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Western Animation / Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses

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"There is a difference only you can make."note 
Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses is a 2006 Direct to Video movie from Mattel about the story of 12 unusual princesses, based loosely on The Brothers Grimm tale of the same name.

Barbie stars in the movie as Princess Genevieve, the seventh of her kingdom's twelve princesses. She, her eleven alphabetically-named sisters (Ashlyn, Blair, Courtney, Delia, Edeline, Fallon, the twins Hadley and Isla, and then the triplets, Janessa, Kathleen and Lacey) and their father, King Randolph, live their lives as happily as possible after the death of the Queen. However, the free-spirited and cheerful girls are looked down on for their "ungraceful" behaviors, so Randolph summons his cousin, Duchess Rowena, to serve as their chaperone. Rowena quickly seizes control of the court, bans the girls' beloved dancing and singing and, with her Number Two Desmond, begins to brew a plan where she will poison King Randolph to death, get rid of the princesses, and reign as Queen.

The princesses find comfort in their late mother's favorite story, which tells of a magical kingdom where golden flowers grant wishes and princesses can dance at an enchanted pavilion for three nights. The princesses realize that the story contains clues about how to enter the magical kingdom from their own bedroom, by dancing on specific stones on the floor. Now inside the magical kingdom, the princesses discover that the water there possesses healing properties, which gives them hope to help their father, whose health is starting to fail. Soon they're joined by the handsome Royal Cobbler Derek, who has a huge crush on Genevieve, and his parrot Félix; together, the group must put the pieces of Rowena's plan together and stop her.

Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses shows examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: A Running Gag. Rowena never bothers to learn all the sisters' names (except Genevieve's). Forcing them all to wear the same drab clothing doesn't help her keep track of them, either. Courtney gets mistaken for Lacey, Edeline gets mistaken for Delia, and both Fallon and Kathleen get mistaken for Blair.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite all the sisters being heavily featured in advertising, only two of the sisters, Genevieve and Lacey, get any decent amount of screentime or Character Development. The rest of the sisters mostly serve as background characters with little development. You could remove around half of them, and the plot would not drastically change.
  • Alliterative List: At the beginning of the movie, there's a visitor from another kingdom and said visitor mentions several reasons his home kingdom is famous. All reasons start with the letter P.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: The sisters' names are all alphabetical, starting with A down to L. (Ashlyn, Blair, Courtney, Delia, Edeline, Fallon, Genevieve, Hadley, Isla, Janessa, Kathleen and Lacey).
  • Animated Armor: In the climax, Rowena uses the magic flower to bring two suits of armor to life.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Shine", a power ballad which plays over the closing credits. It's the first and only Barbie song to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy, but it lost to "Q Without U" from Between the Lions.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lacey saves some of the water from the magical world, which she uses in the climax to revive Randolph.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Duchess Rowena. She acts nice to the princesses at first, especially in front of their father, but soon begins to treat them cruelly, including banning them from enjoying their favorite pastimes, replacing their brightly colored dresses with dull, drab clothing, and forcing them to do servants' work after catching them in what she thought was a lie.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The triplets, Lacey (blonde), Janessa (brunette), and Kathleen (redhead).
  • Bookworm: Courtney, the third eldest sister, is always seen walking around with her nose in a book.
  • Bug Catching: This is Janessa's hobby. A minor Running Gag is that her pet insects keep escaping and she has to chase them down.
  • Cassandra Truth: Rowena initially doesn't believe the girls when they tell her about the magical world and how dancing there was the reason why their shoes were worn out, instead believing that the girls were sneaking out to dance with princes. It's only when Brutus accidentally discovers the code to the gateway which leads Rowena there does the villainess realize the girls were telling the truth.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The water from the magical world which heals anything it touches. Lacey uses it to save Randolph from dying.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each of the princesses' dresses is a distinct color:
    • Ashlyn: Violet
    • Blair: Red
    • Courtney: Royal blue
    • Delia: Green
    • Edeline: Orange
    • Fallon: Orchid pink
    • Genevieve: Hot pink
    • Hadley: Teal
    • Isla: Purple
    • Janessa: Sky blue
    • Kathleen: Tangerine
    • Lacey: Lilac
  • Cool Big Sis: Lacey looks up to Blair for her horseriding, Courtney for her literacy, Delia and Edeline for their sportsmanship, and Genevieve for her dancing.
  • Contrived Coincidence: This is how the girls find out that the magical entrance from their mother's story is real - when Lacey stumbles and drops her book, it ends up landing just by the corresponding flower on the floor, turning the girls' attention to the fact that all of them have a flower tile corresponding to their copies of the book.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Lacey, who trips and knocks things over several times throughout the movie.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fans that the girls were forced to use by Rowena are used again when Genevieve fans the flower's spell Rowena cast back onto her. Also, the magic water from the fountain.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Almost all of the girls' talents come in real handy when they invade the palace now run by Rowena.
    • Blair loves riding, so she and Courtney dismounts one of Rowena's guards, and she takes the horse to fetch the doctor for their father as fast as she can.
    • In their introduction, Delia and Edeline are playing croquet through the throne room, and Delia accidentally knocks off Randolph's crown by using "too much wrist" in the shot. In the finale they weaponise this to knock out two of Rowena's guards.
    • Isla and Hadley trick two guards into chasing them and running off a stone wall into a hedge using their stilts.
      • Even before they return to the palace, it's Courtney, the bookworm of the sisters, who reminds everyone that, according to their mother's tale, they could only go to the dancing pavilion three times before the world vanished.
  • Daddy's Girl: All twelve of the princesses adore their father and vice versa, but Genevieve and Lacey, are particularly close to him.
  • Dance of Romance: Performed at the end by Genevieve and Derek so that everyone can escape imprisonment in their mother's storybook land.
  • Dance Party Ending: Fittingly, the movie ends with everyone dancing to celebrate Genevieve and Derek's marriage.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: The main plot kicks off because Duchess Rowena believes dancing in unladylike and bans the princesses from doing it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Derek's parrot, Felix, often to his owner. Derek gets back at him later when he sells his horse instead of the parrot for Genevieve's mother's goblet.
    Derek: What's the matter, Felix? Nothing to say?
    Felix: Uh...thanks.
  • Disney Death: Randolph falls ill thanks to Rowena poisoning him, but before he fully passes away, he is healed by the water Lacey saved from the magical world.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Rowena realizes the princesses have been out dancing, she immediately jumps to the conclusion that they're dancing with princes. This doubles as a Shout-Out to the original fairy tale.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The opening introduction of the princesses, where nearly all of them end up interrupting the King Randolph's audience with an emissary from another kingdom, who was inviting them to a ball. King Randolph takes it all in good humour, despite being a little thrown by their antics.
    • The triplets — Janessa, Kathleen and Lacey — run in to show their father the blue beetle that they found. Lacey is chasing after the other two and trying to catch up, establishing her as the youngest and most insecure of her sisters.
    • Delia and Edeline are playing croquet through the room, and Delia's shot accidentally knocks off Randolph's crown.
    • Isla and Hadley enter on their stilts and end up toppling over when the triplets crash into them.
    • The other sisters are introduced coming in to dinner: Ashlyn, the eldest and most demure, greets her father and sits down; Courtney bumps into a chair because she's got her nose in a book; and Genevieve is late but arrives in time to catch Twyla before she falls off the table.
  • Faceplanting into Food: Hadley faceplants into her breakfast after staying up all night dancing.
  • Flower Motifs: Each of the princesses has a special flower they're associated with, and said flowers can be seen on their gowns and on their individual copies of their mother's storybook.
    • Ashlyn: Geranium
    • Blair: Larkspur
    • Courtney: Forget-me-not
    • Delia: Sunflower
    • Edeline: Honeysuckle
    • Fallon: Camellia
    • Genevieve: Pink rose
    • Hadley: Narcissus
    • Isla: Lily of the valley
    • Janessa: Jonquil
    • Kathleen: Daisy
    • Lacey: White lily
  • Everyone Can See It: Genevieve's sisters tease her about her obvious interest in Derek. Derek's parrot encourages him to confess his feelings for Genevieve but Derek believes he has no chance with a princess.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: At the end of the Dance of Romance, Genevieve's dress flares up with sparkles due to the magic.
