Western Animation / Barbie as Rapunzel


Barbie as Rapunzel is a 2002 Direct-to-Video Barbie film directed by Owen Hurley. It is the second in the film series of computer animated films, adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name.

Long, long ago, in a time of magic and dragons, there lived a girl named Rapunzel, who had the most beautiful, radiant hair the world had ever seen. But Rapunzel's life was far from wonderful. She lived as a servant of Gothel, a jealous, scheming witch who kept her hidden deep in a forbidding forest, guarded by the enormous dragon Hugo and surrounded by an enchanted glass wall.

Rapunzel's discovery of a magic paintbrush leads her on a journey that will unravel a web of deception, bring peace to two feuding kingdoms, and ultimately lead her to love with the handsome Prince Stefan.

The film has examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Gothel fits the emotionally abusive type to a T. She's not even so lenient as to let Rapunzel address her as anything but "milady."
  • Acrophobic Bird: Penelope, still being a young dragon, is a little rusty at very high heights. She gets better.
  • Adaptational Badass: The witch in the original tale never displayed much magic. Gothel here is able to use her magic to create the tower in the first place and imprison someone inside it forever.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Gothel wasn't an ideal mother in the original story, but she wasn't an emotionally abusive slave-driver to Rapunzel like here. Also, in the original story, Gothel got Rapunzel out of a(n admittedly rather questionable) deal with her father, rather than kidnapping her out of petty revenge. She certainly never intended to start a war either.
  • Adult Fear: Wilhelm's baby daughter is abducted without a trace and he has no idea where she is or if she's even alive for close to twenty years.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Gothel. The German dub makes her a baroness.
  • Artifact Title: The plot has very little to do with the original tale of Rapunzel and the plot of that only appears as a dream sequence.
  • Attack Reflector: Stefan uses a plate to reflect Gothel's magic back at her, but she just absorbs it.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Wish Upon A Star."
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Katrina, Melody, and Lorena.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Rapunzel paints living blue butterflies as she discovers the power of the paintbrush. One of those butterflies alerts Gothel to the painting's presence.
  • Cinderella Circumstances: Rapunzel is raised as Gothel's servant. Gothel is borderline abusive towards her, reminding her daily that nobody loved or wanted her. It is later revealed that she is actually a princess, and Gothel kidnapped her so as to get revenge on her father.
  • Cool Big Sis: Barbie at the beginning, who tells this version of Rapunzel to motivate Kelly out of an artist's block.
  • Cool Crown: Rapunzel gets an ornate one, of gold molded in lots of curls.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Penelope, whose big tail and untrained fire and strength can jump up at the worst times (and yet often conveniently work out for the plot).
  • Damsel out of Distress: Rapunzel manages to get out of most the scrapes she finds herself of her own accord.
  • Disneyfication: Even before Disney made their version.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the past, Gothel was rejected by her love interest, Wilhelm. In revenge, she decided to kidnap his daughter, frame an innocent man for it and start a war between the two kingdoms in the hopes they'll destroy each other.
  • The Dragon: Gothel has Otto, a nasty talking ferret.
    • Hugo also serves Gothel as a literal dragon, though in the end he turns on her to help Rapunzel.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Rapunzel is a long lost princess in this version, when she was just a peasant girl in the original tale.
  • Evil Is Petty: Gothel kidnapped baby Rapunzel for no other reason than out of spite for her ex marrying and having a child with another woman. The feud between the kingdoms is just a bonus.
  • Evil Sorceress: Gothel.
  • Exact Words: "Never release your prisoner with a lying heart!" is the spell Gothel chants to trap Rapunzel in the tower. But the way Gothel chose to word the spell screws her over: Rapunzel doesn't have a "lying heart" so she manages to escape the tower, but Gothel herself is a pathological liar and is eventually trapped in the tower herself.
  • Fallen Princess: Rapunzel
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Averted. Why does the climax focus on the importance of honesty so much? This is meant to fix the moral found in the original story, in that Rapunzel is punished after accidentally confessing the truth to the witch about the prince visiting her, implying that it is good to lie.invoked
  • Framing Device: The story is framed by Barbie telling the story to Kelly to give her painting inspiration.
  • Frame-Up: It's revealed that Gothel framed King Frederick for the kidnapping of King Wilhelm's daughter to start a war between them.
  • Furry Confusion: Talking dragons, ferrets, rabbits... and a completely normal palace horse.
  • Girl in the Tower: Subverted. Gothel keeps Rapunzel as a servant in a pretty spacey manor concealed by a magic wall. It's only when she starts to falsely suspect Rapunzel's dishonesty that she turns Rapunzel's room into a tower.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Rapunzel at the masquerade.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Rapunzel is known for her long, golden hair. She is also a sweet, innocent young woman.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Hugo, at the end.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: See Karmic Death.
  • Implacable Man: Gothel's magic makes her pretty much unstoppable, and turns the final battle into just her chasing everyone.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Subverted. Rather than the fairy tale, Rapunzel's hair goes just down to the floor. That's actually possible in real life, depending on the person's genes. She also keeps it braided so that it's out of the way. And she's only imprisoned in the tower for a day or two, making the maintenance believable.
