Only a year after 2008’s Tinker Bell DVD release, the little fairy was back in sequel called The Lost Treasure. While it was slated for direct-to-DVD release, it actually earned a short (one week) theatrical run so as to be Oscar nomination eligibility.
All of the case of the original film reprise their roles with a few new characters being introduced here along the way. The story takes place in the mystical Pixie Hollow (within Neverland) once more but this time our title is asked by Queen Clarion (with a little coaxing from the ever-lovable Fairy Mary) to construct a scepter that will hold a precious moonstone for the fairies’ Fall Festival.
This moonstone apparently captures the rays of a blue Harvest moon (an event that comes along every eight years) and is a crucial process in replenishing the clan’s supply of Pixie Dust.
At the risk of giving away critical plot spoilers, allow me to simply reveal that there is but one such moonstone in existence and Tinker Bell has a bit of a well-deserved reputation for destruction. A quest of epic proportion ensues but not before Tink and close buddy/ love interest Terence have a falling out.
Surprisingly, said quest actually manages to mimic in some capacity the cornerstones of successful fantasy adventures not unlike those expected in say The Hobbit. Whereas the first film was essentially an exercise in driving home the point that we should be happy with who we are/ our lot in life, the second is more successful at portraying a scope of adventure with a little moral message stuffed in for good measure.
Tink earns a new sidekick this time around with some visual homage to Pixar’s Flick of A Bug’s Life fame. A good ¾ of the film actually takes place outside of Pixie Hollow this time around and rather then dragging the viewer back to the mainland (London), we are treated to a pretty nice look at some of the wilds beyond the pixie’s island. Expanses of wild ocean, unexplored wilderness, toll collecting trolls and even Peter Pan-esque pirate ships make the grade in The Lost Treasure.
Harkening upon classic Disney animation methods, the crew responsible for this one paid special attention to the cues that the younger audiences tend to identify with in this type of film: Increased musical numbers, emphasis on facial caricature, magical mirrors and a bit more of a fairy tale setting (no pun intended).
The pacing, once again, however is a tad askew when compared to the butter-smooth modern CG practices we’ve been spoiled with from the likes of Pixar and DreamWorks and instead more closely resembles what I typically associate with the grander dilemma-driven plots of classic Disney animation.
On the visual front, Disney manages to deliver another gorgeous, high-quality transfer just bursting with rich, autumn-swept colors and crisp clarity. Tumbling leaves and specs of sparkling fairy dust are flawlessly rendered here, and the textures are equally solid throughout. While the animation itself falls a tad bit short compared to more feature-film style of the first film, viewers of all ages will definitely come away with very little to criticize when it comes to the technical efforts of Disney (who have absorbed the talent of Pixar).
Scoring is provided by Celtic Woman's Lisa Kelly who performs the opening If You Believe; narrator Grey DeLisle is joined by Julie Garnye in "Fairy Tale Theatre" in which Tinker Bell learns of the existence of the wishing mirror; and Disney regular Demi Lovato performs "The Gift of a Friend," the video of which can be seen in the bonus features of the disc (along with other goodies such as the interactive "Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow" and some specially made "Outtakes and Bloopers").
In all the first Tinker Bell film was decent, if slightly silly and a bit narrow in its scope. This, the second entry, actually manages to improve upon the formula and does so in record development time (modern computer generated films commonly require four to five years of development time; this one was released in under a year of completion of the original work). Like the first one, it isn’t for everyone as clearly the target demographic is the younger set, it does offer up a nice blend of solid visuals and an adventure-driven plot structure. Should the same degree of improvement be found in the third and most recent entry to the trilogy, Disney may well have done the impossible in creating a whole new classic series that does not rely upon princesses or big-eared mice.
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