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Western Animation / Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper

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Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper is the fourth in the 2000's Barbie film series and is billed as the first ever Barbie Musical.

It stars Barbie as both Anneliese and Erika, a princess and a peasant. After a chance meeting, the two become quick friends due to their similarities. However, with the kingdom's finances falling, Anneliese is engaged to Dominick, the king of a neighbouring kingdom, despite her love for her tutor. When the queen's scheming advisor Preminger arranges for Anneliese to be kidnapped so the marriage to King Dominick will not go through, Anneliese's tutor Julian arranges for Erika to replace Anneliese until the real princess is found.


Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Actually, I Am Him: Upon their first meeting, Erika comments that Anneliese has the same name as the princess.
  • Adult Fear: The poor Queen first believes that Anneliese ran away (she was actually kidnapped), and then, after thinking she's been returned home, safe and sound, she finds out that this is actually an impostor. Preminger then tells her Anneliese was killed by said impostor, and a trusted tutor. Of course, Anneliese is alright and manages to escape, but not for a lack of trying on Preminger's part.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Preminger plans to marry Anneliese, and is clearly a lot older than her. It does not actually have much to do with romance, though.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Wolfie. He even barks!
  • Almost Kiss: Dominick and Erika-masquerading-as-Anneliese.
  • Altar Diplomacy:
    • Queen Genevieve arranges Anneliese's marriage to Dominick so his wealth can revitalize her kingdom's failing economy. On Dominick's end, it's briefly mentioned that the two kingdoms would be joined after the wedding, making him king of both.
    • Preminger's plan to become king revolves around this; his original intent was to use his (stolen) wealth as a bargaining chip for Anneliese's hand. When his original plan goes off the rails, he instead brokers a similar deal with Queen Genevieve.
  • Animal Motifs: Pink and blue butterflies for our pink and blue heroines.
  • Animal Talk: Serafina and Wolfie talk to each other in English for the audience's benefit, but to the in-universe humans it just sounds like meowing.
  • Animated Actors: Played straight in the credits.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: It's downplayed and definitely intentional, but when Erika tries talking like a princess she's very formal and stops using contractions.
  • Arranged Marriage: Anneliese and Dominick. Neither is happy about it, though Dominick warms to the idea after hitting it off with Anneliese (actually Erika in disguise).
  • Babies Ever After: Serafina and Wolfie.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Preminger, because he's evil. His henchmen, because they're just that stupid.
  • Bad Boss: Madame Carp is awful to Erika and the other dressmaker. Preminger is also pretty nasty to his cronies, but they still seem to like him quite a bit.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Preminger's thugs use this on Anneliese, and later to capture Julian when he confronts the former.
  • Batman Gambit: Anneliese's fondness for her cat is used to lure her to her kidnappers.
  • Big Bad: Preminger.
  • Big "NO!": Queen Genevieve lets one loose when she thinks Anneliese has been killed in a mine collapse.
  • Beauty Mark: Midas and Madame Carp both have them.
  • Because Destiny Says So: "But FATE decreed they would..."
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Anneliese creates one to escape her kidnappers.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Preminger seems to think Anneliese acts cold to him in order to hide her attraction. While we never see her treat him badly, it could be that she was just so happy to be rescued from Madame Carp’s that she didn’t really care who he was.
  • Be Yourself: Erika tells her cat to do this (The Cat's Meow)
  • Book on the Head: Erika, while practicing to impersonate Anneliese, once walks with a book on her head during her Training Montage song - and immediately succeeds.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Preminger's two henchmen.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Erika alludes to this trope in the song "If You Love Me For Me" which begins 'Once a lass met a lad...'
  • Brainy Brunette: Julian is a male example. Erika, though she lacks education, is far from stupid, either, given she's able to convince everyone she's Anneliese, even her mother, and escape from a dungeon.
  • Cassandra Truth: No, guys, she really is Princess Anneliese. Seriously!
