Blu-ray
Recommended
3.5 stars
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Overall Grade
3.5 stars

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The Movie Itself
3 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
2 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Recommended

Barbie: Video Game Hero

Street Date:
January 31st, 2017
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
February 2nd, 2017
Movie Release Year:
2017
Studio:
Universal
Length:
73 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

It's official. 'Barbie' is now the new 'Tron', at least she is in this latest animated 'Barbie' film titled 'Barbie: Video Game Hero'. Universal Pictures has a great deal with the 'Barbie' enterprise as of the last several years, since approximately 22,381 new 'Barbie' films come out every year straight to video. While these movies may not be released in theaters, they certainly satisfy the young girl crowd at home for a couple of hours, while managing to teach basic life lessons in friendship, believing in yourself, and teamwork in each movie. There is certainly a formula that is followed each go-around and it never strays from that path, making these films all run together, even if Barbie is on safari, in space, rocking out to music, or taking care of robot cats and dogs. There's nothing she can't do.

One of the nice things that the filmmakers do here, is that they subtly inject the films with some old school references to make the adults smirk and not want to gouge their eyes out while viewing, which is always appreciated. In the past, there have been references to 'The Goonies' and even 'James Bond', but with 'Video Game Hero', there are some pretty fantastic references throughout that made me laugh and had my mind wander if the 'Barbie' enterprise will go into darker territory. Let's hope so. 'Barbie: Into Darkness' would be a movie I would pay to see twice. Until then, we will settle for 'Barbie: Video Game Hero', which again, has a bit of 'Tron' in it.

Barbie is a video game coder, working on a new video game that is sure to be a success. However, a glitch is causing the game to crash and burn consistently. Even Barbie's sister tries to take a look at the game to see what's wrong, but is no help. In true 'Tron' fashion, Barbie is sucked into the video game and must fight for her life in order to fix the game and survive the dreaded and deadly emoji virus that is killing the game slowly. Barbie must beat each level of her own game in order to transfer back to real life and rid the game world of the emoji virus. Along the way, she meets the characters in her game, whom with she learns the meaning of teamwork and believing in herself.

Again, these are themes in all of the previous 'Barbie' films. With tons of bright colors in pink and purple fashion, as well as a bubblegum pop soundtrack, the intended audience will no doubt eat this up. In addition, those who play the popular game 'Minecraft' will have a field day here, because a lot of the film takes place in a 'Minecraft' type of world, block characters and settings and all. You'll see references to 'Super Mario', as well as other games too. Adults will laugh at some hilarious references to TLC's 'Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls' and even the cult film 'The Warriors'. Yes, that 'Warriors' movie.

Now all I want is for Barbie to head into the game world of 'Resident Evil' or 'Grand Theft Auto'. The possibilities are endless. As for 'Barbie: Video Game Hero', the film hits all of the notes for the right audience and never strays from its formula, which isn't necessary a bad thing when dealing with these 'Barbie' films and selling dolls.


The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

'Barbie: Video Game Hero' comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc that is Region A locked along with a DVD copy of the film and a digital download. There are a couple of inserts that cover other Barbie products and the download code. Everything is housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve cover.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Barbie: Video Game Hero' comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. If you're looking for a film to overload your ocular cavities, then these 'Barbie' films will not only do the job, but they might send you into a state of bright neon euphoria for the rest of your life. The animation is not on par with Pixar, but what is really? Some of the animation is choppy and odd looking, but the detail in hair and background items are solid.

Colors are where the spotlight is shining here. The screen is full of bright, colors, mostly in different shades of pink, purple, and blue, which is fun for a while, but can get a bit irritating. But hey, this film is not for us film scholars. Every color pops off screen and looks great. There is some mild aliasing and banding, but the intended audience won't notice or care really. This video presentation falls in line with the previous films, which is a good thing.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and is fun, energetic, and full of life. Sound effects are loud, robust, and full with great use of the surround speakers. When lasers go off, or big objects fly around the screen, the speakers utilize each sound with full energy and a good low end that brings the bass booming to life.

The ambient noises are also great her as well, providing some good depth to the soundscape.The bubblegum pop music always adds to the over fun energy of the film without drowning out any other sound aspect. Dialogue is crystal clear and easy to follow along with, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills. For the animated film that it is, this is a great audio presentation that will satisfy everyone.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Barbie Dreamtopia: Theme Song (HD, 1 Min.) - Here is the them song for the Dreamtopia series.

Barbie Dreamtopia: Sweetville (HD, 5 Mins.) - An animated short that has Chelsea and Honey repairing a broken bridge in order to arrive at a party.

Barbie Dreamtopia: Sparkle Mountain (HD, 5 Mins.) - Again, an animated short the features Chelsea and Honey traveling to Sparkle Mountain where Barbie wants them to find a gem.

'Barbie: Video Game Hero' Bonus Shorts (HD, 5 Mins.) - Some very quick animated shorts of Barbie and her friends, as well as her puppies playing games.

Music Video (HD, 4 Mins.) - The song 'Change the Game' has a music video. Here it is.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives. 

Final Thoughts

'Barbie: Video Game Hero' is in line with the rest of the 'Barbie' film archives. It's bright, pink, purple, and has some good life lessons for the younger kids. There are even some fun nods and winks to the adults throughout the film too, which is always nice to see. Video gamers will for sure enjoy some of the references as well. The video and audio presentations are both good, an d the extras should satisfy the younger crowd, because they get more Barbie cartoons. All in all, a nice little package. Recommended!

Technical Specs

  • 50GB Blu-ray Disc + DVD + Digital Copy

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p MPEG-4 AVC

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Spanish DTS 5.1
  • French DTS 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English, French, Spanish

Supplements

  • Barbie Dreamtopia: Theme Song
  • Barbie Dreamtopia: Sweetville
  • Barbie Dreamtopia: Sparkle Mountain
  • 'Barbie: Video Game Hero' Bonus Shorts
  • Music Video

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