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The Tinker Bell Film Series: Tinker Bell • Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure • Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue

Tinker Bell DVD Review

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Movie & DVD Details

Director: Bradley Raymond / Writers: Jeffrey M. Howard (story and screenplay), Bradley Raymond (story)

Voice Cast: Mae Whitman (Tinker Bell), Kristin Chenoweth (Rosetta), Raven-Symonι (Iridessa), Lucy Liu (Silvermist), America Ferrera (Fawn), Jane Horrocks (Fairy Mary), Jesse McCartney (Terence), Jeff Bennett (Clank), Rob Paulsen (Bobble), Pamela Adlon (Vidia), Anjelica Huston (Queen Clarion), Loreena McKennitt (Narrator), Steve Valentine (Minister of Spring), Kathy Najimy (Minister of Summer), Richard Portnow (Minister of Autumn), Gail Borges (Minister of Winter)

Songs: "To the Fairies They Draw Near", "Fly to Your Heart"

Running Time: 78 Minutes / Rating: G

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008 / Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9); Also available on Blu-ray Disc
White Keepcase with Embossed, Holographic, Textured Slipcover

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By Renata Joy

Over the years, Tinker Bell has become one of the most recognizable icons of the Walt Disney Company. So much, in fact,
that it is easy to forget that the feisty pixie made her first appearance as a ball of light in J.M. Barrie's original stage version of Peter Pan. With all her success and popularity, it is almost a surprise that Disney has taken this long to squeeze out a little more profit by way of a direct-to-DVD movie. Well, don't hold your breath any longer. Tinker Bell has happened, and now the question is - how bad is it?

First, Tinker Bell is born. Keeping true to the Barrie text, a baby laughs and there she is. Clad in white and with her hair out of its signature bun, she does not look very much like the Tinker Bell we know, but this doesn't last long. Apparently, moments after a fairy is born, there's some sort of strange magical ritual in which an unchangeable occupation is chosen for the individual. A glowing hammer designates a tinker profession for our Miss Bell (she likes to fix things), and in the process, she ditches her white frock for a slinkier green one. Hence Tinker Bell becomes... Tinker Bell.

Queen Clarion takes young Tinker Bell's hand in anticipation of a vocation choosing her. Tinker Bell's four friends -- Rosetta, Fawn, Silvermist, and Iridessa -- just happen to make up an ethnic rainbow.

Soon, Tinker Bell learns that the fairies in Pixie Hollow, which is apparently located somewhere in Never Land, are responsible for creating the seasons on the Mainland. (London? Earth? It's never quite clear.) Spring is of the utmost importance as it sets the pace for the rest of the year. However, it seems that a tinker is at the bottom rung of the fairy job ladder, and not only is Tinker Bell unable to move up in the career world, she is also unable to visit the exotic Mainland. Oh, woe is Tink!

An array of merry mishaps ensues. Tinker Bell job shadows some fairy friends, only to fail miserably at each task she attempts to learn. Eventually, her shenanigans lead to chaos and the fairy world is turned upside down. Will Tinker Bell finally accept her natural talent at tinkering and restore balance to Pixie Hollow? Why would I ruin that for you?

Asian fairy Silvermist (voiced by Lucy Liu) introduces Tinker Bell to the wonder of dewdrops. With her friends and their encouragement behind her, Tinker Bell seeks to take flight.

Nobody in their right mind would purchase and watch this movie expecting pure quality. If you do, however, rush home Tuesday evening to pop this release into your player, looking forward to the greatest film experience of your life, you will be sorely disappointed. Even though Mae Whitman (the seasoned vet who replaced the openly-announced Brittany Murphy) does an apt job of giving a voice to the long-mute fairy, it never seems right when Tinker Bell opens her mouth and words come out.
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Not to mention, the storyline is flimsy, the lyrics of Loreena McKennitt's songs are never quite discernible, and why is Tinker Bell ever so eager to please anyone other than her Peter Pan? Pickiness aside, the movie is watchable enough, and it's clear some effort was put into the project. When it comes to a typical Disney moneymaker, effort really does make all the difference.

For a direct-to-DVD release, there is nothing horrible to be said about the animation. Sure, the characters resemble plastic more than any organic substance, but the scenery is lush and colorful, a far cry from the sterile backgrounds that populate run-of-the-mill low budget computer animation. In contrast to her speech issues, Tinker Bell herself looks great. The rare moments when she is silent gives one the opportunity to appreciate the faithfulness to her original design and mischievous facial expressions. At times, her stature seems a bit more waif-like than her 1950s incarnation, but Size 0 she is not.

For the most part, the other fairies of her realm are rather forgettable. The well-meaning choice to make them ethically diverse has a perhaps unintended effect -- their skin color becomes the easiest way to differentiate one from another.

Hardly a scene goes by where you can't spot a character, setting, prop, etc. that was designed with thought going to a possible tie-in toy. You can almost hear some top Disney merchandise executive pondering, "Now which enchanted tree house would look the best encased in plastic at a $29.99 SRP?" Not that this is anything new. Children of the 1980s might recall similar phenomena such as Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears, to mention just a couple. After all, was the introduction of the non-teddy cousins in the first Care Bears movie anything but a cuddly marketing ploy? Over twenty years since those gilded days, it is almost comforting to know that such marketing schemes are being presented to a new generation. Just so long as the original Tinker Bell isn't lost in the process.