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted. Wolfie and Serafina are perfectly sweet and nice, and the mean animal is Preminger's pet poodle, Midas.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Erika walks into the closet in one gown and out of it in another almost immediately.
  • Chastity Couple: Both Erika/Dominick and Anneliese/Julian are pretty chaste, but the latter even more so. Where Erika and Dominick embrace and hold hands multiple times and even get an Almost Kiss, Anneliese and Julian only hug once and hold hands in the carriage. Could be justified due to the 18th century-ish setting and them being used to their social class keeping them at distance.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
  • Commonality Connection: Anneliese and Erika form this, first over the fact that they are nearly identical and then when they realize that they are both unable to do what they really want because of external circumstances—Erika cannot pursue her dream career as a singer due to crippling debt, while Anneliese must forsake her passion for science and her love for Julian because of her duty to the kingdom.
    • Downplayed and subverted with Julian and Preminger—both are peasants by birth who worked their way up to positions of trust in the palace, but they show nothing but dislike toward each other.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Anneliese and Erika are born at the exact same second and look exactly alike aside from their hair colors.note 
  • Cool Crown: Anneliese, but Erika gets a symbolic one made of flowers.
  • Crowd Song: The very last number.
  • Censor Suds: The bath scene with Erika makes sure to not show her boobs, cleavage or other privates... well, her entire body is covered.
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Julian does this after Anneliese unties him.
  • Damsel in Distress: Anneliese pretends to be one to get Nick and Nack to open the door.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Anneliese is kidnapped twice, and both times uses her brains to help herself escape.
    • Erika, too. She single-handedly escapes from jail, with only a little help from Dominick, and then nearly succeeds in getting away from him due to believing he's a guard.
  • Dark Reprise: Erika reprises "To Be a Princess" while locked up in jail, breaking into tears by the end.
  • Disappeared Dad: Both of our protagonists' fathers. While the queen is explicitly widowed, there's really no mention of what happened to Erika's dad.
    • Missing Mom: Or Erika's mother, for that matter. Both parents disappear after the prologue.
      • Though of course, it's the 1700s and they're peasants. (Peasants who are already in debt, at that.) It's entirely likely that they got sick, were unable to pay for medicine, and died, hence why Erika has to pay off the debt herself.
  • Distant Duet: "Free".
  • A Dog Named "Cat": Erika's dog-like cat is named Wolfie.
  • Dramatic Irony: When the queen protests "Do you think I don't know my own daughter?" While her daughter has been kidnapped and replaced with an Identical Stranger.
    • Also, King Dominick telling Erika that one of the things he likes about her is how she's "honest, no pretenses"... while she's masquerading as Anneliese. This is especially amusing given his own fondness for disguises.
  • Dumb Blonde: One of Preminger's henchmen.
  • Emergency Impersonation: Julian brought Erika in to pose as Anneliese to keep King Dominick's ambassador from calling off her Arranged Marriage and buy time for him to mount a proper search. Then he's captured by Preminger's henchmen, leaving Erika stuck in her role, and Erika falls hard for Dominick...
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • "Free", the opening song, revolves around Anneliese and Erika's shared dissatisfaction with their current lives. It also highlights the difference in their personalities; while Anneliese is resigned to marrying King Dominick for the good of the kingdom, Erika is determined to pay off her debts so she can get away from Madame Carp and pursue the career she's always dreamed of.
    • Nick and Nack make their first appearance when Nack—the smarter of the two—berates Nick for throwing a worthless rock into a minecart with the gold they're stealing from the royal mine while himself overlooking its hidden value, setting the pattern for almost all of their future appearances.
    • Preminger almost immediately launches into his Villain Song, a hammy, over-the-top piece that perfectly encapsulates his large ego, ambition, and skill at Xanatos Speed Chess.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie takes place almost entirely over a three-day period.
  • Evil Chancellor: Preminger, of course!
  • Evil Laugh: Preminger cackles. His assistants guffaw stupidly.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: The heroines each wear one at the end.
