For me, it’s really difficult to watch films nowadays (not just Barbie films -any film) because they’re really long and I generally can’t sit still for that long. I feel as though it’s a waste of time, like I’m not achieving anything. So I usually just sit there for 15 minutes before thinking “gee, I really should start my issues analysis now” and then turn it off.
But this film? I loved it. I was perfectly okay to sit there and relax. That’s how good it was. I felt as though I was really part of the uber-cool galaxy that Barbie lives in.
The best, best thing about this film is how beautiful it was. I know, I know, I mentioned the same thing in my Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus review just recently, but the animation really was breathtaking in this film. My only complaint? I didn’t love Barbie’s eyes, they seemed a bit big. And in comparison to earlier films, I thought it was also quite expressionless.
I also love how it was set in space because it’s just SO DIFFERENT to any Barbie film we’ve had before. It was such a crazy idea, but it worked. There aren’t many kids films about outer space, much less good ones, but for me, this one was a winner.
Another aspect I loved was how this film was not cringy at all. You know how sometimes you watch a Barbie film in the living room and you suddenly feel embarrassed because they start singing “At The Ball” or the puppies start talking? This film does not have a single cringe-worthy moment. #YasssFinally
But let’s talk about the plot now.
The plot was a bit flawed. It was still entertaining, don’t get me wrong! But I didn’t quite understand why on Earth the King thought that using a high-voltage machine would “shock” the stars back into place. I also don’t understand why the stars were disappearing in the first place, or why Barbie’s dancing with the stars brought them back. It just seems a bit whack, but maybe that’s just my boring adult perspective.
Another thing -I think they must have deleted some scenes, because Sal-Lee mentions that Barbie’s pink streak is “back.” This is terribly confusing because a.) Children don’t notice details like a hair streak disappearing, unless it is specifically pointed out (such as in Barbie in a Mermaid Tale) and b.) How did that move the plot along? Why was that important? Why did it disappear in the first place?
Speaking of deleted scenes, it’s very odd how Barbie just casually mentions she’s been crowned a princess at the end of the film. Why wasn’t there a short ceremony? (seriously -even a few seconds would have been fine)
**I tried to write a paragraph about why Barbie’s space outfit transformed into her ball gown, then transformed back into the space outfit, but frankly, I simply can’t explain something like that. Perhaps the ball gown was originally going to be her “magical transformation” outfit? Perhaps they just messed up the animation?**
Let’s talk about Barbie’s magical powers.
Okay. I get it that the powers were necessary to save the galaxy, but I think further explanation was needed. Firstly, I don’t mind that Barbie has powers! I think powers are cool! But why did she have them? Was it a genetic mutation that occurred after humans moved to crazy planets? Did she inherit it from her mother? (I’m guessing she did) Why did Sal-Lee and the aliens (I forgot their names), not seem surprised that Barbie has powers? Is this common in this Utopian futuristic outer space world?
In my other reviews, I have mentioned I don’t like it when Mattel does this weird thing where they make two characters almost exactly the same and give them similar-sounding names. This happened with Carina and whatever-the-other-ones-name-is. They’re both alien twins who can communicate telepathically and control gravity, which is pretty neat. However, their personalities are so similar they might as well be copies of each other. How am I supposed to tell the difference between them?
Case in point: Mariposa’s friends (I forgot their names), Carrie and Taylor from Fairy Secret, Xylie and whatever her name was, from Mermaid Tale, Alexa’s human friends from Secret Door, the assistants in Princess Power, the two girls from Christmas Carol, Erika’s princess friends in Rock n’ Royals…
Sal-Lee, on the other hand, is a brilliant character. She’s got a great backstory and I particularly liked it when she explained to Barbie why she wanted to save the stars, and how nervous she was before the hover boarding championships. It definitely shows that just because someone appears confident on the outside, you never know what they’re actually dealing with until you get to know them.
And Leo! Prince Leo is fantastic. He’s funny, he’s witty, he’s such a likeable guy. I also like how he’s always eating!
Oh, I mustn’t forget the king. I love it how Barbie has a strained relationship with him, and at first he appears to be ‘the villain’ with a secret plan to destroy the galaxy, but he actually wants it to be saved just as much as anybody else. I think it’s cool how this film doesn’t have a villain and it’s more “a bad thing is happening to the universe.”
The motto of the film is –this is our story, what’s yours? If you ask me, that’s a bit lazy, considering they’ve used it for at least three other films. Come on, think of something new!
Overall, this is one of my favourite films. When I selected it from my shelf, I was concerned I would get bored, but no! Every second was engaging. The music was lovely, the characters were interesting to watch and overall it was worth every dollar.
For the Concerned Parents…
This movie is totally fine for older children, although children under 6 may be frightened by some scenes. There is a scene where Barbie and Leo are forced into a physical fight as a training exercise, and many fast action scenes where the characters are in danger. However, at the end of the day, it is no more frightening than other children’s films.
Barbie does have a love interest in this film -Prince Leo- but nothing ever comes of their relationship and it is nothing to be concerned about.
Overall, the colourful characters and engaging plot would make this film an ideal choice for young girls and boys alike. The film helps children understand about making ethical decisions, teaches them about friendship and highlights the importance of helping others.