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The weakest of the series
on June 27, 2014
This review is intended for parents, rather than the target audience. First, a little background. The single character of Tinker Bell is (loosely) based on James Barrie's Peter Pan, but the fairy kingdom (called Pixie Hollow) and its inhabitants originate from the recent book trilogy written by the award winning children's writer Gail Carson Levine (in my opinion, a much more talented author than Barrie). The direct to video film series were launched in 2008, with the first three episodes featuring original, surprisingly deep stories and remarkable musical scores (especially the outstanding "Lost Treasure", often shown on Disney's cable channels). The last two episodes, produced by a different director, are quite inferior to those, with simpler, less though provoking stories, recycled plot elements and music, and a focus on fashion and pop culture - in other words, similar to the host of low cost TV series featuring pretty looking fairies, mermaids, princesses, and similar characters found on many cable channels. This film is easily the weakest of the series.
The plot is, plainly, dumb and full of holes. The title character is one nasty specimen of fairykind, a criminal and mastermind behind the pirates' evil plans. However, the character is also very pretty and fashion conscious, and so cannot be held accountable for her actions, which are instead blamed on the pirates' bad influence. In the middle of the movie the character switches over to the "good" side and evades responsibility. There should have been a remorse scene somewhere, but I looked away for a second or two and so apparently missed it entirely. There is no character development or morale; everything is black and white and clear from the start (there is, however, no shortage of alike looking action sequences despite the short running time). The hero vs. villain/mindless buffoon division is straight along gender lines. The magic and enchanting ambiance of the early episodes are gone. Pixie Hollow now boasts a gaudy sport arena, where crowds of fairies gather to watch circus shows (that look much like Disney on Ice), gulp soft drinks from oversized containers, and follow with an inevitable rush for outdoor lavatories. Still want to believe in fairies after this?
To tell the truth, many pre-teenage children are attracted to this kind of low grade fare (for the same reason they prefer candy to vegetables), and the film studios are well aware of this. The animation is very pretty, and the story is predictable and unencumbered by moral dilemmas (and, if anything, seems to endorse irresponsible behavior). The film is bound to boost sales of (pirate edition!) fashion dolls and similar licensed merchandise. But to those who still remember the magic of the original Peter Pan animated feature, this flick would be a very different experience. Tinker Bell is a unique and historically significant character, and she deserves better than this. Much better.