STUDIO: Disney Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 78 minutes
• Magical Guide To Pixie Hollow (interactive map)
• Ever Wonder (fairy PSA)
• Music Video (jailbait Selena Gomez’ “Fly to Your Heart”)
Peter Pan’s personal Pocket-Pussy procures her own pixie picture deal.
The Humans (Faeries)
Voices of: Mae Whitman, Kristin Chenoweth, Jane Horrocks, Anjelica Huston, Jesse McCartney, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone, Rob Paulsen, etc.
My preemptive strike against the inevitable “Why is CHUD reviewing this crap???” comments.
A fairy’s work is much more than, at first, it might appear. Suppose your broken clock ticks, though it hasn’t in a year. Perchance you find a toy you lost, or jingling bells you hear. It all means that one very special fairy might be near…
Give up? You may have noticed her own aisle in the toy store (somewhere between the Bratz dolls and the Littlest Pet Shop toys). Still not ringing a bell? Howbout… that lilliputian piece of Neverland ass that has introduced most every Disney product for the last 50+ years with a flick of her wand? I thought so. After a decade void of new additions to the Disney princess line (except for the cute lampoon, Enchanted), the House of Mouse has finally aimed its massive spotlight at one of its most popular and recognizable classic characters. Tinker Bell and the “Disney Fairy Initiative” have already started targeting young girls over the past couple years through licensing and publishing, and now they make their “Dreck to Video” (or is it?) debut.
When a baby laughs for the first time, a fairy is “born”. Tink’s origin is continued in the world of Pixie Hollow, when the new fairy arrives and is assimilated into the Tinker Fairy Guild via a “Harry Potter Sorting Hat-esque” ritual. You see, every fairy has their Smurfy role in bringing about the seasons on the Mainland. Some paint flowers, while others wake up hibernating varmints or sprinkle dew drops on spider webs. In classic Disney “princess” tradition (someday my prince will come and take me from this provincial town/chores and make me a part of his world), Tink is discontent with her station and longs to do something more beautiful / magical / important. She’d rather be making forces of nature instead of pots and kettles. Damn that wee folk caste system! Our revolutionary heroine shirks her work, auditions for the role of Nature Talent with the help of her new friends, causes her fair share of mishaps, and manages to save Spring… all to the tune of the Disney Channel’s very special brand of “Filk”.
According to legend (AKA substantiated rumor) this film had a rough gestation period. A change in format (started as 2D), false starts, re-casting (Brittany Murphy was originally cast as Tink), missed deadlines, poor testing, a ton of scrapped finished work, a bloated budget (as much as a Disney theatrical release), and simultaneous multiple versions after Pixar’s John Lasseter inserted himself into the creative process. None of the behind-the-scenes strife was illuminated on this disc. That’s what the internet is for. I’ve only read summaries of the original materials, but I’ll assume that when a disgusted Lasseter stormed out of earlier DisneyToon Studio presentations, the resulting final product is a major improvement over what could have been.
Well, it’s a damn sight better than those rival Barbie Fairytopia DVDs, I’ll tell you that much from experience (I’m a father of a 4 year old daughter), and I’m sure it MUST be superior to the Grimm-blaspheming Cinderella sequels (which will NOT get a spin under my roof). Tinkerbell follows the princess mold, but then skews it. Despite Tink’s dissatisfaction with her menial manual tasks, the morale of the tale is actually “Be proud of your talent. It makes you who you are.” Hear that, girls? Stop pining for a Charming rescue and get back to your chores! I kid, because “being true to yourself” is actually a motto I’d want my daughter to live by. Every fairy has their role in the machine called the Greater Good (the Greater Good), but unlike the equally communist Smurfs, PC Pixie Hollow is diverse in ethnicity and has a much improved co-ed ratio.
Tinkerbell’s palettes, voice-acting, and designs are all pleasant, but other than a respite for parents (it’s harmless fluff entertainment for their ankle-biters) and an example of textbook animation, it offers little for adults. We’re not the target demographic, CHUD readers, but if you have young daughters, they probably can’t wait for Tink to leave a steaming pile of pixie dust on their noggin. Yes, it’s a franchise (more like a Juggernaut), if your kid asks. There’s a trailer for the next entry on this DVD. Good luck tuning out your child’s high-pitched demands.
It was a lovely outing… UNTIL they stumbled upon the Food o’ the Gods bubbling up out of the ground. Then… shit (as they say) got real.
If you can tolerate this type of fair, the CGI Tinkerbell has an excellent 1.78:1 picture and 5.1 sound presentation (what you’d expect from Disney DVD). The cover art is iconic enough, but hates nature with its unnecessary cardboard slip-sleeve.
Special Features: Here’s where it gets screwy. I don’t know if it’s just the disc I received for review, but a few of the bonuses advertised on the back of the box were not available in any of the menus within. I did NOT find a “Creating Pixie Hollow” featurette or any “Deleted Scenes” anywhere (footage from past versions?). And the instructions for discovering the “Tinker Trainer” DVD-ROM activity proved fruitless. Therefore, I did not list them in the summary at the top of this review. Additionally, the “Magical Guide To Pixie Hollow” only allowed me to explore 3 spots on the map. My daughter wanted to check out the Autumn and Winter regions, but they didn’t seem navigatable. WTF? A bug in the authoring? The “Ever Wonder” short is a live-action look at how fairies brighten up the world around us (“The More You Know”). And an all-new music video and a ton of promos (of course) for other Disney product fill the leftover real estate.
3 out of 10 (disc)