Naturally, there is nary an imperfection to be found in the all-new, all-digital animation. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is exactly as the makers would want it to be. Not only that, but the visuals are pretty enough to make this a fine, colorful showcase for any TV and DVD player.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack makes excellent use of surround channels for sound effects. It's like you're in Pixie Hollow, but you're not. There is, however, that strange lack of background noise that is found most commonly in animated films of a more modest budget. Otherwise, there are no complaints on the sound front.

Fairies need one another's help to wash their wings. That's one of the facts Tink and Queen Clarion share in the Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow. This 21st Century family stops to admire the rainbow in the short "Ever Wonder." Selena Gomez furthers the trend of Disney Channel actors/pop singers with her music video for "Fly to Your Heart."


"The Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow" is an interactive tour of the film's primary setting courtesy of Tinker Bell and Queen Clarion.
Part digital map/part storybook, the feature provides 1-3 minute descriptions of Pixie Hollow areas and inhabitants.

"Ever Wonder" is a rather unusual 4-minute short. Live children run around doing normal childhood activities while computer-animated Tinker Bell and her fellow fairies fly around performing important tasks like fixing wagon wheels, protecting butterflies from galloping kid feet, and rescuing kites from trees.

Is a Disney release ever complete without a cheesy music video? "Fly to Your Heart" (3:15), performed by "Wizards of Waverly Place" star Selena Gomez, fulfills the requirement this time around. And don't worry; it's just as fluffy and forgettable as it's supposed to be. If you've never found Selena Gomez annoying before, here is a golden new opportunity!

Accessed through DVD-ROM is Tinker Trainer, a 3-level game designed to test the most adept tinker-in-training. The fact that I had a bit of difficulty figuring it out the first time pleases me because it proves that there is repeat value here, but there is something about being scolded by a fairy while playing a game that is primarily designed for children that can really ruin a day.

Apparently, three types of roses inspired Rosetta's attire, not "American Beauty." In this deleted scene, Queen Clarion has a big wad of pixie dust in her grasp. The enchanting Tinker Bell DVD main menu.

Access to a surprisingly substantive yet hidden section called "The Mainland" can be found by exploring the bonus features menu.

The first item here,
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the featurette "Creating Pixie Hollow" (10:06), proves that the creators did their fairy research and there is even a mark of approval from John Lasseter. The piece also considers how fairies might use real world objects as clothes, furniture, and more. Which got me wondering how long a door made out of a pumpkin top might last.

Also here are six deleted scenes. The first two depict Clarion doing something magical with pixie dust. Then Tink and her friends experience the Mainland for the first time. These are fully animated, while the rest showcase rough hand-drawn sketches. The scenes run 10 minutes and 45 seconds altogether, but if you would like some insight into them, you should choose to watch them with on-camera introductions by director Bradley Raymond and producer Jeannine Roussel. The group runs 13 minutes this way, and they disappear before the scenes start, allowing you to enjoy them in their fullest.

The DVD kicks off with the typical Disney promo; trailers for Bolt, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (Disney must be pretty confident this first one will sell well), Space Buddies; and a Disney Movie Rewards promo. From the menu you can also access previews for Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition, WALL•E, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea Special Edition, The Secret of the Magic Gourd, "Wizards of Waverly Place", the Pixie Hollow website, Disney Parks, and the upcoming "Hannah Montana" and High School Musical DVD games.

Shimmering pixie dust sparks the menu transitions, and music plays while fairies dart back and forth among scenery. The bonus features menu give an animated view of the ballerina music box that has a special role in the movie.

The DVD case is pleasing to the eyes, if only because it is refreshing to see a Disney DVD release aimed at the female population that is not doused in pink. The requisite slipcover is a good Tinker Bell shade of green, and Tink's wings are nice and glittery. Simple elegance is always appreciated. Inside the DVD case are coupons for The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, the latest Sleeping Beauty release, and a combination DVD/Minute Maid offer. A booklet of ads, ads, and more ads is thrown into the mix, and so is a Disney Movie Rewards insert.

Comic relief Clank and Bobble show Tink the ropes of being a tinker fairy. The fairies of Pixie Hollow come together in the sky to listen to Tink's plan to save spring.


There is no denying that be it a prequel, sequel, or midquel, any direct-to-video Disney release is bound to be unnecessary and created more for profit than for art. That said, Tinker Bell is not a terrible experience. Unless you are a girl under the age of eight, it is very unlikely that you will want to give it multiple viewings, but it really is not without its merits. It goes to show that a little more effort does go a long way, and although the end result is nowhere near perfection, the DTV aftertaste is less bitter than has come to be expected.

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Related Reviews:
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure • Peter Pan (Platinum Edition) • Return to Never Land (Pixie-Powered Edition)
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Reviewed October 28, 2008.