Cynical individuals would refer to the ever-expanding Disney Fairies line as an unfortunate way to capitalize on the fame and wonder of J.M. Barrie’s Tinker Bell; a crass commercialization of the character at the expense of her true identity and legend. Those people ought to take a look at a four-year-old as she sits down and watches any of the direct-to-DVD films in the Fairies line that Disney has put out. One look at the wonder and merriment that appears on the face of the youth would give even the deepest cynic pause. Or, if you prefer, all you need is faith and trust… and a little bit of pixie dust.
Tink is magic, she is mesmerizing, and she has been one of the calling cards of Disney since long before the Fairies franchise existed. One very well may ask which came first, people’s deep and abiding love of all things Tinker Bell or the Fairies franchise? Is the former the outgrowth of the latter, or vice versa? With Tinker Bell t-shirts in existence long before the Fairies franchise came to be, is it possible – just possible – that Disney was only trying to meet a demand with the growth of the character and her new world?
Yes, one can certainly question that new world, taking Tinker Bell out of Peter Pan’s Neverland and telling her back story, but origin tales are nothing if not incredibly en vogue over the past decade. Plus, to be fair, in the mythos Disney has created, the home of the fairies, Pixie Hollow, is a part of Neverland. Additionally, what Disney hasn’t done in creating the franchise is provide a cut-rate, disappointing world for the little fairy who could. Her new adventures have at least as much gusto as other current Disney ventures.
Tinker Bell’s latest direct-to-DVD (in this case Blu-ray) tale, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue is an incredibly amusing romp which tells the story of the first time fairies interacted with humans. That is something greatly frowned on in the fairy world (apparently), but between Tinker Bell’s inquisitive nature and Vidia’s rash, judgmental one, it happens in this movie. It also happens because a little human girl, Lizzy, deeply believes in fairies and creates a little fairy house (which is what the inquisitive Tink finds and in which she becomes trapped).
Lizzy has problems of her own, including a father who, while well-meaning, just doesn’t have enough time for her. As Tink’s friends – Rosetta, Vidia, Silvermist, Iridessa, Fawn, Bobble, and Clank – try to rescue her, Tinker Bell tries to help make Lizzy’s father believe in fairies. Lizzy’s father, Dr. Griffiths, is naturally skeptical of such a notion, but the two young women try their best and form a great friendship as well as have a great adventure or two of their own.
It is a very fun, albeit somewhat undemanding, film. It certainly makes for a wonderful addition to the Tinker Bell films, and, as said above, will keep a young crowd mesmerized.
Will the cynics (who probably refer to themselves as “purists”), despite the great deal of fun to be had, complain? Of course they will, and, unfortunately the film does give them some things to complain about. Most notably, there is the question of when Vidia, who has been overzealous in her anger and caused trouble for Tinker Bell before, will learn her lesson (I would wonder how a cynic would know of Vidia’s past history, but am confident that they will). Then, when drawing a picture that seems to be of how to get to Neverland, Tink draws Big Ben and two stars to the left of it rather than to the right. Normally, one would get to Neverland by heading to the second star to the right (and straight on till morning). Perhaps though Tinker Bell is just confused here, or purposefully misleading Lizzy because she doesn’t want anyone to know how to get to Neverland, or not drawing what she appears to be drawing.
What no one – cynic or not – will be able to complain about is the way the Blu-ray release looks and sounds. Disney has truly figured out how to put things on Blu-ray in a way that makes them come to life. Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue is full of amazing levels of detail and eye-popping colors. I might wish that the fairy dust itself twinkled better on skin, but that is not a sizable complaint by any means. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is just as fulfilling as the visuals. The turning of a small stream of water into a raging river (because the fairies are small) works exceedingly well in the audio track without ever getting to the point where it will scare the youngest members of the audience.
In terms of extras, the two-disc Blu-ray set contains a music video; deleted scenes; a “Fairy Field Guide Builder,” which essentially is a game that asks you what you know about fairies; and a short featurette on a fairy-house building contest where the winner got to go to Disney World. The second disc of the two disc set is a DVD version of the film with all the same extras.
The odds are that one will never be able to convince the cynics that they ought to even give the Disney Fairies line and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue a chance. So, don’t try. If you like Tinker Bell and would like to see an extension of her mythology or have a young one who is even vaguely interested in the character don’t hesitate to pick up the Blu-ray – you won’t be disappointed. It may not be as grandiose as Toy Story 3 or other theatrically released Disney films, but it is enjoyable, it is great to look at, and your kids will love it.