  • Failed a Spot Check: An Establishing Character Moment for one of Preminger’s henchmen is putting a big ugly rock in the mine cart when they’re supposed to be collecting gold.
  • Fat Bitch: Madame Carp, of course!
  • Fauxshadowing: Early in the film, Anneliese is examining a piece of metal and identifies it as iron pyrite, or fool's gold. As a major plot point is Preminger's stockpile of stolen gold, you would expect this to be setting up a reveal that he's just mined a bunch of iron pyrite, but this never happens.
    • However, Preminger is later shown stealing the pyrite from Anneliese's desk, possibly foreshadowing the fact that he overlooked the valuable geodes left behind in the mine due to their appearing worthless.
  • Foregone Conclusion: There is a royal. There is also a peasant. They are identical. They switch places. Most people know this much through Popcultural Osmosis of the original story.
  • Formal Full Array of Cutlery: Erika is being taught in a song that "To be a princess, is to know which spoon to use."
  • Furry Reminder: Serafina chasing the mouse. Both the cats looking horrified when Julian and Anneliese let water into the cave.
  • Good Parents: Erika's parents took on a crushing debt to ensure that they could take care of her. Anneliese's mother obviously sympathizes with her misgivings over her Arranged Marriage, and gladly lets her marry the man she really loves instead after Anneliese finds a solution to the problem that made the arrangement necessary in the first place.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Preminger indulges in both French and Spanish in his Villain Song, in the form of Poirot Speak.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Anneliese.
  • Held Gaze: Between Dominick and Erika at the end of their Falling-in-Love Montage that uses the beautiful song "If You Love Me For Me."
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Some were written for the credits, featuring the Animated Actors rather than the people who voiced them.
  • Holding Hands: Both Julian and Anneliese and Dominick and Erika.
  • Hot for Teacher: Anneliese and Julian. Justified that he's her tutor rather than an actual teacher and appears to be pretty close to her age.
  • Identical Stranger: True to the original.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: The only way to tell Anneliese and Erika apart is the former is blonde while the latter is brunette and her parting is reversed, and Anneliese has a royal birthmark on her back shoulder.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Dominick does this.
  • Imagine Spot: We are witness to Preminger's plotting in the second song, first directly, and then through shadows on a wall.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The royal mines run out, leaving the queen, and by extension her country, totally broke.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Anneliese. First she asks Julian which house he used to live in before he moved to the castle, before he answers his family could only afford to rent one room (but he knows she didn't mean to be rude). Her part in the "Girl Like You" song also oozes of this: while Erika explains that she's an indentured slave, her only complaints are that she's marrying a stranger and would rather spend the day in her own private library rather than get a foot massage during her breakfast in bed. It helps that Anneliese herself clearly realizes how bad it sounds immediately after saying it.
  • "I Want" Song: "Free".
  • Jerkass: Madam Carp, who stole the money Erika earned from singing in public and plans to keep Erika for the rest of her life even though she had already paid more than half of her parents' debt. Her business eventually goes bankrupt when the castle stops buying from her.
  • King Incognito: Dominick pulls two. Erika lampshades it.
    "You... do love disguises, don't you?"
    • This also happens to Anneliese, but sort of... against her will. She tries to convince people she's the princess more than once, but gets pooh-poohed.
  • Large Ham: Preminger, Nick, Dominick's ambassador.
  • Leitmotif: Many of them:
    • Preminger's Villain Song is played in almost every scene he appears in.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The movie can give the impression that the queen only has the one dress, seeing as she wears it in every appearance, including her wedding. Somewhat justified by the movie being set in a time period when even royalty would only own a handful of outfits at a time, but it still appears odd given every other major character is shown in at least two different outfits.
    • Erika mentions at one point that she only owns one dress (justified, seeing as she's very poor and up to her eyes in debt). This changes after she begins masquerading as Anneliese.
  • Literal-Minded:
    "Who does [the Queen] think she is?!"
