Last year I spewed bile all over Disney’s direct-to-DVD abomination, Tinker Bell
. Not to be put off by my opion when there is money to be made and merchandise to hawk, Disney has given us another home-entertainment offering of everyone’s favorite Neverland fairy. This one is better, slightly. Very, very slightly.
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure is the second computer-animated adventure involving Peter Pan’s sidekick and her fairy buddies in a place called Pixie Hollow in Neverland. If you didn’t catch the first one…consider yourself lucky! Seriously, though, this movie does pretty much stand alone, although all of the first movie’s characters reappear here.
Tink, voiced by Arrested Development alumnus Mae Whitman, is asked by Queen Clarion (Anjelica Huston) to build a scepter that will hold a precious moonstone. The moonstone catches the rays of a blue moon that comes along every eight years and is critical for replenishing the pixie dust tree…somehow. Although there is only one in existence and Tinker Bell is a known klutz, they hand over the fragile moonstone to her to build the scepter. Everyone notes how rare and fragile it is over and over, so guess what happens to the moonstone? Right.
Now that Tink is up poop creek without a paddle, she does what makes the most sense: tells the truth and deals with the consequences. No, that would be good on the moral side but boring on the kid-entertaining-and-selling-merchandise side. Instead, she goes searching for a magic mirror that grants wishes! This takes her outside of Neverland, where she runs into all sorts of cwazy mischief! She meets a new plush toy...err, firefly...named Blaze and is also helped by her friend Terence (Jesse McCartney), who partially caused the original moonstone disaster. Thus teaching us all about friendship and whatnot.
This is a kid’s movie. Not a family movie -- a kid’s movie to be enjoyed by pre-tweens. The visual look, which is in the round-faced computer-animation style, is pretty impressive. They clearly spent some bucks on this and tried their best to make Neverland and Pixie Hollow interesting to look at. It worked. The backgrounds are not static and boring but lush and alive. There is a good attention to detail in the characters and materials, as well. Kids, young kids, will probably enjoy this world.
They will also enjoy the story, which focuses on adventure, silly gags, and overarching themes of forgiveness, tolerance, and perseverance. It’s got the usual Saturday-morning morals, wrapped up in a prettier package. There is definitely an attempt to make the story more exciting with more thrills and, again with the caveat that it will mostly be exciting only to the very young, that succeeds.
Some of the characters who played a big role in the first movie are relegated to cameos here. Tink’s rainbow coalition of friends, Rosetta (Kristin Chenoweth), Iridessa (Raven-Symoné), Silvermist (Lucy Liu), and Fawn (Angela Bartys replacing America Ferrera), drop in to remind everyone that you can buy books, dolls, and other stuff with their picture on it, but don’t contribute much to the story. It’s really Tink and Terence who carry the bulk of the story duties, and if you’re not too demanding in thinking about what’s happening (or you’re six), it works ok.
I can’t, in good conscience, recommend this movie to anyone over the age of 10. But younger kids will like this, and the animation is worth a quick look. If you are an adult with a fully developed set of faculties and no children, don’t bother.
The main goal of this movie series is to sell fairy-themed crapola to millions of little girls. So the Blu-ray (or DVD) exists because of the merchandise rather than the other way around. That means that several of the extras are really just ads that try to separate a family from their money in some way. Be on your guard, is what I’m saying. The Blu-ray version comes with a DVD as well. In a positive development, all of the extras are available on both discs.
The first extra/commercial is a “Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow.” The voices of Tink and Terence host this (but are represented by light rather than their animated characters.) It’s what it sounds like: a five-minute tour of Pixie Hollow, but rather than showing animated scenes, it’s static pictures. Of course, that’s because the whole thing is a subtle ad for the Tinker Bell series of books that Disney markets. Oh, those tricky bastards!
Another sorta commercial is “Pixie Hollow Comes To Walt Disney World.” This eight-minute extra is actually geared more at adults than kids. It explains how a topiary version of Pixie Hollow was created for the theme park’s flower festival. It’s pretty detailed, so a gardening fiend might enjoy it.
The next extra is a perfect example of how it takes more than copying a good idea to make something funny or clever. “Scenes You Never Saw” is not deleted scenes; it’s a “blooper reel” in the vein of those put together by Pixar after their movies. Of course, the thing that makes the Pixar version funny is that the characters react to miscues or funny things as if they are really acting in the movie. In this version, they show the “slip-up” but not much of the reaction, which was what made the Pixar version funny. Of course, this was all stolen from Burt Reynolds movies in the first place. Go Burt! There are also traditional (crudely animated) deleted scenes.
The final extra is a music video by Demi Levato. If you like Demi Levato…well, I got nothing to say about that. The Blu-ray is a great way to see the strongest part of the movie, which is the visuals, but it’s not like the target audience is going to be that picky about HD anyway, so you might as well stick to the DVD version. The whole package is decent, barely, for young kids and boring for the rest of us.