Tinker Bell (2008)

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Released 12-Nov-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Featurette-Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow (10.00) 1.78:1, 16x9
Featurette-Ever Wonder (3:51) : Live action 1.78:1, 16x9
Music Video
Featurette-Making Of-Creating Pixie Hollow (9:47), 1.78:1, 16x9
Deleted Scenes-6 scenes - four at story board stage (12:27), 1.78:1, 16x9
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 74:50
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:40) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bradley Raymond
Studio
Distributor
Disney
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Mae Whitman
Kristin Chenoweth
Raven-Symoné
Lucy Liu
America Ferrera
Jane Horrocks
Jesse McCartney
Jeff Bennett
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Joel McNeely
Ryan L. Carlson
Niki Carras


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hebrew Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Slovak Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Czech
Hungarian
Hebrew
Slovak
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis


    I had become quite jaded with the tiresome parade of direct-to-video "sequels" made to capitalise on the popularity of some of the major Disney cinema product. Think Aladdin 2, Jungle Book 2, Cinderella 2 ad infinitum. It was with some trepidation that I sat myself down - sans toddler - to watch the latest home video release from Disney, Tinker Bell. To my great surprise, and pleasure, this is quite a superior effort. With some originality in its conception, and spectacular technical execution, this feature devoted to Peter Pan's pretty little sidekick could very well have been a major theatrical release.

    The concept of this film is by no means unique, but there is something refreshing in the basic premise. The original story by Jeffrey M. Howard and Bradley Raymond is not a simple continuation of Tinker Bell's story, but rather a fleshing out of the character we all met in the original James M. Barrie classic. Perhaps there is a debt to the marvellously inventive novels of Gregory Maguire, who has dazzled readers of all ages with his Rosencrantz and Guildenstern style takes on classics of children's literature. Most notable of these has been his Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which tells us everything we didn't learn in The Wizard of Oz. Maguire has given similar treatments to Cinderella in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and to Snow White in Mirror Mirror. The storyline of Tinker Bell is not of this sophistication, but at least it does strive to deliver something new, rather than just rehash more of the same, a practice which  makes most sequels as predictable and as boring as their numerically sequential titles.

    At the opening of Jeffrey M. Howard's screenplay a new fairy is born in Pixie Hollow, a land of fairies offshore from "the mainland" (London) where the colourful little inhabitants strive to improve upon the existing beauty of nature  before each seasonal change is ushered into the expectant mainland. This newcomer learns that each and every fairy has a particular talent and that her particular talent is to "tinker", to invent helpful gadgets which will assist fairies to do their jobs more efficiently. (When is the last time you saw a "kids film" that actually taught the meaning of a word?) Tinker Bell - for as she does, so she is named - is frustrated by her subordinate role and longs to contribute something more impressive towards the fairies endeavours. Her striving to escape her station in life leads to a disaster that threatens to delay, or possibly even cancel, the coming of Spring.

    An impressive array of voice talent is utilised throughout the film, and here lies the major disappointment of the film. Despite the highly individual nature of some of the actors utilised, the animated characters do not take on the physical attributes or idiosyncrasies of these performers. Anjelica Huston makes most impact as Queen Clarion, with an amazing entrance into the film. Sadly, though, Tink's fairy friends all seem interchangeable, distinguished only by skin, hair and costume colour - undoubtedly big plusses when the doll merchandise starts appearing. Lucy Liu (Charlie's Angels), America Ferrera (TV's Ugly Betty)  and the unique Kristin Chenoweth (RV and Deck the Halls) barely register. It seems the height of wanton waste of talent to have the prodigiously talented Miss Chenoweth (star of everything from the Metropolitan Opera to TV's Pushing Daisies and - ironically - Broadway's original "Glinda" in Wicked) in a Disney film and not have her sing one note. The absence of  music is a gaping hole in the film. OK, after the inspired Enchanted it would be difficult to have a fairy "working song", but Tink's story screams out for song - and they had the talent to sing it!  There is much to enjoy in Joel McNeely's original score, with its flourishes of Celtic flavour, but where are the memorable Disney songs? With the absence of songs and strong characterisation of the fairies, the absence of an antagonist becomes another problem. Unlike Ariel and Snow White, Tink is not pitted against some evil female force, but rather struggles inwardly with her own refusal to accept who she truly is. This dispensing of the clichéd "baddie" found in most children's films is commendable, but when the proceedings are so bereft of other strong characters, a "wicked old witch" of some description would perhaps be welcome.

    As director, Bradley Raymond whips Tink's story along without giving us time to ponder over any plot or character deficiencies along the way. Technically the disc is gorgeous -as should be expected. The art work is frequently inspired, and rendered with astounding detail, the backgrounds being extremely lovely. The fairies may look a little too much like dolls, but the animation is frequently quite striking. Tinker Bell's features convey an astonishing range of emotion, and Mae Whitman (TV's Arrested Development) does a fine job of voicing the originally mute fairy. When the project was announced in 2006 Tink's voice was to be supplied by Brittany Murphy, but her replacement is but one of the changes wrought upon Tinker Bell during her troubled gestation period.

