Disney Home Video kindly sent me this DVD, in exchange for an honest review.
Recommend this product?
I figured, going in, that this movie would be closely connected with Peter Pan, as either a prequel or a sequel. There are connections, but indirect ones, and it is neither a prequel nor a sequel, although this story would pre-date the Peter Pan story, and Wendy does get a brief cameo appearance.
So, what is this movie, then? It tells us the story of how fairies come to be, what they do, how they are organized, and where they live, with Tinker Bell being the prime focus and example.
Well, what do fairies do, then? This movie lovingly and lyrically and lushly shows us how they direct and guide many of the small miracles of Nature, like the coloring of spring flowers and autumn leaves, and the shaping of snowflakes. The connection with Nature is strongly emphasized, and the movie can be seen as an ode to these small wonders that surround us. I can see it inspiring young children to see things around them they never before noticed.
The fairies live in Pixie Hollow, which is portrayed with lush, vibrant colors and wonderful detail.
Characters - I found the characters engaging, and especially enjoyed seeing that they, in their personalities had a few flaws, and differed quite widely. Some were not particularly bright, one was a bit stern and aloof, one was friendly but still distant one was quite narcissistic, Terrence (a friend to Tinker Bell) needed a self-esteem boost, and Tinker Bell struggled to find her place in Pixie Hollow. There were no dramatic transformations of personalities, but most of them worked through their flaws.
Animation - Of the Disney movies I have watched, Bambi still has the best animation, but I think Tinker Bell might be a close second. The colors are rich and vibrant, and the motion of the characters is fluid and credible.
Mae Whitman - Tinker Bell
Kristin Chenoweth - Rosetta
Raven Symone - Iridessa
Lucy Lio - Silvermist
America Ferrera - Fawn
Jane Horrocks - Fairy Mary
Jeff Bennett - Clank
Rob Paulsen - Bobble
Pamela Adlon - Vidia
Anjelica Huston - Queen Clarion
Steve Valentine - Minister of Spring
Kathy Najimy - Minister of Summer
Richard Portnow - Minister of Autumn
Gail Borges - Minister of Winter
America Young - Wendy Darling
Bob Bergen - Firelfies and Various characters
Jesse McCartney - Terence
Music - I am not sure there are any award-winning or highly memorable songs in this movie, but they are very nice pieces that fit the classic Disney song-mold just right. They add to the movie, and they would be good to hum along with. I can picture kids doing just that, especially upon repeat viewings.
Extras - The bonus features include a virtual tour of Pixie Hollow, a documentary-style animated video telling how fairies help create the wonders in Nature, and a DVD-ROM activity called Tinker Trainer, which I did not explore. There is also a making-of video showing how shots from Peter Pan were replicated in Tinker Bell, as well as how the fairies were based on the writings of J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan. And, we get an all-new music video by Selena Gomez, and a section on deleted scenes.
References to Peter Pan - There were a few references to Peter Pan. There is a very brief scene were a young Wendy gets a cameo role, and a few images seemed reminiscent of Disney’s movie version of Peter Pan. In one section of the bonus features, the filmmakers acknowledge that this near-replication of a few shots was done quite intentionally. However, all in all, Tinker Bell definitely got her own, distinct movie.
Conclusion - This movie is the first in a series of Tinker Bell movies. I wonder if the series will eventually lead up to Peter Pan.
This is a bit of a stretch, but watching this movie reminded me of one aspect of an excellent but little-known British science fiction novel, The Watch Below, by James White. In this novel, a group of support troops is stranded in a sunken cargo ship in the North Atlantic. They have almost unlimited supplies, but no ability to make contact outside the ship. They are there for years, and must find ways to occupy themselves and stay sane. One way they come up with is to tell each other well-known stories, and then create separate stories around supporting characters. Tinker Bell fits right into that last category, and is very well-done.
This movie is part of CaptainD's good movie write-off and Mark Carstair's Mickey Mouse Turns 80 write-off.
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