Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure is the latest in Disney's line of non-theatrical animated features, now available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Last year saw the introduction of the popular fairy as a lead character in Tinker Bell and the series will continue with next year's Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. I didn't see the earlier feature, but without a doubt neither children nor parents will be lost if they jump right into Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. This is not a cheesy throwaway, despite having bypassed theaters. The movie features an inventive and engaging story. The voice acting is strong as well, making this one a pleasant treat for the whole family.
The plot centers around the very rare occurrence of a blue harvest moon that will arise over Pixie Hollow, where Tinker Bell and all her fairy friends reside. Tinker Bell is put in charge of preparing the Autumn Sceptre, a staff that will hold a moonstone. The stone, when capturing the light of the blue moon, will restore the magic of the Pixie Dust tree. The fairies need the tree, as it provides them with their magical abilities. A highly preventable accident shatters the moonstone, which sends Tinker Bell on a quest to set things right without missing the rising of the harvest moon. Terrence, a boy pixie who engages in a very chaste flirtatious friendship with Tink, helps her along the way (which is appropriate considering he had a hand in the shattering of the stone).
If your eyes glazed over reading that synopsis, I can't blame you entirely. Keep in mind, the movie is aimed at young children and I believe they will be more than satisfied. It's a very small scale type of tale, as Tinker Bell and Terrence encounter many relatively non-threatening obstacles as they attempt to reach a magic mirror that will supposedly grant them a single wish. The wish, of course, is to provide an intact moonstone. And there's a cute firefly named Blaze who also aids Tink in her quest to save the Autumn Revelry. What I appreciated was the added depth of seeing Tinker Bell realize that she doesn't have to be as stubbornly independent as she is at the story's outset. She develops an appreciation of teamwork, and the value of having friends willing to help accomplish mutual goals.
Mae Whitman (who played Ann in Arrested Development) does a nice job voicing Tinker Bell. Jesse McCartney provides the voice of Terrence, which will no doubt be of interest to young fans of the singer. Smaller voice roles feature some notable actors as well. Lucy Liu and Raven-Symone voice supporting fairies. None other than Anjelica Huston lends her talents to the small but pivotal role of Queen Clarion.
This movie looks terrific on Blu-ray. The digital animation is wonderfully vibrant and colorful. I was quite frankly knocked out by the visual quality. Some of the character's movements and facial expressions are, at times, closer to what you might see in video game animation. But in general, this is a very pretty movie to look at. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is nothing spectacular, but the mix is very pleasing to the ears and gets the job done functionally. The Blu-ray looks and sounds better than the included standard DVD, but it is nice to have both in one package.
The extra features are actually worth watching, with the "Magical Guide To Pixie Hollow" providing a nice look at the making of the film. "Pixie Hollow Comes To Walt Disney World" focuses on how Epcot Center was recently transformed into a representation of Pixie Hollow. There are selection of deleted scenes and "outtakes." The outtakes are particularly fun, as they are the type that were animated specifically as goofs. This has been done before, but I usually enjoy this kind of outtake reel much more than actual outtakes found on live-action movies. These were, of course, planned to feature the animated characters messing up lines and such. There is also a Demi Lovato music video of a song featured in the movie.
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure is a big step above the usual kid-vid stuff that often gets churned out. Kids will most likely want to revisit this experience many times, at least until Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue comes out and gives them an all new adventure.