    Tinker Bell is certainly not a great Disney animated feature, but there is promise here that the further adventures of Peter Pan's fairy - and three other titles have already been slated for production - may improve as the series progresses. As it stands it will delight little girls from ages three to eight -and undoubtedly many brothers as well. Accompanying adults should also find enough to sustain them through the hour and a quarter running time.

 

 

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Transfer Quality

Video

         
    As should be expected of a 2008 production, the quality of this disc is stunning.
    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.
    The image is extremely clear and sharp, with an incredible amount of detail. The backdrops are as good as anything seen in any animated feature.
    The colours are glorious. Some frames are voluptuously coloured, while others are muted and subtle. This is a beautiful visual creation.
    I was totally unaware of any artefacts from the first frame to the last.
    This may be direct to video fare, but it compared favourably to the best of the animated features.


    The English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles were sampled and were found to be accurate.
    There are also subtitles in Czech, Hungarian, Hebrew and Slovak.

    This is a dual layer disc, and the layer change at 57:40 is seamless.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are five audio streams : English, Czech, Hungarian, Hebrew and Slovak. All five streams are in Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 384 Kbps.
    
    Although there is a lack of dynamic directionality, and a softness to the subwoofer contribution, the audio is generally excellent.
    Dialogue is perfectly clear, beautifully recorded and balanced.
    There were, as we should expect, no technical glitches of any sort.

    The music is beautifully recorded and presented, with a nice surround presence. The Celtic flavour to much of the score is most attractive.
    
            

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras


The disc has a satisfactory quota of extras, although they are less substantial than one could wish for. It is a shame that a new production, that experienced problems in its development, is not better chronicled than this.


Main Menu:
Presented in the ratio of 1.78:1 the menu uses attractive animation plus a musical theme from the film.
Options presented are :
        Play
        Scene Selection : A separate screen, with Celtic flavoured music from the film, offers sixteen chapters on four screens, all with thumbnails.       
        Bonus Features :  A separate screen with the animated ballerina music box, plus appropriate music, offers :
                                           Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow
                                           Ever Wonder
                                           "Fly to Your Heart " music video by Selena Gomez
                                     Placing your cursor on the ballerina unlocks further extras under the banner : To the Mainland. These extras are :
                                           Creating Pixie Hollow
                                           Deleted Scenes
       Set Up :  Languages : A separate screen without animation or music offers : English, Czech, Hungarian, Hebrew and Slovak.
                      Subtitles : English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Czech, Hungarian, Hebrew, Slovak.
       Fast Play
        
Bonus Features :

Featurette : Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow  

    Presented 1.78:1, and 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kbps, this is a beautifully constructed, narrated and animated  tour of Pixie Hollow. An area of interest is selected, Sunflower Meadow, Springtime Square or The Pixie Dust Tree, and Tinker Bell and Queen Clarion narrate a vigorous tour which is both lovely and imaginative. Each tour is approximately three minutes.

Featurette : Ever Wonder (3:51)
     Perhaps a little too cutesy, this is a live action exploration of the magic of nature that is there to be observed in our everyday lives. Beautifully executed and presented 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound encoded at 192 Kbps.

Music Video (3:16)
Presented at approximately 1.78:1 in a 4x3 transfer with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround encoded at 384 Kbps, Selena Gomez does what fans will expect.

Featurette : Creating Pixie Hollow (9:47) :
This had the potential to be a very interesting insight into the creation of the world of the fairies, but it is far too brief. Nevertheless what we do get is beautifully presented. The challenge of giving the perspective of six inch creatures is mentioned, but hardly explored. It is gratifying, though, to see the care taken to tie the visuals in Tinker Bell to those in the original Peter Pan. Presented 1.78:1, in a 16x9 transfer, with Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kbps.

Deleted Scenes (12:27)
  This is a collection of six deleted scenes, the first two fully animated and the last four only at the story board stage of development. These last four are the most interesting, as they give an indication of the direction the production was originally taking. It would seem that the changes that were made were for the better. All are presented 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound encoded at 192 Kbps.
                                                                                                             
                                                                                                               
                                                                                          

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The only difference between the Region 4 and The Region 1 release is that the Region 4 disc has a host of trailers of other Disney product.

Summary

    Although this is a minor Disney release, it is a very promising curtain raiser for the fairy franchise. There is imagination, charm and invention here - although some other expected Disney elements are missing. Aimed squarely at its very young female audience, this is guaranteed to hit the target dead centre. Little girls will love it - and adults should be pleased that this extremely commercial product has a number of redeeming qualities.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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