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Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue(2010)
Tinker Bell is discovered by Lizzy, a girl with a steadfast belief in fairies. As their different worlds unite, Tink develops a special bond with the curious girl in need of a friend. As her fellow fairies launch a daring rescue, Tinker Bell takes a huge risk, putting her own safety and the future of the fairies in jeopardy.
For more about Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue and the Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray release, see Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on September 19, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Bradley Raymond
Writers: Joe Ansolabehere, Paul Germain (I), Bob Hilgenberg, Rob Muir (I)
Starring: Mae Whitman, Lauren Mote, Michael Sheen, Pamela Adlon, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symoné
» See full cast & crew
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray Review
Wonders will never cease. A direct-to-video animated franchise film that actually delivers...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, September 19, 2010
You have to hand it to the marketing masterminds at Disney. Not only did they shrewdly transform a pint-sized bit player from a 1953 animated classic into a wildly successful cash cow, they transformed a jealous, temperamental, vindictive pixie like Tinker Bell -- who, lest we forget, was willing to aid her beloved Pan's mortal enemy if it meant getting rid of wretched ol' Wendy -- into an endearing, dare I say enchanting little icon. The Great Fairy Rescue is Tink's third time hogging the spotlight, and it's the best spin-off of the franchise. Short and sweet? Indeed. Aimed at young girls between four and nine? Definitely. But don't be fooled. There's a steady heartbeat pulsing deep within this direct-to-video gem; a disarming convergence of sugar-sprinkled storytelling, thematic simplicity, mildly harrowing adventure and good-natured, animated fun guaranteed to leave your daughters smiling and laughing from beginning to end. And who knows? You might just be swept away with them.
After learning to stay true to herself in 2008's Tinker Bell and realizing the value of honesty and integrity in its 2009 sequel, The Lost Treasure, Disney's pixie prima donna (voiced by Avatar: The Last Airbender's Mae Whitman) returns in The Great Fairy Rescue with renewed enthusiasm... only to land herself in another spot of trouble. While tending to England's flowering fields, Tink is captured by a well-mannered nine-year-old human named Lizzy (Lauren Mote). Upon hearing of her imprisonment, the young fairy's faithful friends (Pamela Adlon, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone, Kristin Chenoweth and others) spring into action and mount a daring rescue, even though it requires them to brave the perils of a summer downpour. No small feat for such small creatures. But as it turns out, Tink isn't in much danger. Lizzy is a curious tot determined to verify the existence of fairies and catalog their behavior, nothing more. Before long, trust is earned, bonds are developed and Tinker Bell becomes quite fond of her first human companion. Their relationship is threatened though when Lizzie's father (Michael Sheen) intervenes, putting Tink and her friends to the ultimate test. Will the fairies survive? Will mankind learn of their existence? Will heart strings be plucked? Will life lessons abound?
Even by the twenty minute mark, it's abundantly clear that The Great Fairy Rescue is a more fully realized film than its predecessors. Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir's parallel storylines are strong enough to support their own features, yet work in perfect tandem; Lizzie is an infectious lead, and her methodical study of fairy culture is as cute as it is charming; Tink's misadventures in human handling are nothing short of inspired; size and scale are employed to great effect; and the fairies' trek across a hostile countryside is as absorbing as a film targeting little girls could be. Director Bradley Raymond navigates tricky waters -- after all, Rescue isn't as complex or powerful as Disney's theatrical heavyweights -- but nevertheless keeps a steady hand at the franchise helm. Wide-eyed fairy fans will be chomping their nails one minute, wishing they were Lizzie the next, all the while giggling and grinning with awe-struck wonder. Yes, Raymond and his writers make a few missteps (lingering pacing issues among them), and yes, Lizzie's father is a somewhat contrived source of conflict crammed into an otherwise breezy plot. But very little hinders the march of Tinker Bell's progress. As far as I'm concerned, it's better than several paint-by-numbers box office hits that have muscled their way into theaters in the last five years.
