Just a quick note on the Barbie Fairytopia series of movies, which we have just recently been watching. (Most recently, just today. PA day from school.) Barbie’s fairy movies are very different from the Disney Tinker Bell brand. In a nutshell:
Pixie Hollow (Tinker Bell): very preschool, everyone’s sweet and lovely (except for one snarky girl), no big villains, no evil plots to foil
Fairytopia (Barbie): characters look and sound like teenagers, default setting for fairies seems to be snide and mocking (“He-LLO!”), ongoing arch-villain with megalomaniac schemes
With the Disney brand comes the deep pockets and big production value, which really comes to the fore in this battle. Pixie Hollow is absolutely gorgeous – fully populated with fairies and critters, and bustling. Fairytopia is beautiful, but in a limited way – generally underpopulated… deserted really, in the two movies we’ve seen. So much for design, but the writing and characterizations are also superior in the Disney product. The Barbie movies rely far too much on teen slang and kind of nasty, gossipy girl relations. They seem to be betting on the premise that little kids want to watch films populated by their older sister and her friends. Odd. The characters too, are quite flat, personality-wise, and they all move like… Barbie dolls. Tinker Bell is a much more nuanced, flawed heroine and her friends are more distinct and fully-rounded characters.
Tink movies are definitely better for younger viewers. The Barbie movies have a more mature world-view and Quest vs. Evil Plot structure.
In conclusion: Barbie’s movies may have come out first, but Tinker Bell kind of kicks Barbie’s pert little behind in this match-up.
Barbie Fairytopia Movies
Barbie: Fairytopia (2005)
Barbie: Mermaidia (2006)
Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow (2007)
Barbie Mariposa (2008)
Disney Tinker Bell Movies
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (2010)