tek's rating:

Tinker Bell (G)
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Caution: spoilers.

Okay, so... in 1904 there was a play (and in 1911, a novelization of it) by J. M. Barrie, about a boy named Peter Pan, you know. And one of the characters in the story was a fairy named Tinker Bell. In 1953, Disney made an animated film called Peter Pan, based on the story. Tinker Bell became rather an iconic character for Disney, even though she didn't actually talk in the movie. Jumping even more decades into the future, in 2005, Tinker Bell became the central character in a series of books (which as of this writing, I haven't read, but I'd like to do so eventually). There are a number of other fairies in these books, who all live in Pixie Hollow, which is located in Never Land (the main setting of "Peter Pan"). And in 2008, a computer animated movie was released on DVD (the first in a series of movies). I gather the fairies in the movies, aside from Tink herself, are mostly different from the ones in the books....

But anyway. Now that that's all been established, I should start the actual review of this movie (the aforementioned 2008 CGI movie). The first thing I should say about it is that Tinker Bell talks, as do all the fairies. That's different; as I said, she didn't speak in "Peter Pan." But I suppose it'd be hard to make a good movie where none of the characters talk. And anyway, a lot of the voice actors are familiar from other stuff, which is nice. I was particularly glad that Mae Whitman voiced Tink, as I'm a fan of some of her other work.

Um. So, a fairy is born when a baby laughs for the first time. The movie starts with a baby laughing, and its laugh being caught, sort of, by the seed of a milkweed, which is blown to Pixie Hollow, where it gets sprinkled with pixie dust, and turns into Tinker Bell. She meets Queen Clarion (Anjelica Huston), and she finds her talent (all fairies have different classes of talents). Bell turns out to be a tinker fairy, hence her name (though I do find it a bit odd that "Tinker" seems to be part of her actual name, rather than a title; none of the other tinkers seem to be called that). Then Tink meets two other tinker fairies, Clank (Jeff Bennett) and Bobble (Rob Paulsen), who take her to Tinker's Nook, where the tinker fairies live and work. There she meets Fairy Mary (Jane Horrocks), who is the head of the tinkers.

Meanwhile, all the fairies are preparing for the arrival of Spring. Pixie Hollow is divided into separate areas that are each a single season all the time, but of course it's different on the Mainland, where the seasons are always changing. And the fairies all have their specific jobs that will help with the changing of the seasons there. Anyway, Tink meets a garden fairy named Rosetta (Kristin Chenoweth), a light fairy named Iridessa (Raven-Symoné), an animal fairy named Fawn (America Ferrera), and a water fairy named Silvermist (Lucy Liu). A bit later, she meets a fast-flying fairy named Vidia (Pamela Adlon), who, unlike all the other fairies Tink has met so far, seems rather conceited and mean-spirited. Tink also makes friends with a mouse named Cheese (who doesn't talk).

Vidia thinks her talent is far superior to that of tinkers, so Tink gets upset, and is eager to prove her worth when she goes to the Mainland. She returns to Tinker's Nook, and sets about inventing some things she hopes will prove useful, which she later presents to Queen Clarion, who is reviewing the preparations for Spring. However, Clarion informs Tink that tinker fairies don't go to the Mainland. Tink tries to hide her disappointment, though her new friends feel bad for her, while Vidia enjoys watching Tink learn the sad truth.... Tink returns once again to Tinker's Nook, where she complains about being a tinker fairy, though Fairy Mary wants her to accept who she is.

Still, over the next couple of days, Tink tries to change her talent, with the help of her friends. But she just isn't any good at their talents. Though it's clear that she's good at fixing things, especially when using bits of lost things that wash up from the Mainland. Fairy Mary doesn't want her using such things, as fairies are supposed to make things using stuff they find in nature. But in spite of being really good at tinkering, and really enjoying herself while using lost things, and all her friends telling her she should embrace her own talent, and Tink herself giving that same advice to Terence (Jesse McCartney), who works in the pixie dust depot, she's still desperate to prove she deserves to go to the Mainland.

Finally, Vidia tricks her into trying to capture some troublesome weeds called sprinting thistles. But Tink's efforts wind up creating a major disaster that could make Spring months late, unless she can find some way of fixing everything she's ruined.... Which, of course, leads Tink to finally realize the importance of tinker fairies. And um... I guess I've pretty much spoiled almost everything, though there are still maybe a few things I haven't revealed....

Anyway, it was a decent story, with beautiful animation, a fair amount of humor, and a good lesson for kids I guess (as long as that lesson is "be proud of what you are" and not "accept whatever caste you're born into"). Definitely a fun movie, and a good start to the franchise. And of course, I find Tink and her friends quite easy on the eyes, in addition to having interesting, amusing, and distinctive personalities. Throughout the movie and the franchise I really come to like all of the characters quite a bit.

Oh, I should also mention that the DVD has some decent bonus features, in fact more than I realized the first time I watched it. It was actually after I watched the third movie, which included among its bonus features some deleted scenes, most of which were still in rough form, but one of which was fully animated (and from which I made a few screencaps). Then I watched deleted scenes on the second DVD, which were all unfinished (which for some reason I hadn't watched the first time I saw that movie). Then I looked at the DVD case for the first movie, which said there were deleted scenes, though I hadn't found them before. So I put the DVD in again and looked harder, and finally found them in the "to the mainland" section (the link for which doesn't appear automatically, like the other bonus feature links do). Anyway, most of those deleted scenes were also unfinished, but a couple were finished, and I might have made some screencaps from them as I did with the third movie, but... meh. I kinda felt like it was too late now, and not that important. Still, the scenes were fun to watch.

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