Tinker Bell (2008)
Featurette-Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow (10.00) 1.78:1, 16x9
Featurette-Ever Wonder (3:51) : Live action 1.78:1, 16x9
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
|Year Of Production||2008|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (57:40)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Bradley Raymond|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Ryan L. Carlson
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
|DVD||Onkyo-SP500, using Component output|
|Display||Philips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|