From what I can remember of Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up’s temperamental sidekick, Tinker Bell, was somewhat of a brat (not that Pan was exactly a model of good behavior, either). Tinker Bell, Disney’s new direct-to-DVD release, doesn’t do much to change that impression!
As in The Little Mermaid III: Ariel’s Beginning, Tinker Bell establishes the "backstory" of its heroine. Up until now, the blond fairy has never even spoken a word, so there is obviously a lot of ground to cover in order to understand how she came to tag along with Peter Pan and the Darling children.
Tinker Bell fills in these gaps, beginning with Tink’s birth and subsequent arrival in Pixie Hollow, where her lifelong profession is chosen via a Hogwart’s Sorting Hat-esque ritual. Only it turns out that this time, perhaps something with the fairy’s initiation process has gone awry, as Tink is determined to be anything other than her supposed calling: a tinker.
The rest of the story concentrates on the chaos that erupts when Tinker Bell refuses to accept her fate. While the rest of the fairy world is preparing for the arrival of spring — in which they play a critical role — Tink is running around destroying things and being selfish. All while wearing her trademarked extremely short strapless green dress (though, as ridiculous as that get-up is, seeing how it came to be was kind of cool).
Though the trailer below barely touches upon the plot, it provides a good feel for the film’s animation.
I’m old-fashioned enough to believe that this movie would’ve been a lot more enjoyable (for me) had its animators tried to mirror the classic look of Peter Pan, rather than using modern three-dimensional computer imaging. But then again, I’m not even remotely close to being a part of the target audience for this film.
Clearly, Disney is honing in on young girls, to whom they will also market everything under the sun they can think of that’s related to this film: play sets, clothing, accessories… you name it. Fairies are very big business, my friends! That’s why there’s not one, not two, but three follow-ups planned for Tinker Bell — each arriving a year after the other, beginning with Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure next fall.
Yep, Disney is banking on the fact that the escapades of Tinker Bell will fuel a successful franchise for years to come. But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t invest in some high-powered marketing just to be on the safe side. Teen star Selena Gomez sang the closing credits theme, and "American
Idol" alum Katharine McPhee also contributed to the film’s soundtrack. A bevy of stars — including Raven-Symone, Kristin Chenoweth, America Ferrera, Kathy Najimy, Lucy Liu and Angelica Huston — provided the voices of Tink’s fellow fairies (the fairy of the hour, however, was voiced by relative newcomer Mae Whitman). Most of these lovely ladies did their part in building buzz for the DVD by coming out to "Pixie Premiere Party" held in Hollywood last week… a picture gallery from the event can be found here.
In addition to throwing the Tinker Bell gala, Disney entered into an agreement with British Telecom to allow Tinker Bell to lend her voice to the United Kingdom’s "speaking clock" — the first time a fictional character has done so since the system began operating in 1936. (Think that hasn’t riled up some anti-big-business sentiment? Think again!)
If you plan on renting Tinker Bell for your children but are unsure of whether or not you should actually stick around in the living room for an hour and ten minutes to watch it, I would say that it’s worth at least one viewing. Though it’s a little slow in parts, the overall story has a good moral (of course) and it was fun to see all of the things that fairies are supposedly responsible for in nature. (Painting lady bugs? Who knew?) You should also be aware the the DVD is jam-packed with extras that anyone who liked the main feature will probably enjoy as well.
And even if you have no intention of watching Tinker Bell, you at least have to agree with me on one thing: this fairy has come a long way from just dotting i’s with her wand and throwing around pixie dust!