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Western Animation / Barbie in a Mermaid Tale

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Barbie in a Mermaid Tale is a Barbie movie released in 2010.

Barbie plays Merliah Summers, a champion surfer who suddenly sprouts pink hair during a championship...then immediately after meets Zuma, a talking sparkly pink dolphin. Oh, and she learns that she's the half-mermaid daughter of Queen Calissa, ruler of Oceana. Which means she can breathe underwater at least.

The Reveal could not have been more timely, as Calissa's been kidnapped by her evil sister Eris, who keeps her around to make Merillia, the substance that gives the ocean life. Eris threatens dissenters with orange whirlpools that send them to the deepest trenches. As Merliah stands to inherit the throne, it's up to her to stop Eris and rescue her mother, with the help of her newfound mer-friends Kayla and Xylie.

It later had a sequel, Barbie in a Mermaid Tale 2.


This movie contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Merilah is a champion surfer.
  • Attention Whore: Eris. She has a whole festival dedicated to herself, demands her subjects adore her, and imprisons someone who was too distracted to applaud.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Merliah spends about 99% of the movie in a bikini top. Her friends Fallon and Hadley are never seen wearing anything else either.
  • Big Bad: Eris.
  • Bland-Name Product: Some of the stores seen in Oceania include "Bloomingtail's", "Seaphora", and "Fred Seagull".
  • Cain and Abel: Calissa is the Abel and Eris is the Cain.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Eris keeps Calissa imprisoned to keep spinning Merillia and keep the ocean alive, as she can't spin any herself.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fact when the protective pendent of Merliah's is broken shows her mother Queen Clarissa ends up being important in the final.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Hadley.
  • Dark Reprise: "Queen of the Waves" gets an Eris-centric version.
  • Dirty Communist: Eris, possibly, with her not simply being racist but that she believes everyone in her kingdom should be merpeople (thus equal).
  • Establishing Character Moment: Eris' is to have the crowd adore her, imprison someone for not applauding, and continue on like nothing happened.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Zuma.
  • Fantastic Racism: Eris looks down on humans, and expresses disbelief at Calissa's human husband. She later uses this to turn public opinion against Merliah.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Eris, who's slowly poisoning the ocean.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Despite being of royal blood, Eris can't spin Merillia. This made her very jealous.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Merliah is half-human, half-mermaid.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Merilah tries to appeal to Eris and says they can work together to help the ocean, but she won't have any of it and attacks her.
  • The High Queen: Calissa, but not Eris.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: After the Destinies meet Merliah and her new mermaid friends, they decided to go out for "manies and tailies".note 
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: Eris is done in by her own whirlpool.
  • I Am Who?: Merliah is flabbergasted to learn she's a half-mermaid princess.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Merliah completely rejects her heritage at first.
  • It's All About Me: Eris' personality revolves around herself.
  • Kick the Dog: Eris imprisoning a fish for being too distracted to applaud her.
    • She later tells Calissa that she'll imprison innocent people for no reason until she finds Merliah. She is even shown doing it once.
  • The Lifestream: Merillia, the life force of the ocean.
  • Married to the Job: Merliah is married to her hobby, surfing.
  • Mission Control: Hadley and Fallon help Merliah out on land by searching for the Celestial Comb and where she can find a Dream Fish.
  • Only Sane Man: Fallon, who's more down-to-earth than the spacey Hadley.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Merliah. Also Fallon and Hadley.
  • Puberty Superpower: Merliah's hair turns pink and she can breathe underwater at age 16.
  • Punny Name:
    • The underwater stores are puns on real stores.
    • Merliah is a pun on "Maria".
  • Refusal of the Call: Merliah completely rejects her heritage at first, and wants to return to the surface as soon as possible.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Eris is named after a Greek goddess of chaos and discord.
  • Royalty Superpower: Only those of the royal family can spin Merillia.
  • Rule of Three: Merliah must find three things to end Eris' reign.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: A fish is cast into Eris' whirlpool to show she's a threat.
  • Scenery Porn: The underwater scenes are very pretty.
  • Seers: The Destinies, a play on the mythological Fates.
  • Super Cell Reception: Or wristwatch in this case. Liah's watch gets surprisingly strong signals while in the depths of the ocean whenever she video chats Fallon and Hadley for help.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Merliah seems to express legitimate sympathy and concern for Eris after realizing that Eris, like her, feels like an outcast.
  • Those Two Girls: Kayla and Xylie the fashion designer mermaids.
  • Totally Radical: The surfing announcer.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Eris, though it's partially due to everyone being terrified of her.
  • Un-Sorcerer: Despite being of royal blood, Eris can't spin Merillia. This made her very jealous.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: Merliah, Hadley, and Fallon spend the whole film in bikinis.
  • Waif Prophet: The Destinies.
  • World-Healing Wave: Calissa's Merillia restores the ocean.

What makes you different just might be your greatest strength.

Video Example(s):


Eris Festival

Eris traps Queen Calissa in jail, and forcefully replaces her. Now, she is a (possibly communist) dictator and she has random appearances to assimilate people into her cult-like rules.

How well does it match the trope?

2.25 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheCoup

Media sources:

Main / TheCoup