aka Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia
Directors – William Lau & Walter P. Martishius, Screenplay – Elise Allen, Producer – Luke Carroll, Music – Eric Colvin, Animation Directors – Conrad Helten, Jeremy McCarron & Gino Nichele, Production Design – Walter P. Martishius. Production Company – Mainframe Entertainment.
Kelly Sheridan (Elina), Chiara Zanni (Nori), Alessandro Juliani (Nalu), Christopher Gaze (Fungus Maximus), Lee Tockar (Bibble/Fungus 1&2), Kathleen Barr (Laverna), Brittney Wilson (Yellow Merfairy), Nicole Oliver (Shellie/Delphine), Pam Hyatt (Wise Fish), Tabitha St. Hermain (Dandelion), Venus Terzo (Azura)
The fairy Elina learns that her friend Nalu, the mermaid prince of Coral Cove is in trouble. She and Bibble immediately set out to aid him. Nalu has been captured by the Funguses, the hench-creatures of Laverna. They threaten to poison all of Coral Cove unless Nalu shows them the secret whereabouts of The Immunity Berry, which will allow Laverna to become impervious to all magic. Arriving in Coral Cove, Elina tries to find Nalu. She meets Nori, who loves Nalu and immediately becomes jealous thinking that Elina is a rival. The two of them are forced to team up as they follow a series of cryptic clues to Nalu’s whereabouts but must face a series of perils along the way.
Barbie Mermaidia was the seventh of the animated films based on Mattel’s girl’s doll from Canadian computer animation firm Mainframe Entertainment (later to become Rainmaker Entertainment). Others of these Barbie films include Barbie in the Nutcracker (2001), Barbie as Rapunzel (2002), Barbie of Swan Lake (2003), Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper (2004), Barbie Fairytopia (2004), Barbie and the Magic of the Pegasus in 3D (2005), Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses (2006), (2006), Barbie as The Island Princess (2007), Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow (2007), Barbie & the Diamond Castle (2008), Barbie in A Christmas Carol (2008), Barbie Mariposa (2008), Barbie and the Three Musketeers (2009), Barbie Presents Thumbelina (2009), Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale (2010), Barbie in a Mermaid Tale (2010), Barbie: A Perfect Christmas (2011), Barbie: A Fairy Secret (2011), Barbie: Princess Charm School (2011), Barbie in a Mermaid Tale 2 (2012), Barbie: The Princess & The Popstar (2012), Barbie and Her Sisters in a Pony Tale (2013), Barbie in The Pink Shoes (2013), Barbie Mariposa and the Fairy Princess (2013), Barbie and the Secret Door (2014), Barbie: The Pearl Princess (2014), Barbie and Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure (2015), Barbie in Princess Power (2015), Barbie in Rock’n’Royals (2015), Barbie and Her Sisters in a Puppy Chase (2016), Barbie Spy Squad (2016), Barbie Star Light Adventures (2016), Barbie: Dolphin Magic (2017) and Barbie: Video Game Hero (2017). Mermaidia is a direct sequel to Barbie Fairytopia featuring the fairy Elina venturing into the mermaid kingdom.
The Barbie films are intended for pre-adolescent girl audiences. As such, they are a sweet upbeat works that focus on the power of friendship and positivity and believing in yourself. Everything is presented in an untroubled manner. The underwater kingdom of Coral Cove comes in an eye-catching range of pastel colours that I am sure would look quite trippy if you were watching while high.
The story is a simple Plot Coupons fantasy that require Elina/Barbie and her rival-soon-to-be-best-pal Nori to journey through the underwater realm, visit various locales and obtain objects, all the while tracing a cryptic prophecy and with the addition of a routine threat to drive everything along. It all passes amiably.
On the minus side, Mainframe’s animation of this period always suffered from a certain glass plasticity – when the film is seen over a decade after it was originally made, this makes for tough viewing on the eye.