    "The queen?"
  • Love at First Note:
    • Dominick overhears Erika singing, and that's it — his heart is gone.
    • A platonic version occurs between Anneliese and Erika, with the former being drawn to the latter because of her gorgeous voice.
  • Love at First Sight: Dominick says he didn't want to marry a stranger, but when he sees Erika posing as Anneliese, he encourages his ambassador to agree to go forward with the wedding, although he's never spoken to her. She, for her part, is temporarily struck speechless when they are introduced.
  • Love Confession: Anneliese gives one to Julian.
  • Man Versus Career: Averted! The ending shows that Erika got to have both, first turning down Dominick's marriage proposal so she can fulfill her dream of becoming a singer. He's understandably sad, but agrees, and gives her a ring. After a while of touring, Erika comes back and marries him happily.
  • Meaningful Name: Midas the dog cares a lot for his gold tooth.
    • Wolfie is a cat that acts and sounds like a dog.
  • Mooks: They're also Those Two Guys.
  • The Musical: Of course.
  • Nice Guy: Herve the horse is quite friendly and helpful to the other animal characters (and, by extension, their human owners) throughout the movie. However, at the climax, Preminger learns the hard way not to push him too far.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Julian and Erika had good intentions when they had the latter pose as Anneliese to hide the real one's abduction, but it results in the real princess being denied entrance to the castle after escaping captivity and being mistaken for Erika at Madame Carp's emporium.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The girls' cats.
  • Not So Different: Erika and Anneliese get a whole song dedicated to their being the same sort of person, under their surface differences.
  • Oh, Crap!: Serafina substitutes "oh dear" when she realizes how bad Herve's cat-bucking aim is in the bloopers.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Dominick compliments Erika on being "honest, no pretenses" while she's posing as Anneliese.
  • Only One Name: Nobody in the cast is stated to have a last one, so maybe people in that kingdom simply don't use them.
  • Opening Narration: "Long ago, and far away..."
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Julian gets suspicious when he realizes that Anneliese's forged runaway letter is scented with lilac rather than rose.
  • Parents as People: The Queen. She's pushing Anneliese into a marriage she doesn't want with a man she doesn't even know, but she doesn't seem to be a bad mother. She understands why Anneliese isn't wild about her engagement, even apologizing to her about it, and only insists that Anneliese go through with it because the kingdom is in debt. She's perfectly fine with Anneliese marrying a commoner after the problem gets solved, though, and also doesn't get mad at her when she thinks Anneliese ran away to avoid having to marry Dominick, just asking that she doesn't do it again.
  • Patchwork Kids: Wolfie and Serafina's kittens all have either their mother or their father's pelt. Furthermore, we see one with white Serafina fur bark like his father, whereas one with Wolfie's coloration has Serafina's build.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Dominick thinks his engagement to Anneliese is an example of this trope, but she’s been kidnapped and replaced with a face double, and the woman he’s hitting it off with is Erika.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Both Erika and Anneliese wear one.
  • Plucky Girl: Despite being worked like a slave, Erika is cheerful and high-spirited.
  • The Power of Acting: Julian and Erika's plan wouldn't have worked for a second if Erika wasn't so good at passing herself off as Anneliese.
  • Prince and Pauper: Duh.
  • Princess Classic: Anneliese.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Anneliese spends most of her screen time in a pink dress.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Preminger, when there are too many people around for a full-out psychotic grin.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The queen wears a dress of pinkish-purple. Preminger wears a lot of deep purples, indicative of his desire to take over.
  • Rags to Royalty: Erika marries King Dominick
  • Rebellious Princess: Subverted Trope. Anneliese does not like her royal lifestyle, but pledges to “remain forever royal” in spite of her desire for freedom. It's partly because of this that Julian grows suspicious of Preminger's claim she ran away to avoid her duty.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Erika and Anneliese, respectively.
