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  1. #1

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    Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly


    The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pixies: (l. to r.) Silvermist, Fawn, Iridessa, Tinker Bell and Rosetta

    Tinker Bell (2008)
    Starring the voices of Mae Whitman, America Ferrera, Raven-Symone, Kristin Chenoweth, Lucy Liu and Anjelica Huston
    Directed by Bradley Raymond
    Rated G

    Since you were wondering, Tinker Bell does talk. Really. And the first thing she says is:

    Spoiler
    "Hello."


    It's rare that a direct-to-DVD Disney release comes with any real anticipation, but "Tinker Bell," hitting stores October 28th, comes with plenty. Production was delayed nearly two years so creative guru John Lasseter could overhaul a reportedly troubled film and Brittany Murphy, announced with much Disney fanfare as the first voice of Tinker Bell, was quietly replaced mid-production by Mae Whitman (the official reason given was a "scheduling conflict" with Murphy). Add to that an exclusive theatrical engagement at the El Capitan, sneak preview showings at Disneyland and an already highly-visible Disney Fairies franchise, and you significantly raise expectations for what would otherwise be just another Disney cash-cow kids' release.

    Having now seen the DVD, I only have one question:

    We waited two years for this?

    Don't get me wrong, "Tinker Bell" isn't a bad film--Lasseter's influences for the good can be seen everywhere--but the overall result is, well, ordinary. It's kid-friendly (especially for young girls), and carries the positive be-true-to-yourself message that's bread-and-butter Disney, but it never really transcends the lower expectations we have for direct-to-DVD movies. It's a pixie-dusted Nana earthbound by her leash.

    "Tinker Bell" takes us back to the title pixie's origins as she's born from a baby's laughter (a nod to J. M. Barrie's original "Peter Pan") and whisked away as a dandelion to Neverland. On the way are de rigueur visual references to Disney's "Pan" (Look! Aren't those the dormer windows of the Darling house? And isn't that Hook's ship floating on the Thames?) including an aerial approach to Neverland that's quite lovely in CG animation.

    Tinker Bell is presented before the fairies of Pixie Hollow, the secret place in Neverland where all the magic of nature originates (and although there are some boys in Pixie Hollow, it's curious to note that most fairies appear to be born as fully-developed teenage girls). Every fairy is born with a special talent. Tink soon discovers hers is tinkering--she can build and fix things--but she quickly concludes that her calling isn't nearly as exciting as being a nature fairy and traveling to the mainland (read: Earth) to make the seasons change.

    Frustrated with (to her) a boring, unimportant talent, Tink endeavors to learn the talents of her nature fairy friends Fawn (Ferrera), Iridessa (Symone), Rosetta (Chenoweth) and Silvermist (Liu) with disastrous results--results that could cancel the start of spring.

    Will spring be saved? Will Tinker Bell learn to embrace her natural talent? Will John Lasseter ever wear anything other than a button-down print shirt for a bonus feature interview? I think you already know the answers.*

    What ultimately keeps "Tinker Bell" grounded is its predictability and blatent product placement (even by Disney standards). There are (at least) three more Disney Fairies installments to come, but don't expect any surprises here, kids. Each installment is going to be about happy endings and lessons learned--and don't forget to visit DisneyFairies.com.

    I'm a tad older than "Tinker Bell's" target audience, but, considering the talent involved, was it wrong for me to ask for a little bit more?

    *Yes, yes and probably not.

    Last edited by Dustysage; 10-23-2008 at 01:16 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Does this surprise anyone?

  3. #3

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Sadly, not surprised at all. Just disappointed.

    It'll sell millions.

  4. #4

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Remember it was the direct to video drawn animation films that killed drawn animation. I sure that this film will lower the audiences expectations for CG animation as well. If Disney churns these low quality films out like bunny rabbits, CG animation may not have a very bright future.
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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post
    Remember it was the direct to video drawn animation films that killed drawn animation.
    I thought it was sucky big-screen films that killed it. "Home on the Range" anyone?

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Quote Originally Posted by disneytim View Post
    I thought it was sucky big-screen films that killed it. "Home on the Range" anyone?
    .... just when I thought I forgot about that cursed movie, you mention it again.

    I also blame the sub par big screens; direct to video animated features have been coming out long beforehand.



  7. #7

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Quote Originally Posted by disneytim View Post
    I thought it was sucky big-screen films that killed it. "Home on the Range" anyone?

    No, Home on the Range had great music, a great villain with good side kicks. Heck, it was "The Sound of Music" comparred to Pocahontas 2, and Hunchback 2.



    Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly
    Uh-Oh - did Disneytim just kill off a fairy by saying that - or is he just pulling off the wings of innocent little fairies?

    Quick everybody "I do believe in fairies, I do believe in fairies . . .."

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    Uh-Oh - did Disneytim just kill off a fairy by saying that - or is he just pulling off the wings of innocent little fairies?

    Quick everybody "I do believe in fairies, I do believe in fairies . . .."

  9. #9

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    If you stop buying crap, movie studios will stop making crap

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Quote Originally Posted by sailerm View Post
    If you stop buying crap, movie studios will stop making crap
    IAWTC

    Seriously, that's the reason why HSM 4 is being made... D: The horror! THE HORROR!



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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post
    Remember it was the direct to video drawn animation films that killed drawn animation. I sure that this film will lower the audiences expectations for CG animation as well. If Disney churns these low quality films out like bunny rabbits, CG animation may not have a very bright future.
    In my opinion, CG animated features released in theaters have generally sucked for years now (certainly this decade). So as far as I'm concerned, direct-to-video releases are harmless. I say bring them out as fast as you can make them, then maybe people will get tired of CG animation, box office will plummet, and studios will be forced to make better ones like they used to (or at least use a different formula).

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Quote Originally Posted by sailerm View Post
    If you stop buying crap, movie studios will stop making crap

    The problem is people will never stop buying these direct-to-video Disney flicks, IMO. These movies are marketed toward children and families- for the most part, that's who purchases them. Parents, fondly remember the Disney name from their youth and they consider a Disney title a safe purchase for their kid to watch. It's Disney branding at it's best. It's such easy money for the company; I just can't see them ever ditching the direct-to-video productions-- nor can I see Parents ever stop purchasing these movies mainly because they have familiar characters and the Disney name attached to them.

    Of course, most of us here prove as exceptions to the rule...
    Your Life is an occasion, so rise up to it.

  13. #13

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Unfortunately you're right to an extent, so we have to make it our mission to discourage are friends and neighbors from spending money on inferior Disney product

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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    In animation during the last century, there was always two levels of animation. Disney would always do the top level animation and other companies like Warner Brothers and Hannah-Barbara, did animation that was cheaper and less artistic. Both those companies are out of the animation business long ago. It came to be that while substandard animation did produce quick profits offering trendy humor, Walt Disney's vision of producing classic stories made with the finest quality proved to be the most profitable in the long term. Most of Walt's movies are still enjoyed by kids today, while Bug Bunny, Tweety Bird, Fred Flintstone and George Jetson are largely unknown by the present generation.

    What Disney corporation is failing to do is learn from the past. If they only could see that producing Disney Animation, in a quick, substandard way, will only teach consumers that Disney stands for an inferior product.
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    Re: Lasseter's Pixie Dust Can't Make 'Tinker Bell' Fly

    Excellent review. Thank you Tim!
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