Blu-ray
Recommended
3 stars
List Price
$19.98
Amazon
$13.49 (32%)
3rd Party
$10.95
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Overall Grade
3 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

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

Barbie & Her Sisters in The Great Puppy Adventure

Street Date:
October 27th, 2015
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
December 15th, 2015
Movie Release Year:
2015
Studio:
Universal
Length:
76 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

This is film number thirty-one in the series of 'Barbie' movies that have been released since 2001. Most all of these animated films have the same message, sass, and over abundance of bright popping colors that would really only appeal to young children, but this latest installment titled 'Barbie & Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure', has a bit more under its sleeve that should appeal to a wider audience. I'm not saying that this is compared to Pixar or anything, I'm just saying that the annoying moments and aspects of the previous 'Barbie' films are still here, but to a lesser degree than normal, which is a definite step in the right direction.

Make no mistake about it though, these films and franchise still makes a ton of money, and with the upcoming live-version film coming out, I expect these titles to only increase in sales. Writer Amy Wolfram and director Andrew Tan must have been huge fans of 'The Goonies', because 'Barbie & Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure' follows the same formula and story, making this outing much more enjoyable than previous releases.

Barbie and her three younger sisters head to their grandmother's house for the summer in a town called Willows, which is where Barbie and her sisters used to live when they were little. Their grandmother's dog had a litter of puppies and gave one to each of the girls, where a bond was formed between each girl and puppy. The girls go up to the attic, find a treasure map, to which their grandmother tells them there is buried treasure in the town for a "rainy day". Needless to say, the town of Willows is in disrepair and needs to be fixed up again.

So the girls and their puppies set out to find the treasure, setting off a series of trap doors, underground caves, and puzzles. Meanwhile, there are two bad guys following the girls, looking to steal the treasure for themselves. Sound familiar? 'Goonies', anyone? There is a good amount of fun and adventure, but every twist and turn is predictable of course, leaving nothing to the imagination or a mystery for us to solve. It's very straight-forward. I'm also not sure why there was an inclusion of these puppies, even in the title other than that they are there to be cute and adorable.

They don't add anything to the story, even when they talk to other dogs. The underlying theme and message here, is family, loyalty, and sisterhood triumphs over all things, no matter how big the treasure is at the end of the rainbow. The characters are all interchangeable with no real differences in traits to set them aside from one another, then again, this is a 'Barbie' movie, and such devices are not needed. Luckily for us, this film doesn't revel in bright colors 100% of the time, but rather has some darkly lit sequences, which are easier on the eyes, compared to the abundance of purples and pinks that cover the screen in previous films.

'Barbie & Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure' will satisfy the young kids and won't be a total terrible time for the adults who are forced to watch this too. Hold on to your hats as well, for this is a sequel on the horizon to this movie.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

'Barbie & Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure' comes with one 50GB Blu-ray Disc and one DVD copy of the film, along with a digital download code and is Region A locked from Universal. There are a couple of inserts included as well, advertising other 'Barbie' movies, which is all incased in a hard blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Barbie & Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure' comes with a decent 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This has almost an identical look to the previous releases in the 'Barbie' franchise. Detail is strong and sharp for the most part, although in wider shots, the animation and picture looks a little soft. Closeups show excellent animation with dog hair and background items, giving this picture some depth.

Colors are the big hit here though. Each color pops off screen. There are purples and pinks galore along with clear blue skies and luscious green landscapes. Luckily for us, there is a portion of the film that is filmed in low lit settings and underground, which looks very good and not insanely bright all the time. Black levels are deep as well. This has a crisp and clear picture to it, but don't expect Pixar quality. There are some small moments of aliasing and banding to be seen, but the target audience won't notice it.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with  good lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and will satisfy the core demographic and even adults. The sound effects are full of life, robust, and pack a punch. Ambient noises of city-life and the wilderness are true and sound off on the rear speakers often. The sound effects have great directionality as well, all of which sound realistic and full at all times.

The soundtrack and score is full of bubblegum pop that will energize the young kids and never drowns out any of the dialogue or sound effects. The dialogue is crystal clear and easy to follow at all times as well, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills. The LFE is excellent here and the dynamic range is rather wide, leaving this a solid audio presentation for sure.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Music Video (HD, 3 Mins.) - Music Video for 'The Greatest Day' is presented here.

Bloopers (HD, 3 Mins.) - Gag reel in animated form.

Motion Comic (HD, 2 Mins.) - Titled 'Tiny Dancer', the character of Super Sparkle searches for a lost item.

Trailers (HD, 16 Mins.) - A ton of trailers for other 'Barbie' movies and a video game.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are zero HD exclusives.

Final Thoughts

'Barbie & Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure' definitely rips off the story of 'The Goonies', but in true 'Barbie' fashion with sass, puppies, and sisterhood. It has a lot more heart and soul than previous 'Barbie' movies as well, which should satisfy the adults who are forced to watch this. I have no doubt that the young kids will enjoy this movie if they're a fan of 'Barbie' as well. The video and audio presentations are both solid and there are a few short extras to entertain the kids as well. If your child loves the 'Barbie' franchise, they'll enjoy this one for sure. Recommended!

Technical Specs

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

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p MPEG-4 AVC

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French: DTS 5.1
  • Spanish: DTS 5.1
  • German: DTS 5.1
  • Italian: DTS 5.1
  • Dutch: DTS 5.1
  • Portuguese: DTS 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English, French, Spanish

Supplements

  • Music Video
  • Bloopers
  • Motion Comic
  • Trailers

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List Price
$19.98
Amazon
$13.49 (32%)
3rd Party
$10.95
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»