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Western Animation / Barbie: The Pearl Princess

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"Always leave things better than you found them."

Barbie: The Pearl Princess is a Direct-to-DVD Barbie movie released in March 2014, though it had gotten a limited theatrical release in some theaters. In the Barbie filmography, it is preceded by Barbie & Her Sisters in a Pony Tale and followed by Barbie and the Secret Door.

Barbie stars as Lumina, a mermaid girl with the power to manipulate pearls with her mind. While she's rarely ventured outside her secluded home, Lumina has always wanted to, and soon finds herself working in a mermaid salon customizing fabulous hairstyles. When Lumina gets the chance to dance at the royal ball, it seems her dreams will come true—until the evil Caligo blackmails her adopted mother, Scylla, into poisoning the king and helping him claim the throne. Lumina and her friends must work together to stop him, and her pearl powers may prove key to saving everyone.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Caligo doesn’t bother raising his son’s self-confidence nor respecting his dream career as a botanist. All he cared is putting Fergis on the throne and killing the royals in charge.
  • Animation Bump: The shots of a furious Lumina during the final battle are much more fluid than any other angry expression shown in past films.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Scylla, a reformed witch who's forced into being evil.
    • Also Fergis, who has no interest in his father's ambitions and wants to be a botanist.
  • The Atoner: Scylla wishes to reform for her evil deeds and raised Lumina rather than kill her.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Light Up The World."
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Not quite, seemed the ball announcing who is the heir apparent. It seemed the ball is celebrating the Crown Prince Fergis. In the end, it's Lumina's coronation as Crown Princess.
  • Badass Finger Snap: Used several times by Lumina when commanding the pearls.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: The eels use a literal bag to capture Lumina and Kuda.
  • Benevolent Boss: Madame Ruckus runs the Salon de Mer and treats her employees well, surprising them with tickets to the ball and defending Lumina from the guards while she tries to save her aunt.
  • Big Bad: Caligo, who leads the Trident Squad and a gang of eels.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Caligo imprisoned Lumina, not once thinking of the Royalty Superpower could help break her out. He really should have kill or knock her unconscious for his plan to work.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: After some confidence boost, Fergis bluntly told his dad he wanted to be a botanist to his face and shutting his mouth with his plant.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Fergis wants to be a botanist, and it's this interest that helps him save Scylla when she's poisoned and needs an antidote.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Lumina and Kuda are kidnapped by Caligo and the eels. Once imprisoned, Lumina uses a supply of pearls to trick the eels into fighting each other, grabs the key, and escapes on her own.
  • Dance Party Ending: The movie ends on one as the merpeople celebrate Lumina's return.
  • Death Glare: Lumina gives one to Caligo after he poisons Scylla.
  • The Dragon: Murray the eel is this to Caligo; he does a lot of the grunt work since Caligo is often at the palace.
  • Evil Prince: Caligo wants Fergis to be this, but it's averted since he has no interest in ruling the kingdom or his father's ambitions.
    • Caligo himself may count, as he is either Queen Lorelei's brother or the husband of King Nereus' sister. Either way, he would have some kind of royal title.
  • Fashion-Shop Fashion Show: Lumina and her friends buy ballgowns and have a fashion show, set to the song "Mermaid Party!"
  • Expy: Caligo is actually a combination of Ariana and Dame Devin especially the former's wishing to forcing her children to marry the prince, poisoning people and taking over the kingdom while the latter's teaching students, murdering the protagonist's family and making her daughter to become royalty.
  • The Fashionista: Lumina loves to create new hairstyles and clothing, and when she works at a hair salon, she inspires the other workers to try new things.
    • Madame Ruckus, an octopus who owns said hair salon.
  • Fetch Quest: Lumina goes to the ball to return Scylla's invitation to her.
  • Find the Cure!: After Scylla is poisoned, they must find the antidote. Luckily, Fergis knows what it is.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Lumina makes good use of her pearls in combat.
  • I Am Who?: Lumina had no idea she was royalty.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Downplayed. Fergis is a stereotypical nerd with the way how his character comes off while his dad is muscular in comparison. However, his dad doesn't even do his own dirty work, relying on manipulation and his own status as a possible royal to help him.
  • The Masquerade: Lumina was raised to avoid using her pearl powers in public for fear of danger.
  • Meaningful Name: Lumina's name is Latin for "brilliant light."
    • In contrast, Caligo's name is Latin for "darkness" or "fog."
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: Lumina is mistaken for the salon's new stylist.
  • Mother Makes You King: Gender-inverted with Caligo and Fergis. It seemed after the princess, Fergis is next in the line for the throne.
  • Mundane Utility: Lumina uses her color-changing pearl powers to style hair and tails, and Madame Ruckus uses her tentacles to style hair.
  • Obviously Evil: Caligo is half-shark.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Lumina gets a multicolored tail.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Caligo has ordered Scylla to poison the king's glass, but his and the king's cups are switched. He resolves it by spilling the king's glass and offers his own.
  • Poisonous Person: Spike the stonefish. Lumina helps him by using pearls to cover his spikes.
  • Punny Name: Murray the eel, a pun on moray eel.
  • Rags to Royalty: A Sleeping Beauty example. Scilla was forced to murder Lumina as a baby by Caligo, but she had a change of heart and secretly raised her.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Lumina discovers she's the missing princess in the climax.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Caligo is named after the Greek mother of Chaos, and Scylla is named after the sea goddess from the Odyssey.
  • Reused Character Design: Several fish were recycled from Barbie in a Mermaid Tale and Barbie in a Mermaid Tale 2, though with different coloring.
  • Royal Blood: Lumina, much to her surprise. Caligo and Fergis have to be this since the king and queen didn't put up much a fight, announcing who is to be the next ruler.
  • Royalty Superpower: Lumina's pearl powers.
  • Scenery Porn: Even in the teaser, the underwater shots are beautiful, and in the movie they're even more beautiful.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: A male version with Fergis, who becomes more handsome after Lumina fixes his hair.
  • Tranquil Fury: Lumina enters this state after Scylla is poisoned. She gives Caligo a Death Glare and focuses on taking him down.
  • Transformation Sequence: Lumina has one when she is given the Pearl of the Sea and is revealed to be the missing princess.
  • Under the Sea: The movie takes place entirely underwater, so everyone is either a fish or a mermaid/merman.
  • Womb Level: Lumina and Kuda travel inside the skeleton of a great sea beast, which starts to collapse once Kuda bumps one of its ribs.

Always leave things better than you have found them.