Toon Talk: Tinker Bell
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by Kirby C. Holt
Disney DVD and Blu-ray
MPAA Rating: G
In the Tink
Since her stage debut as a spot of light in J.M. Barrie’s legendary play Peter Pan, Tinker Bell has enchanted and delighted audiences of all ages. However, following her featured role in Walt Disney’s classic animated version over 50 years ago, Miss Bell has had her ups (introducing the weekly Disney television series, leading the nightly fireworks shows at Disney theme parks worldwide) and downs (four words: Julia Roberts in Hook). Nevertheless, Tink is a show biz trooper; she even received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame recently.
Already the most famous fairy of all time, Tinker Bell is about to get even bigger (despite her pixyish size) as Disney launches its latest multi-media franchise, with Tink herself front and center. With books, websites and a slew of merchandise, the “Disney Fairies” are poised to give the “Disney Princesses” a run for their money … all the way to the bank.
Chief among the new wave of offerings set to enthrall little girls everywhere is a brand new series of original DVD adventures starring our gal and her fairy friends, the first of which, titled Tinker Bell (naturally), is now available on both standard Disney DVD and Disney Blu-ray. And if this premiere installment is any indication, fans of fairies and fantasies are in for a treat for years to come.
Staged as an “origin” story of our heroine, the new movie sets up an intriguing and fascinating mythology for this fairy world that is surprisingly rich in depth yet easily accessible. Expanding on the world created by Barrie over a century ago, it is revealed here that fairies are born with a newborn baby’s first laugh (a nice touch) and travel to the legendary Never Land. More specifically, to a magical place located on the island known as Pixie Hollow. There, the ethereal Queen Clarion (voiced by a regal Anjelica Houston) rules over her kingdom, which is divided into four distinct realms representing each of the four seasons. At the center (much like a Disney theme park castle) is the Pixie Dust Tree, which powers the denizens of the land and enables them to perform their magic. The dedicated mission of the fairies of Pixie Hollow is to use their special skills to bring about the changing seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) in “the Mainland”, the big wide world that is just a “second star to the right and straight on till morning” away.
The new fairy who will become Tinker Bell (voiced, for the first time, Disney-wise, by Mae Whitman) arrives at Pixie Hollow with a joyous welcome, and is quickly designated (in a ceremony reminiscent of the “sorting hat” scenes in the Harry Potter stories) a “tinker fairy”, one whose job is to build things to assist the other fairy breeds in their duties. In other words, she is part of the fairy world’s answer to technical support.
Mentored by two boy fairies, Clank (Jeff Bennett) and Bobble (Bob Paulsen), and supervised by the meticulous Fairy Mary (Jane Horrocks), Tink soon proves her knack for tinkering, yet still yearns to travel to the mysterious Mainland. But the only way she can go is if she can master one of the five nature talents: animal, light, garden, water or (the rarest of all) the weather. Tink first asks her friends, representing the first four talents (voiced, respectively -- and synergistically -- by Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera, That’s So Raven’s Raven-Symoné, Pushing Daisies’ Kristin Chenoweth and Dirty Sexy Money’s Lucy Liu), to teach her. When those attempts fail, she then turns to the fastest (and most spiteful) fairy in the land, Vidia (Pamela Avlon), who tricks Tink into causing a disaster that jeopardizes the approaching springtime. Can Tinker Bell save the day … not to mention a whole season?