What Barbie and the Diamond Castle Got Wrong

(Or Why Barbie and the Diamond Castle is basically the worst Barbie movie.)

If you’ve hung around this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the classic Barbie films. I grew up watching (and often dancing along to) Barbie’s adaptations of Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Princess and the Pauper, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Now I have two daughters, and it’s been so much fun to share these films with them. It’s really nostalgic, if I’m honest, and I’m finding myself willing to overlook the occasional plot hole, poorly written line, and character inconsistencies. For the sake of the memories that I have surrounding the films, as well as the memories I’m making with my daughters, those faults are forgivable.

HOWEVER, there is one Barbie film I find I cannot forgive its faults. And as it has recently become a favorite of my four-year-old, I have been forced to suffer through it, all the while writing this blog post in my head every time in as many severely seething words as possible.

Barbie and the Diamond Castle

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, here’s a quick summary. For those who know the story, skip the next paragraph.

Alexa and Liana are best friends living in a beautiful cottage in the woods. They earn their jam and bread by caring for and selling flowers in the nearby village. They also sing. One day, they discover a girl trapped in a mirror — a girl named Melody who is an apprentice to the three great muses of music. One of the muses, Lydia, uses a flute filled with dark magic, and she is seeking to become the sole muse so she can control music everywhere. Melody escaped Lydia’s attack by hiding in the mirror, and Lydia’s flying serpent, Slider, is on the hunt for her. After Slider burns down the girls’ cottage, Alexa and Liana decide to help Melody defeat Lydia and find the legendary Diamond Castle. Their journey includes finding two adorable puppies, flirting with two rapscallion singing twin brothers, and testing their best friend loyalties in ways they never imagined. And everything wraps up Barbie-happily-ever-after style when they defeat Lydia with music and restore the rightful muses of music back to their places in the Diamond Castle.

Don’t get me wrong; I love a good friendship story, and I think the parts with Alexa and Liana learning to trust each other and not give up on friendship are fine. Nothing wrong with that. It’s just everything else about the movie that Barbie did wrong. In fact, in my experience with the Barbie film franchise, this is probably the worst Barbie film of them all.

[I realize here I need to put this note somewhere in this post: I’ve not actually seen ALL of the Barbie films. I haven’t seen most of the newer-ish ones, so I’m really just rating Diamond Castle against the classic films. If you go by release dates, Diamond Castle and Thumbelina are where I fizzled out and lost interest. Christmas Carol, however, is amazing, and I watch that one on the regular.]

Let’s get into it, shall we?

The Greek Inspiration

This, to me, is the greatest error of the film. We’re dealing with the MUSES, for cat’s sake, and all the classical Greek-ness that comes with them. But how much in this tale is actually Greek-inspired? The name “muses” for the three leading artists; the costume design for said muses; and perhaps a bit of architecture and instrument design. THAT’S IT. Out of the whole film, that’s it.

Now before you get up on your high horse, let me explain. Yes, I do have these expectations for Barbie films mainly because they’ve shown themselves capable of including complex cultural inspirations in their films. Namely, Barbie as Rapunzel. Rapunzel is clearly German, and a lot in the movie reflects the German inspiration. The names are German all around: the prince’s name is Stefan, the evil sidekick is Otto, the feuding king is Wilhelm, etc. You can see German influences popping up in the set designs, costume designs, the music, and even in the whole subplot of the feuding kings. Barbie did research for that film, and it shows. Barbie has proved herself capable of research and producing a good culturally inspired film.

I mean, is it too much to ask for a truly Greek inspired film? Just think of all the wonderful things they could have done with Barbie and the Diamond Castle. Why stop at Melody’s dress design, and give the other girls Greek clothing as well? Greek names? Alexa is close, I’ll grant you, but close isn’t classical. Instead of picking the top two princess-y names for girls in America, what about a Barbie character named Kassandra who lives with her best friend Phoebe? Barbie gave us Norwegian inspired names, Annika and Brietta, for Magic of Pegasus, so we know they can do it.

The classical Greek age was a period of music and art and philosophy; even with the magical bent of this film, I still think they could have done so much to incorporate more from that era — even if it weren’t strictly from the classical age. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that Barbie include the love and war that the Greeks were famous for in The Iliad and The Odyssey. But Homer is still packed with tidbits that could have spiced up an otherwise boring, pink film. Barbie missed out on so much.

The Music

Because I hate this point so much, I had to separate it from the above point. *cracks knuckles* Lydia’s hypnotizing song is probably the most Greek-sounding song in the whole film. And that is a blasted shame. Historians all agree on how important music was to the Greeks, and how much they used it for almost everything they did. Why couldn’t we have had some more music geared toward that?

Naw, instead, Barbie felt the need to cater the the young, contemporary audiences and added in every obnoxious genre of song they could think of. I have to be honest: I have fairly strict music standards for myself and my kids. We don’t listen to most, if not all, of the singing music in Diamond Castle. There’s nothing inherently Greek in any of the songs; there isn’t even anything remotely medieval, either. Looking at the setting and the fantasy-centric plot of the film, hip-hop songs are completely out of line. They don’t fit the the tone of the film at all. Basically, it was lazy composing at its finest. And an effort to make some extra cash on the soundtrack. Boo.

One of my biggest rants is the big climatic song at the end [SPOILER ALERT]. Alexa, Liana, and Melody all sing together to defeat Lydia, and their music and the power of the Diamond Castle combined is enough to overpower her hypnotic music and petrify her. *crickets in the calm before the storm* WHY IN THE BLUE BLAZES DON’T THEY HAVE AN AMAZING SONG TO SING THERE? Oh, Barbie, Barbie, Barbie! This is the big moment, where the power of good and music free to all triumphs over dark music — and ALL the girls are singing is: “Believe, believe.” … ?????? I am so annoyed I just can’t. For a music-centric story, it was the PERFECT opportunity to pull out some crazy, amazing music, with multiple layers interweaving and joining together. Even a simple round would have been nice! They didn’t even try.

