"Tail makeover!"

As lame as most kids’ made-for-DVD movies are, I actually kind of like the Barbie movies.  They aren’t the quality of movies that come out in the theater, but they have interesting plots and some good lines.  They are definitely more tolerable than the Disney movie sequels that go straight to DVD, like the numerous and low-quality Aladdin and Cinderella sequels.  Or the really nonsensical “Pooh’s Heffelump Halloween” movie.  I got stupider just by watching that movie for 5 minutes.  My question is, why bother?  Disney makes great sequels that come out in theaters.  So why make cheap-o lame movies just for DVD?

But the worst is when a made-for-DVD movie becomes a book.  Since a 1 1/2 hour movie would be a really long children’s book, it ends up as a crappy summary of an already less than stellar movie.  My girls are currently watching “Barbie in a Mermaid Tale”.  It’s far from the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s entertaining.  The reason we actually rented the movie was that we had bought the book at a Scholastic book fair and my girls loved it.  It’s complete drivel.

*Spoiler Alert*  In the movie the human Merliah goes to the underwater world of Oceana and needs a fake tail to blend in with the mermaids.  The movie portrays this as a long scene wherein Merliah hides from the other mermaids while her dolphin friend Zuma tries to tell the other mermaids at the “tail shop” that they have a human in their midst.  The mermaids dance around and around to the song, “I’m Swimming on Sunshine” until one of them crashes into Merliah and discovers her.  They are confused and enamored by her toes and finally get an explanation by Zuma that Merliah is the half mermaid princess of Oceana.  The mermaids try to bow down to her but she won’t let them, saying that she doesn’t want to be their princess, she just wants to find a way to go back to her home in Malibu.  But she needs a tail to fake out the evil Eris who will try to kill her and take over the kingdom.  The mermaids say, “Tail makeover!”  and proceed to try outfits on Merliah including but not limited to a punk outfit and a pimp outfit before settling on the right one which is a beautiful sparkly purple and blue number.

The book dedicates one page to this scene:

“‘We’ll have to disguise your legs,’ Zuma told Merliah.  She didn’t want anyone to know that the young surfer was in Oceana–especially not Eris.

Zuma quickly brought merliah to the boutique run by her friends Xylie and Kayla.

‘Tail makeover!’ Xylie and Kayla exclaimed.”

That’s it.  The next page moves on quickly with, “At the palace…”

I’m sure that this is more than you ever wanted to know about any Barbie movie.  But the explanation was necessary to illustrate to you the true lameness of a book based on a made-for-DVD movie.  I caution you to not make the same mistake that I did.  Don’t ever buy one of these books no matter how much your kids beg you because you will be reading that claptrap over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

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