When my wife called me to ask if I minded her getting this video for my three-year-old daughter, I of course told her that it was fine. I knew I would be stuck watching it over and over because my little girl loves to watch things with her daddy. We sat down before bedtime and popped it in the VCR, and I committed myself to being a good daddy and to spending some quality time with my little one. The movie opened with a rip-roaring musical number, and the quality of the computer animation was very impressive. Being a Mark Twain scholar (I did my thesis on Twain), I was expecting a goofy, silly movie adaptation of the story. After all, Barbie is about as interesting to me as fly vomit. However, what I found was a wonder. The story was excellent, but the songs were the best part of the film. The quality of the musical numbers rivals that of any Disney production. The VHS tape came with a CD with all of the major songs on it. My little girl sits and sings them to me and even asks her dad to join in on the "boy parts" of the song. What struck me about the movie most was the excellent character development in this short film. It was, I have to reluctantly admit, wonderful. Princess Annaliese, Erika, King Dominick, Julian, and the two cats are wonderfully portrayed. However, the stand out character is most definitely Preminger. This is a top-notch villain because he dosen't fit the established mold. He is prissy, vain, and feminine. However, he is also sly, conniving, and cruel hearted. His musical number "How can I refuse?" is among the best "villain songs," I have ever heard...bar none. There is also a great subplot involving the cats. Even the minor characters stand out. I've watched the film over and over with my little girl, and I have to admit that I enjoyed it every time. And I don't feel a bit unmanly at all.
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