Disney // 2009 // 80 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Chief Justice Michael Stailey // October 29th, 2009
"The changing of the seasons brings wonder to the world. For ages has the magic of the fairies been unfurled, but nature's greatest changes come beneath the autumn sky and mysteries reveal themselves as harvest time draws nigh. This year, a shimmering Blue mMoon will rise before the frost. Perhaps its rays can light the way to find what has been lost."
To celebrate this year's unique Harvest Revelry, the Tinker Fairies have been tasked with creating a unique scepter topped with a rare moonstone to capture the light of the Blue Moon, thus creating blue pixie dust to restore the Pixie Dust Tree, a signaling of rebirth and regeneration. At Fairy Mary's (Jane Horrocks, Absolutely Fabulous) recommendation, The Minister of Autumn has awarded Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman, Arrested Development) the job. Her friend Terrence's (Jesse McCartney, Keith) expertise in moonstone lore will certainly come in handy, as they only have one full moon before the Blue Moon rises, and the design must be perfect to maximize the stone's exposure. The problem is a little too much togetherness and the pressure of the job has Tink on edge -- and that frustration leads to ultimate disaster.
Masking her sorrows, she joins her friends at Fairy Tale Theatre whose performance focuses on the legend of The Enchanted Mirror of Incanta. As the story goes, the mirror was forged by fairy magic and has the power to grant its possessor three wishes. But long ago pirates stormed Neverland, captured a fairy, and forced her to reveal the mirror's secret location. The scoundrels were able to use two wishes, before their ship was destroyed upon the rocks of a secluded island -- the mirror lost forever. However, rumor says an ancient sea chant holds the clues to the mirror's location, setting Tink off alone to uncover the enchanted object and use its final wish to locate a replacement moonstone before the Blue Moon rises.
One of the smartest things Bob Iger has done for the company was placing John Lasseter in charge of Disney's feature animation team. While I was initially hesitant about the reveal of the Disney Fairies brand, the first two films have proven to be absolute delights -- robust characters, strong performances, beautiful artwork, and quality storytelling infused with real human emotion, unlike the countless vapid cash grabs that came before.
Unlike Tinker Bell, which was an origin story for Tink and the residents of Pixie Hollow, this adventure focuses on our heroine's complex relationship with Terence, the Dust Fairy, and new friend Blaze, the lightning bug. Like many people possessing exceptional intelligence, she's a bit deficient in graces of social interaction, which leads to all sorts of problems. While Tink's friends we came to know in the first film are all present, Lost Treasure gives us the chance to spend more time discovering the inner Tink and her innate ability to take what may spell tragedy for most folks and turn it into untold opportunity, success, and personal fulfillment.
We get to meet three fantastic new characters in Lost Treasure, the first being the aforementioned Blaze. For as much as audiences developed an instant attachment to the mute Tinker Bell in Peter Pan, the same effect is felt with here with Blaze. His endearment may have been a complete accident on the part of the filmmakers (he was not intended to stick around past this film), but this little bug seems destined for big things. The other two characters of note are The Trolls, as voiced by veteran voice actors Rob Paulsen (Pinky from Pinky and the Brain) and Jeff Bennett (Dexter's dad from Dexter's Laboratory). They're only on screen for a short amount of time, but the characterization of this combative Abbott & Costello pair -- with Jeff doing a near dead-on impersonation of Herve Villechaize (Fantasy Island) for the short troll -- demands much more of a presence in future films. Whether that'll happen, we'll just have to wait and see.
What I love most about this series is its ability to get kids interested and invested in nature, without being preachy or heavy handed. The beauty of the landscapes, the responsibilities of each fairy clan, and their connection of the plants, trees, animals, and insects is seamlessly organic. The film also underscores the importance of friends and family. While we often feel compelled to go it alone and clean up our own mistakes without burdening anyone else, it's only by leveraging the power of collaboration and bringing out the best in each other that we truly make a difference in the world around us.