  • Facepalm: Derek does one near the end of the film when Felix says something embarrassing.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Hadley and Isla often talk like this.
  • Gemstone Motifs: Each of the twelve sisters have a favorite gemstone that they are associated with.
    • Ashlyn: Garnetnote 
    • Blair: Rubynote 
    • Courtney: Sapphirenote 
    • Delia: Peridotnote 
    • Edeline: Citrinenote 
    • Fallon: Pearlnote 
    • Genevieve: Pink opalnote 
    • Hadley: Topaznote 
    • Isla: Emeraldnote 
    • Janessa: Aquamarinenote 
    • Kathleen: Pink diamondnote 
    • Lacey: Amethystnote 
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: The twelve heroines' departed mother, Queen Isabella, was described as a good queen and loving mother. They actually outrank the film's villain, Duchess Rowena, but Rowena's schemes lead to her on the throne and the twelve sisters have to work together to save their father and take back the kingdom.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Zig-zagged. Queen Isabella, the princesses' late mother, is described as a good queen. Queen Rowena, however, fits the trope perfectly, hiring her own mercenaries to serve as guards and ordering the princesses imprisoned on a flimsy pretext so they can't threaten her reign.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Ashlyn has a lavender motif and is the most graceful of the sisters.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: The princesses sing a birthday song they made up to the triplets. It gets rudely interrupted when Rowena barges in on them.
  • Heal It with Water: The water in the magical world possesses healing powers; Genevieve uses it to heal a cut on Lacey's foot, and Lacey saves some of it to heal Randolph from Rowena's poison.
  • Held Gaze: Derek and Genevieve have one where they stare into each other's eyes before coming together for a dance.
  • High-Class Fan: One of Duchess Rowena's lessons for the princesses is how to gracefully flutter a hand fan. Most of them succeed, though Fallon struggles to open her fan, and Courtney flutters hers too hard.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Twyla believes that she is a descendant of Indian tigers.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Lacey admits that she feels inferior to her older siblings with their wealth of talents. Compared to them, she doesn't think she has anything unique to offer.
  • Involuntary Dance: At the end, Rowena tries to inflict this onto Genevieve, but she uses her fan to blow the spell back.
  • Longing Look: Derek gives this frequently to Genevieve, most often when she isn't looking.
  • Loophole Abuse: Using the bedroom portal to the magical world was the only way the princesses could escape their room without Desmond seeing them.
  • Magical Seventh Son: Genevieve is the seventh of the girls and The Heroine.
  • Maniac Monkeys: Brutus, Rowena's pet monkey, causes nothing but grief to the princesses and Twyla. He tends to laugh maniacally while causing trouble.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: As in the original fairy tale, the story focuses on twelve royal sisters, which includes two sets of twins and a set of triplets.
  • Missing Mom: Queen Isabella, the princesses' mother, died before the movie begins.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: The princesses' birthday celebration for the triplets is suddenly interrupted when Rowena barges in on them.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Rowena assumes the princesses have been sneaking out to dance with princes. In the original fairy tale, the princesses really were dancing with princes, though in the movie they're just indulging in a beloved pastime Rowena has forbidden.
    • At one point, some of the princesses wish for princes to dance with. The magic obliges by animating statues to act as partners for them.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: A common element in the Barbie movies. We don't even see Derek and Genevieve kiss at the end at their wedding.
  • Misplaced Accent: All the characters talk with Canadian or British accents (or an Indian accent in Felix's case). The story is based on a German fairytale.
  • Parrot Pet Position: Derek's pet parrot Felix, naturally.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The princesses all wear brightly-colored dresses with lace trim and flowers before Rowena forces them to change into drab clothes. They later get slightly modified versions of these dresses back when they ask the magic of the hidden world to outfit them for ballet.
  • The Power of Love: This is implied to be what frees the princesses when Rowena destroys the gateway and traps them in the magic world. It takes a Dance of Romance between Derek and Genevieve to open a new exit.
  • Princess Classic: Most of the princesses are modeled on this, Genevieve most of all. They might be active and sporty to the point where their father brings in a tutor to make them more ladylike, but they love their father and take their duties as princesses seriously.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Genevieve and Fallon both wear pink dresses.
  • Proper Lady: Ashlyn, the eldest sister and therefore the heir to the throne, is very demure and polite.
  • The Quiet One: Ashlyn and Courtney rarely speak — Ashlyn is implied to be a demure Proper Lady, while Courtney is always lost in a book.
  • Race Against the Clock: The last third of the film becomes this as the poisoning tea Rowena gives Randolph becomes worse and more effective.
  • Rack Focus: During the birthday scene, we get a close-up of Twyla which shifts its focus to Brutus spying on the princesses from outside the door in the background.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Twyla. She wouldn't be as marketable otherwise.
  • Rule of Three: The magical world can only be visited three times, then it will vanish forever.
  • Same-Sex Triplets: Janessa, Kathleen, and Lacey, the youngest of the twelve princesses, are triplets. While they look very alike, they don't seem to be identical since they have different hair colors.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fallon is ecstatic when she realises that Derek and Genevieve have to dance together.
    Fallon: Oh, how romantic!
  • Single-Minded Twins: Hadley and Isla are basically a unit, and usually speak by one starting and the other ending.
  • Standard Hero Reward: This trope is implied to be the reason Princess Genevieve's father allowed her to marry Derek the royal cobbler.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Desmond obviously has something for Rowena. She has nothing but contempt for him.
  • Talking Animal: Derek's parrot Felix. Also Twyla and Brutus, but only when humans are not around.
  • Theme Naming: The princesses, from oldest to youngest, have names beginning with consecutive letters of the alphabet: Ashlyn, Blair, Courtney, Delia, Edeline, Fallon, Genevieve, Hadley, Isla, Janessa, Kathleen, and Lacey.
  • The One Guy: Derek's the only male on the princess team. Well, if you don't count the parrot.
  • True Blue Femininity: Courtney, Janessa, and Hadley all wear shades of blue.
  • Tomboy Princess: Blair, Isla, Hadley, and Janessa all have hobbies that aren't particularly feminine. Blair likes riding horses, Isla and Hadley run around on stilts, and Janessa collects insects. Justified in the case of the latter three, as they're among the youngest princesses and it would be odd if they didn't act like rambunctious kids at least some of the time.
  • Uptown Girl: Royal Cobbler Derek loves Princess Genevieve but doesn't believe he has any chances with her. "She's a Princess."
  • Wham Shot: The scene where Rowena dumps the elixir meant to help Randolph into a plant, which reveals she's poisoning him.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: The princesses, especially Genevieve and Lacey, to Rowena when she brushes off their claims about the magical world.

There’s a difference only you can make.


Sleepy Hadley

Princess Hadley can't stay awake along enough to eat.

How well does it match the trope?

3.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / FaceplantingIntoFood

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