… I can’t. I literally can’t.

The Boys

Ooh, yes! It just keeps getting better! Let’s go ahead and talk about the two blockheads who are probably the worst heroes in the entire film franchise.

Jeremy and Ian are identical twins (even if their names aren’t good twin names, but I digress), with matching flirtatious smiles, rogue antics, and dreadful singing. If you couldn’t guess from my previous point that I hate the music in this film, just know: I hate their song most of all. It just grates on my ears; it is physically painful to listen to. And these are the guys we’re supposed to root for to get together with our two heroines?

Ahh, well, let’s take a deeper look. Maybe there’s more to Jeremy and Ian than meets the eye. Maybe they improve under better acquaintance.

HA. Nope. There is nothing redeemable about these two. NOTHING.

1) They’re handsome, and they know it, and they use their good looks to get them whatever (and whomever) they want. They’re entitled brats, and they believe they deserve whatever they want, regardless of what anybody else thinks. (And they really can’t sing.)

2) They undergo ABSOLUTELY no character change within the film. They are still the same creeps in the end that they were in the beginning. Initially, the twins follow the girls to return Alexa’s handkerchief, which they declare she dropped on purpose for them to bring to her. And in the end, they’re still joking about following the girls home because someone has to keep them out of trouble. STALKER MUCH? I don’t know that I root more for any other Barbie couple to NOT get together.

3) They actually quite anti-feminist, which is a shock for Barbie. I’m not a feminist, but even some of what they do and say is irritating. Upon hearing the girls singing, the twins say, “Not bad for girls.” When serenading the girls at dinner (i.e. the incredibly grating song that I can’t even listen to), they say the girls belong with them. Hello, could you have asked them out on a date first? They’re fine lying to the girls to avoid meeting up with the troll again, even when they know the girls are in a hurry to reach the Seven Stones. Overall, they really don’t have any helpful or encouraging comments for either of the girls.

4) Oh, yeah, and if they didn’t have their horses to help the girls get to places faster, they’d be completely useless. Do you notice how they disappear in the Diamond Castle right before the big music battle with Lydia? Why didn’t we just give Alexa and Liana the horses and cut Jeremy and Ian out entirely? They don’t do anything. Except annoy me.

Anyway, I should wrap this up before I break my keyboard. I type harder and faster when I’m passionate.

What about you? Are there any flaws from the Diamond Castle that I missed? Do you think it’s one of the worst Barbie films, or are there some good things that I apparently missed while watching it? If you’ve seen one that is worse than this one, let me know in the comments (and I’ll know to avoid watching it in the future).

6 thoughts on “What Barbie and the Diamond Castle Got Wrong

  1. Oooh man. I only ever saw this one when it was like NEW but I do remember being hugely underwhelmed and disappointed. My memory is definitely fuzzy, but it seemed like a big thing that bugged me was the lack of backstory? It just seemed like it explained NOTHING about the main protagonists and why they were in the situation they were. I remember the premise was really interesting, but the execution was just total garbage.

    And the twins. Oof yes. Just why. WHY???

    I also can’t stand it when they use pop-style music in a clearly fantasy setting. It’s just so very not fitting. Not to mention annoying. >.>

    Yeah, you are not alone in this one. I was not impressed.

    I, too, just stick with the older ones of these. I had tried some later ones and found them to be complete and utter nonsensical garbage, so after a while I stopped watching them as they came out and haven’t seen a new one in years.

    At least we’ll always have the classics to enjoy!


    1. Oh, I know! I realized after I posted this I had a couple more points to rant about (blame typing it all up after 10pm LOL). The backstory was one definitely, and then I wanted to rant about the lazy animation since they reused main character from previous films as featured extras. Ehhh. I’m probably going to have to write a part two. 😛

      My classics! Thankfully, my daughter is very obsessed with Magic of Pegasus and Mermaidia right now, so we’ve gotten a break from the Diamond Castle. I think I’m just counting down the days until a respectable Christmas season so I can watch Christmas Carol and Nutcracker. XD


  2. Ooooh a Barbie rant. I love it XD

    I have to admit I’ve never actually seen this one, though it was also never really of interest to me? To be honest I really only “kept up” with the Barbie movies through The Princess and the Pauper (which is an awesome one) and then I DID see Barbie as the Island Princess randomly when it came out.

    I recently watched a youtube video ranking Barbie men as “husband material” (lol) and I think the twins ended up near the bottom XD

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After reading this review, I would love to see you rank all of the Barbie films from best to worst! Honestly, It’s one of those movies that you know isn’t well – executed, but you seem to come back to it every 10 years to see if you missed something. Do I think it’s great? No. I do think that it is better than Fairytopia? Yes. That is one Barbie movie I will never watch again.
    I wish they would have introduced the twins differently. That would have changed the storyline a bit. Maybe just introduce one guy at the beginning so it’s a shock to the audience that he even has a twin? Could Lydia be their half-sister? So many wasted opportunities! They literally sound like Bob Dylan trying to sing while drowning. All I know is that they must have run out of ideas when this one came along.


    1. LOL! I’ve actually thought about doing more rankings/reviews of Barbie films! It’s just typically easier to write up a rant since I get passionate and the words come faster. XD Finding the time is another big issue.

      I remembered Diamond Castle being not great when I watched it back in the day, but I was willing to give it a second chance for my daughters’ sake. But nope. Nothing good. It was worse than I remembered.

      Ooh! Yes! I love that twist with the twins! I’d have so much more enjoyed them set up as pranksters in that fashion than the selfish numbskulls they turned out to be.


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