Well before you snicker at the mental image of a grown man sitting down for an evening of Tinker Bell, consider this: With a budget of 48-mil, distribution by Disney and Executive Producer credit going to none other than Pixar’s big cheese John Lasseter, it’s only natural that my tour of the computer generated feature film make a stop at Pixie Hollow. And in this case that stop includes a trilogy of entries no less (two more reviews of said property to follow).
That said, Tinker Bell is a 2008 direct-to-dvd (in the USA) CGI feature film based on the famous Peter Pan supporting character/ company icon that earns a G-rating and 78-minute runtime. For better or worse, the film takes multiple liberties with the source material that seem to have fallen on the side of criticism by many long-time Peter Pan aficionados. Not the least of these is the fact that Tinker Bell is able to speak in this iteration, which completely replaces the sound of a jingling bell that accompanied her onscreen presence in the 2D films. Sorry fans, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and the Lost Boys are nowhere to be found in this piece as well. Viewers are, however, treated to such pixie-lore elements as the birth of a fairy and how Tink ends up in her trademark jagged-green threads, er leaf fibers as the case may be.
Aside from representing Tink’s back story, Tinker Bell is based on the simple premise that the title character is ready, willing, able and eager to help in the important fairy tasks such as changing of the seasons, and sets her sites on traveling to the mainland (where we lowly humans dwell). However, she soon learns that her lot in life is that of a tinker fairy meaning that her job is to assemble and repair the various items in Pixie Hollow that the “important” fairies require to do their magical jobs.
Tinker Bell, naturally, wants no part of being a glorified mechanic and tries (with some humorous results) to attempt the jobs of some of the other fairies before discovering it best to be yourself. There’s a moral here that will likely resonate with the kids even if the pretty visuals or bubbly personalities of the characters don’t immediately win them over.
Speaking of, the CGI animation is of decidedly high caliber as it should be, given the assimilation of Pixar into the Disney fold. Rich textures, crisp colors and well animated character models all add up to a solid visual presentation. A Celtic-inspired score by Joel McNeely and a pretty solid voice cast complete the grade-A feel.
Now it’s only fair to nitpick a bit as well as there are a few rough spots that deserve examination. For example, Tinker Bell’s very name is derived from the fact that her birthing ceremony identifies her as a tinker fairy and hence her name is actually Bell. So then is it safe to assume all of the fairies are given names based on their occupation? Actually, no. For whatever reason Bell’s fellow tinkers do not seem to have the word anywhere in their names.
Then there is the matter of the second half of her name. The little fairy in Pan jingled like; you guessed it, a bell! Unfortunately that element is completely removed here as well.
Additionally, the fairy of the classic tale (and not just in Disney’s incarnations) has received a major personality retooling. Forget the jealous, spiteful, mischievous but unwaveringly loyal sidekick you likely know and sort of love, here Tink is a modern lady with fashionable sensibilities and charm to match.
The pacing is a bit deliberate and drawn out, not unlike the classic animated pieces of Disney lore. In other words, it feels a bit more like a modernly styled classic 2D animation film than it does a scaled down Pixar blockbuster.
In all, younger viewers, whom surely Disney intends this work, will likely enjoy this tale. Adults will find a few moments to enjoy while appreciating the solid moral efforts interlaced with the tight visuals. This series is certainly in a league above computer generated animated primarily-girl series like Barbie or Strawberry Shortcake but falls a tad bit short compared to the excellence that’s been given in the past by the Pixar/Disney juggernaut.
What did you think of this review?