Battle of the Barbies: A ranking of the Barbie Cinematic Universe

Like the rest of the world, I found myself with a lot of free time during the 2020 lockdown. With no schoolwork to complete and a lack of motivation to do anything else, I found solace in the plastic arms of my childhood friend: Barbie. 

I’ve always loved Barbie movies, but I’ve been particularly drawn to them in the past couple of years. Since COVID-19 first appeared, I have watched around 25 Barbie movies. Below is my ranking of ten of the classics.

10. “Barbie in a Mermaid Tale”

This movie had to be ranked worst. I disliked it as a kid. I continue to dislike it as an adult. The film should be titled “Barbie in Her Most Forgettable Movie Yet.”

This plot is similar to every cliche Barbie movie out there, with way too much backstory and not enough action. Also, one of the characters uses Google and FaceTime while underwater, which immediately shoots it to the bottom of the ranking. 

The mermaid pun in the title is the movie’s one saving grace. Also, the inclusion of the sea lion was an excellent touch. 

Honestly, it’s not worth the effort it takes to watch it. 

9. “Barbie: Fairytopia”

This movie is the first and best of the “Fairytopia” series. The main character is brave and confident and teaches the audience all kinds of important life lessons. 

While the magic of this film was beautiful, it was a bit overwhelming and made the plot difficult to follow. Watching this movie as an adult made it lose all of the effects it had as a kid, and honestly, I couldn’t even enjoy the film because I kept getting annoyed at Bibble.  

Overall, the world of Fairytopia is colorful, fun, and wonderfully weird, but I believe it didn’t need to be expanded. The two sequels and one spinoff take away from the beauty of the original film.

8. “Barbie and the Magic of the Pegasus”

The saving grace of this movie is that the main character is an ice skater. The skating scenes are by far the best part of the movie and make it bearable to watch. The villain is predictable, the plot is flat, and the costumes are average at best.

One thing that brought the rating up was the pegasus itself and all of the sidekick animals. They actually helped to move the plot along, and they were very entertaining to watch. 

While this movie should probably be ranked lower on the list, the mindless entertainment is enjoyable and necessary at times.

7. “Barbie and the Three Musketeers”

I absolutely adore this movie. The plot follows a classic hero’s journey and uses impressive storytelling techniques for a Barbie film. All the musketeers are well fleshed out and harbor their own unique personalities and attributes that allow the audience to fall in love with each individual character.

The slow-motion fight scenes and training montages rival Marvel or DC in their greatness, and all the Barbies are given swords as accessories. I also love that this movie reversed the damsel in distress trope — Barbie and her friends get to save the men for once. 

The fatal flaw of this movie is that it is incredibly predictable and forgettable. Once you watch it, you forget the entire plot. 

This is one of the most empowering Barbie movies out there, and I think everyone should watch it once, although no more than that. 

6. “Barbie of Swan Lake”

The animation in this film is frankly atrocious and makes the movie a little difficult to sit through. That being said, this is a solid Barbie movie. The music is, of course, mesmerizing, and the ballet of the Barbies is surprisingly realistic. 

The unicorn sidekick makes this movie much more interesting, and the enchanted forest is a fantastic setting for the Barbies to dance in. 

This movie is often forgotten. However, I think it’s a great filler movie for when you want to be entranced by Barbie but don’t want to concentrate on the plot. 

5. “Barbie as Rapunzel”

This film was creative in the way it approached this classic story. Instead of a man coming to save her, Barbie uses a magic paintbrush to transport herself out of the tower. The villain in this movie is surprisingly well done, and the romance is simple but cute nonetheless. 

Also, introducing Penelope the dragon as Rapunzel’s best friend was genius and made the entire movie a million times better. As far as animal sidekicks go, Penelope is one of the better ones of all the Barbie movies.

The scene where Barbie paints herself a dress is iconic and so well crafted that it boosts the movie’s overall rating to fifth on my list. 

4. “Barbie and the Diamond Castle”

This is yet another iconic Barbie musical. This movie perfectly captures the princess-adventure spirit with its magic mirror, dragons and mystical castles. The costumes in this movie are incredible and leave the audience wanting more. I think every Barbie fan coveted the iconic set of matching necklaces that Liana and Alexa wear. 

The two lead characters embody a healthy female friendship and empower the audience with their strong opinions and decisions. The love interests, on the other hand, are kind of useless. I would have loved to see more development from them earlier in the film.

Other than that, it’s a wonderfully executed Barbie movie. 

3. “Barbie as the Island Princess”

It’s a bit of an unpopular opinion putting this movie this high on the ranking. I believe that people tend to overlook the beauty of this film, though. The peacock dress alone is a work of art, and all of the animal sidekicks are entirely too lovable. 

Maybe I was a weird kid, but I loved the plot of Barbie being shipwrecked alone on an island, and I can vividly remember reenacting the same scenario with my Barbies. This movie highlights the independence of Barbie and her resilience in the face of tragedy in a way that none of the other films dare to touch. 

Overall, it’s a beautiful film with a unique storyline.

2. “Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses”

This is my personal favorite of all the Barbie films. The music is excellent, the dancing is fantastic and the concept is beautifully executed, not to mention the crippling nostalgia that fills me every time I hear the opening song.

All 12 princesses have distinct personalities, and the familial love between them is tangible to even the youngest of audiences. The costumes in this movie are incredible and all unique in their own ways. The love interest is complex and not the cliche Prince Charming who comes to save the day.  

This movie will forever have me wishing for a secret fantasy world under my bedroom floor. Ten out of ten stars. I couldn’t love this movie more.

1.”Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper”

To no one’s surprise, the number-one film is “Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper.” This movie is on its own level compared to the other films. It has the best songs, the best friendships and the best villain, not to mention the double-wedding happy ending that makes me swoon every time. 

This movie is one of the only Barbie films that doesn’t include magic, yet it feels just as enchanting as the others. I wrote most of this article with “I’m a Girl Like You” playing in the background, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

What an iconic movie.

One response to “Battle of the Barbies: A ranking of the Barbie Cinematic Universe”

  1. Princess and the Pauper reigns SUPREME. Fantastic article. This one speaks to my inner child.

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