This is a beautiful looking and sounding film! Spoiled by the artistry of Pixar's CG animation, most everything else tends to come up short, especially the lower budget direct-to-video projects. With Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Toon Disney stays lock-step with its predecessor, turning in magnificent landscapes, sharp character designs, fluid movement, and sweeping action. (Parents take note: There is one battle sequence in the third act which might prove a bit much for your sensitive little ones. You'll see it coming.) Presented in 1.78:1 1080p widescreen with MPEG-4 AVC encoding, you'll be dazzled by the color palate and sharp, unencumbered attention to detail, especially when it comes to things like hair, animal fur, plants, and water. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix is relatively front heavy, failing to take full advantage of what could have been an immersive soundscape. However, composer Joel McNeely turns in yet another adventurous and emotionally-charged score, which picks up the slack for the under-utilized speakers. In short, there is nothing bargain basement about the production values on this film.
When it comes to bonus features, there is plenty of room for improvement. A distinct lack of an audio commentary and any behind-the-scenes featurettes makes this release more EPK than what we're used to seeing from Disney.
Deleted Scenes (16 min)
Live from the Pixie Hollow room at the Disney Studios, director Klay Hall and producer Sean Lurie provide commentary on eight sequences that did not make the final cut of the film. "Frog Race" shows the competitive aspect of Tink and Terence's friendship, something that took away from the emotion of the story they were trying to tell. "Terence Finds Friends" has our disenchanted hero going to each of Tink's closest friends in the hope of gaining insight into her personality. When these scenes turned out to be more comedic devices than plot development, Klay and Sean traded it for his discussion with Mr. Owl. "The Vortex" finds Tink, Blaze, and her balloon confronting the fury of Mother Nature. A great action sequence that was slowing down the pace of the film and needed to go. "Terence Mimics Tink" gives our hero the chance to cover for his friend, when Fairy Mary comes looking for a progress report on the scepter. Once again, unnecessarily dragging down the narrative. "Blaze Gets Eaten" is one of the film's funniest bits, releasing tension from the rat chase. Cut for time. "Trolls Reprise" is a second visit with the Trolls. Funny but unnecessary. Finally, in "Goodbye, Blaze," John Lasseter steps in to save the life of franchise's new favorite character.
Alternate Scenes (4 min)
Pixar-inspired bloopers. More fun for the animators than the audience. Well, except for the Chopsticks bit. That was good.
Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow (5 min)
Terence and Tink give us a guided tour of Autumn in Pixie Hollow. Much like the en vogue motion comics from DC and Marvel Comics, Mae Whitman and Jesse McCartney provide voiceovers for a look at The Hall of Scepters, The Leaf Alphabet, The Tea Room, The Depot, and Fairy Tale Theatre.
Pixie Hollow Comes to WDW (8 min)
Klay and Sean explain what went into creating the world of Pixie Hollow within Epcot for The International Flower and Garden Festival. Just a side note: Pixie Hollow will receive a permanent expanded home in WDW Magic Kingdom's revamped Fantasyland come 2011.
"The Gift of a Friend" Music Video (3 min)
Disney Channel princess Demi Lovato (Camp Rock) steps in to lend her voice to the film's end credits theme.
Sneak Peek at Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
The third film in the series, scheduled for release in October 2010.
For whatever reason, my player claims "this functionality not available in your location." In most cases, unless trumpeted well in advance, the BD-Live features are nothing more than additional promotional material for current and upcoming Disney releases.
Some may argue with me, but the great thing about Disney's Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is that families now have both formats on hand, should they eventually purchase or receive a Blu-ray player as a gift.
Yet another value add to the Peter Pan franchise, Tinker Bell continues to carve out a much larger presence for herself in the Disney universe, and does so with style.
Review content copyright © 2009 Michael Stailey; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated G
* Deleted/Alternate Scenes
* Music Video
* DVD Version
* Video: The Troll Bridge
* Video: Demi Lovato's "Gift of a Friend"
* Video: Tink the Fashionista
* Video: Tink Honored as Ambassador of Green