  • In-Name-Only: This film bears little resemblance the Brothers Grimm fairy tale by the same name. All it has in common is Rapunzel, a witch, and a tower. The focus is instead on a magic paintbrush.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Gothel kidnapped Rapunzel because she would have been her daughter if Wilhelm had married her.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: In no way are there dragons in the original fairy tale, but Penelope and her father Hugo serve to advance the story rather than act as distractions.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Penelope's father is extremely stern, but really does love his daughter.
  • Karmic Death: Gothel curses the tower so that no one with a lying heart can ever escape. Rapunzel was honest the whole time, so she is able to leave. When Gothel is tricked into returning to the tower, she is stuck there forever, as she had been lying to everyone throughout the entire movie (for instance, telling Rapunzel that she was abandoned by her parents, when she had in fact kidnapped her, or her lies that started the feud.), and had made the spell unbreakable. It is implied she soon starves to death.
  • Kick the Dog: Gothel destroying Rapunzel's paintings, and later brush (which was the only thing Rapunzel had left of her parents), as well as reminding her how worthless she is.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Rapunzel is well known for her extremely long hair, which matches her feminine personality.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Rapunzel is revealed to be the long lost child of Wilhelm and his wife.
  • Loophole Abuse: See Exact Words above.
  • Lovable Coward: Hobie.
  • Love at First Sight: Played straight and lampshaded.
    Rapunzel He was the most handsome man I've ever seen!
    Hobie: And you've seen how many men before?
  • Love Makes You Evil: It turns out that Gothel kidnapped Rapunzel and framed Frederick after Wilhelm broke up with her, later claiming she did it all out of love for him.
  • Masquerade Ball: The film's climax.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted.
    Otto: Zap him! Fry him! Kill him!
  • Not Good with Rejection: Gothel, as it turns out.
  • Not So Stoic: Gothel rages when she reads the ball invitation.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Rapunzel's paintbrush is the only thing Rapunzel has left of her parents, and Gothel destroys it in a Kick the Dog moment. Somewhat subverted in that her parents are alive and well, and she reunites with them in the end.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Rapunzel considers Prince Stefan the most handsome man she's ever seen. Given her upbringing, she hasn't seen many men before.
  • Parental Abandonment: Averted.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Both Rapunzel's pink and lavender dresses.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The whole feud between the two kingdoms could've been solved rather easily were it not for this trope.
    • Then again, it's possible that Gothel deliberately planted evidence to make Wilhelm believe that Frederick kidnapped his daughter, or why else would Wilhelm suspect him in the first place? Even so, the war could probably have been avoided if everyone sat down and talked about it rationally.
  • Portal Picture: Is used in place of the hair as the way Rapunzel escapes her tower, and tricks Gothel into trapping herself.
  • Power of Love: Presumably what gives Rapunzel's paintings their magic.
  • Princess Classic: Rapunzel turns out to be one of these.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Rapunzel wears a pink dress as her regular ensemble, though her fancier dress for the masquerade is lavender. Though it is a tad strange that someone raised as a servant is dressed better than the village peasants.
    • One could theorise she was wearing Gothel's cast-offs.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Yes, but it's subverted in that her hair is floor-length; certainly long but not enough to reach the bottom of a tower. Pretty much played straight when Rapunzel has a dream of Prince Stefan visiting her, as she does have tower-length hair. But then it's over.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Prince Stefan, who knows that the kingdoms' feud is very petty and shows kindness to even his more incompetent soldiers.
  • Redemption Rejection: Gothel refuses to seek redemption even after Rapunzel tells her that she forgives her for what she has done.
  • Rescue Romance: Rapunzel first meets the prince when she almost falls into a pit trying to save his little sister.
  • The Southpaw: Pretty much everyone. Rapunzel paints with her left hand and Stefan, Fredrick, Wilhelm, and their guards all wield their swords with their left hand.
  • Stern Chase: Gothel's magic makes her pretty much unstoppable, and turns the final battle into just her chasing everyone.
  • Stock Sound Effects: While two of Stefan's guards are looking for Rapunzel's tower in the forest,the growling of a Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park can be heard, most likely uttered by Hugo, Penelope's father. Another one is heard at the very beginning, when the camera passes through the forest.
  • Transformation Sequence: Rapunzel has several of these as she paints her dresses with the magic paintbrush.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Well duh. But not that severe as Gothel magics the hair away so she can disguise herself as Rapunzel at the ball. Rapunzel's remaining hair is still well past her shoulders and it's grown completely back by the end.
  • "Well Done, Daughter" Girl: Hugo is hardly the nicest father, and has high expectations for Penelope to grow into a mighty dragon. He gets better in the end.
    Hoby: Does he ever smile?
    Penelope: Not around me.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Penelope hates bugs.
  • Wicked Witch: Gothel, albeit a more glamorous one.
  • Woman Scorned: Gothel.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Gothel scares away the princesses with her magic, and tries to kill Tommy.
  • Vain Sorceress : The definition of Gothel.

Love and imagination can change the world.