  • Rich Bitch: Madame Carp, Erika's supervisor.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Dominick and Julian, respectively, to Anneliese.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Anneliese and Erika become very close, very fast, and Erika's willing to play a role in a potentially life-threatening scheme (of course, since this is a Barbie movie, she only gets thrown in the dungeon when she gets found out, but still) for Anneliese's sake after only one meeting, and Anneliese is particularly fixated on Erika's beautiful voice. The ending all but states that the two remain lifelong best friends.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Anneliese at least has an oppressively busy schedule. It's managed by her...
  • Schedule Fanatic: One of Anneliese's servants. But it makes sense, actually, because it's his job to obsess about being on schedule.
  • Sissy Villain: Midas, and to a lesser extent, his owner, Preminger.
  • Slapstick: Midas crashing around with a bucket on his head.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: is employed against both of our leading ladies.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: This exact phrase is sung by Julian while teaching Erika how to act like a princess. It is later echoed by Erika after she has been arrested for impersonating the princess, and combined with Trying Not to Cry.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Preminger. He should probably just find new help, but then again the ones he has are pretty loyal to him...
  • Symbolism: The iron pyrite Anneliese classifies near the beginning of the movie and the geode she finds in the mine near the end. The pyrite symbolizes King Dominick and Preminger—both attractive marriage prospects from a political standpoint due to their wealth, but neither of whom Anneliese is interested in. The geode represents Julian, as she herself lampshades—"unassuming on the outside, but a treasure within."
    • Queen Genevieve's spectacles. Julian "misplaces" then when he introduces Erika as Anneliese, presumably to make it harder for her to see through the deception. The queen spends Erika's entire stay at the palace without them, representing her inability to see through Erika's disguise. She doesn't get them back until Preminger exposes Erika as an impostor. Then she wears them during the scene where Preminger essentially extorts her into marrying him in exchange for using his fortune to rebuild the kingdom's economy, when she finally sees the greed and ambition beneath his pretense of being a loyal adviser.
  • The Dutiful Son: Dutiful daughter, in this case. Anneliese is far from thrilled about her Arranged Marriage to King Dominick, but resolves to go through with it (and all the other royal duties she's not exactly fond of) for the sake of the kingdom.
  • Theme Naming: Nick and Nack.
  • They Do: Anneliese and Julian, Erika and Dominick, and Serafina and Wolfie.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Though neither of them are particularly frail or boyish, Erika is a bit more street-smart than Anneliese (what with being a commoner and all).
  • True Blue Femininity: Erika
  • Uptown Girl: While Anneliese and Serafina aren't really rich anymore, their relationships with Julian and Wolfie still have this dynamic, and it becomes the trope technically as well as in spirit when valuable geodes give the kingdom an income again.
    • Erika and Dominick are a gender-inverted example. She's a pauper and he's a King.
  • Villain Recruitment Song: The "How Can I Refuse?" reprise has Preminger convincing Queen Genevieve to marry him to save the kingdom from financial ruin.
  • Villain Song: "How Can I Refuse?"
  • Wakeup Makeup: Erika wakes up wearing a wig that is in perfect condition.
  • Wedding Deadline: Anneliese stops a wedding as her mother is halfway through the word "do".
  • Weddings for Everyone: See They Do.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Julian sings about Anneliese's.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of the movie, we are given no indication as to what may have happened to Preminger, Nick, and Nack.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The last minute or two of the film show the royal double wedding. Enough time has passed that Erika went on and returned from her desired singing tour.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The film's premise bears a startling resemblance to that of The Prisoner of Zenda, including the kidnapping of a member of the royal family by a would-be usurper, the Emergency Impersonation of said royalty by an Identical Stranger to prevent political scandal, and the impostor Becoming the Mask and falling in love with the original's betrothed.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: The henchmen try this in an attempt to stop Preminger from finding out that Anneliese has escaped. They do a pathetic job of it.
  • Work Off the Debt: Erika worked for Madame Carp because her parents borrowed money from Carp to support her.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Preminger is very good at revising his plans as the need arises.

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