BARNEY’S GREAT ADVENTURE is a colorful, entertaining movie designed for younger children, especially preschoolers. Although it will not attain classic status as a children’s film, it displays several positive values.
The story of BARNEY’S GREAT ADVENTURE begins when the parents of nine-year-old Cody Newton, his little sister Abby and baby brother Fig drop the children off for a week of fun at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm in Merrivale. Abby, played by Diana Rice, has brought along her best friend Marcella, played by Kyla Pratt. The two girls play with a stuffed plush toy of Barney the Dinosaur while riding in the car. They tell Cody, played by Trevor Morgan, that Barney can walk and talk, and Cody replies in disdain, “That’s kids’ stuff.”
“That’s all right,” his sister replies. “We are kids!”
Later, when the girls ask Cody to play “pretend” with them, he says sarcastically, “Great, then you can pretend you’re playing with me.”
Abby and Marcella keep trying to entice Cody to join in their fun by using their Barney toy as bait. Cody steals the toy from the girls and hides it in the bathtub behind a shower curtain. This forces Abby and Marcella to use their imaginations to conjure up the concealed Barney. To everyone’s amazement, including Cody’s, Barney transforms from the small toy to a 6-foot tall, walking, talking and singing dinosaur. “You can be almost anywhere if your imagination takes you there,” Barney tells his newfound friends.
At first, Cody is skeptical about the dinosaur’s claim, but he concedes that night and makes a wish upon a star: “I wish I could have a real adventure and do things I’ve never done before.” The next day, he and the girls find a large mysterious egg with five colored rings on its shell in the barn. One of the rings changes colors before their eyes.
The children take the egg to an eccentric bird-watcher, Mildred Goldfinch, played by Renee Madeleine Le Guerrier. An old book tells them there is a dream-maker inside the egg, but it won’t hatch until the last ring changes color in the spot where they first found it. Regrettably, they lose the egg when it falls into the truck of the man who brings birdseed to Miss Goldfinch. Barney and the children go chasing after the egg in a homemade chariot, but the egg keeps eluding their grasp until the very end of the movie. During their adventure, they not only meet Barney, they also meet two of Barney’s companions, BJ and Baby Bop.
The audience at the screening for BARNEY’S GREAT ADVENTURE was filled with preschoolers and their parents. Several times during the movie, Barney and Baby Bop asked the children in the audience to participate in the action, either by singing or by helping Baby Bop find her little yellow blankie (that is short for blanket for those who forget their childhood or don’t have children of their own). Most of the children responded, even though the screening was at night.
Filled with good, clean fun, BARNEY’S GREAT ADVENTURE displays several positive values for the younger set, not the least of which are friendliness and kindness. Most virtuous of all is the big purple fellow himself, who is always kind, considerate and caring with the children who are his friends and even with those, like Cody, who aren’t. At one unexpected but beautiful point in the movie, Grandpa sings “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to Grandma, showing the kind of marital love and commitment that is all too rare for many children in today’s world.
One of the keys to the Barney phenomenon, and perhaps a major reason for Barney’s popularity, is the stress Barney puts on using your imagination and following your dreams. These things are not necessarily wrong, within certain limits. Indeed, they can be extremely useful when we learn how to think creatively or when we plan the future. Although Barney tells the children in the movie that they can be “almost anywhere” when they use their imaginations but not “anywhere at all,” he does tell them at the end that they can do anything. This paints an unreal, rosy picture of people and their ability to change the world without the power of God. Consequently, despite the G-rating to this movie, parents should take care how they let their children soak up the whole philosophy behind BARNEY’S GREAT ADVENTURE.
(BB, Ro, H) Moral worldview with romantic elements that paint a rosy picture of people & their ability to change the world without the power of God.
BARNEY'S GREAT ADVENTURE is a colorful, entertaining movie designed for younger children, especially preschoolers. In the movie, Barney tries to make friends with a young boy named Cody, who is staying on his grandparents' farm with his little sister Abby and her best friend Marcella. "You can be almost anywhere if your imagination takes you there," Barney tells them. At first, Cody is skeptical about the dinosaur's claim, but he relents and makes a wish upon a star: "I wish I could have a real adventure and do things I've never done before." The next day, he and the girls find a large mysterious egg with five colored rings on its shell in the barn. They lose the egg, however, and the rest of the movie involves Barney helping them retrieve the egg by using their imaginations and developing persistence.
Filled with good, clean fun, BARNEY'S GREAT ADVENTURE displays several positive values, such as friendliness and kindness. Most virtuous of all is the big purple fellow himself, who is always kind, considerate and caring with the children who are his friends and even with those who aren't. Regrettably, the movie contains non-biblical elements that paint an unreal, rosy picture of people and their abilities and promote magical thinking.