The franchise's CG animation has received some much-needed tinkering as well. Gone are the glassy stares and dead eyes that plagued early outings like The Lost Treasure. Tink, her tiny compatriots, Lizzie and her father exude emotion with every glance and glare, making each character more... well, human. But that's not all. The fairies' translucent wings are works of animated art, light and shadow have been refined with Pixar-esque precision, expressions are far more nuanced and evocative, and a variety of background elements brush shoulders with photo realism. Rather than churn out rehashed stories, recycled animation and superficial children's entertainment, Disney pushes the direct-to-video bar higher and higher. Could The Great Fairy Rescue sustain a theatrical release? In Ireland and the UK, it did just that. And I doubt a full-fledged Tinker Bell film is far off. If Disney's filmmakers and animators continue to elevate their game, there's no telling how far the Mouse House's flights of fancy could soar. As it stands, just one question remains. Can a well-calculated marketing gimmick evolve into a worthwhile franchise? Shed your doubts, clap your hands and shout "I believe in fairies!" If The Great Fairy Rescue is any indication, it can.
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Great Fairy Rescue's crisp and colorful 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer isn't Pixar perfect -- pixie-eyed videophiles and screenshot sprites will spot minor aliasing throughout the presentation -- but the vast majority of viewers won't notice and, frankly, won't care. Nor should they. Disney hasn't cut a single direct-to-video corner, and Tinker Bell and her winged friends have never looked better. Lush leaves and vibrant flowers all but sprout from the screen, rich primaries rain down on gorgeous green meadows, earthy expanses and candlelit rooms are warm and inviting, and satisfying shadows fall across every surface like finely spun silk. Contrast is bold and breathtaking as well, and black levels are flawless. And detail? Take note of the pinpoint textures that grace Tink's cage, the razor thin petal-veins in the fairies' dresses, the tiny brush strokes in the paintings hanging on Lizzie's walls, every swirling speck of pixie dust... if the animators dreamed it, Disney's Blu-ray beaut delivers it. Better still, artifacting, noise, ringing and, yes, even banding are nowhere to be found. In fact, if it weren't for the faint, fleeting aliasing that haunts the film's finest lines and sharpest edges, I wouldn't have anything but praise for the transfer. Tinker Bell fans, young and old, will be ecstatic.
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Disney's lively DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't as magical as its video transfer, but it leaves a lasting impression nonetheless. From fairy whispers to human bellows, dialogue is bright, clean and perfectly intelligible, and isn't undermined when violent storms and thrilling chases ensue. LFE output is on point as well, granting cat attacks, cage doors, car engines and sky-splitting thunder heft and presence (without overwhelming the soundscape or weighing down the proceedings). Dynamics are reasonably restrained and quick to adapt, and separation is spot on. Granted, the whole of the experience is a wee bit front-heavy, but that doesn't mean the rear speakers don't eagerly join in the fun whenever it erupts. Summer winds, fluttering wings, blooming flowers and crackling spells pair nicely with Joel McNeely's sprightly score and envelop the listener in all the sounds of Tink's tinkering. Relatively precise directionality and nimble pans complete the sonic ensemble, and the soundfield remains fairly immersive throughout. The Great Fairy Rescue didn't leave my home theater in disarray, but it didn't leave me disappointed either.
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Aimed squarely at the kiddies, The Great Fairy Rescue's paper-thin special features are easily exhausted. A lengthy batch of "Deleted Scenes" (HD, 15 minutes) is the main draw, an exclusive "Fairy Field Guide" interactive trivia game is included for good measure, a brief highlight reel of a "Design a Fairy House" event (HD, 2 minutes) will leave your daughters wishing they had participated in all the fun, while a music video (HD, 3 minutes) for Bridgit Mendler's "How to Believe" tops off the disc's slim supplemental package.
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Great Fairy Rescue is easily the best of the Tinker Bell films and should appeal to any family who counts at least one young girl among their own. Sweet and syrupy as it all may be, it will thrill four to nine-year-olds and leave them begging for more. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it has a few wholesome lessons to teach its knee-high fanbase along the way. Better yet, if you look past Disney's near-barebones supplemental package, the Blu-ray edition of The Great Fairy Rescue has a lot to offer. Its video transfer is gorgeous, its DTS-HD Master Audio track is engaging and its 2-disc BD/DVD combo pack is perfect for families who don't have a Blu-ray player in every room. (Or minivan as it were.) I don't have a daughter, but if I did, this is exactly the sort of direct-to-video children's film I would add to my cart. Tinker Bell is coming into her own and your little girls are the beneficiaries.
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• Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray in September - March 19, 2010
Parents rejoice! Peter Pan's erstwhile sidekick has branched out to become a bona fide DTV franchise for Disney, with the help of her "Disney Fairies" clique. The studio that brought you Tinker Bell in 2008 and Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure in 2009 has announced ...
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