Yes, Disney does release the occasional crappy direct-to-home-video title every now and then – 'Santa Buddies' I'm looking at you – but, overall they've really stepped up their game in this department in the post-Eisner era. Remember back in the 90s, all those spin-offs and home video sequels of blockbuster Disney animated films? I still remember the atrocious 'Aladdin' sequels… Oh dear. There was a point there where everything Disney made that did relatively well was milked for everything it was worth. Literally, everything. The ill-conceived sequels and spin-offs even made the originals less special, which was perhaps the saddest aspect of the whole debacle.
When Disney announced they were going to do a series of home video releases about Tinker Bell and her friends at Pixie Hollow I have to admit I cringed thinking about the dark days of the Disney home video market in the 90s and said, "Here we go again."
Much to my surprise Disney created a home video franchise that was not only appealing to children it was also clever enough to appeal to the adults who too often find themselves stuck watching mindless dreck during their kid's TV time.
'Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue' is the third installment in the franchise, and it keeps the same fun spirit that the first two had. Tinker Bell and her friends have traveled to London in the summertime to give nature a little uplift. Painting butterflies, drawing the lines on bees, helping tadpoles swim, you know, just another day at the office for fairies. Tinker Bell is warned by the other fairies that under no circumstances is she supposed to let a human being see her.
Lizzy and her father have just moved into a countryside cottage. Lizzy is obsessed with fairies and believes that they truly do exist. Her father is the scientific type and finds it ridiculous that her daughter would believe in such nonsense (Sidenote: It seems that Disney has, for whatever reason, returned to the motherless family once again).
As you probably guessed Tinker Bell finds herself face to face with Lizzy and becomes trapped. The other fairies rush to save her before something bad happens.
That's really all that you need to know about the movie. It's pretty straightforward. The key is that the 'Tinker Bell' franchise knows exactly what it wants to be and what demographic it is targeting. My wife is obsessed with all things Peter Pan and Neverland, so when these 'Tinker Bell' movies surfaced she had to see them. It's interesting to watch her as the movie plays out. Her inner child surfaces and all she can do is stare at the screen and exclaim, "Oh that's so cute." At the danger of sounding too sappy I'll stop right there, but you get the idea. There's just something about these movies that gets to people that are interested in the subject matter, and even to people who aren't (like me). They're well done films, with fun-loving characters, lovely colorful animation, and exciting storylines. It's easy to picture a small girl getting lost for hours in a movie like this, and that's what Disney is going for. 'Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue' along with the other films, meets and even exceeds its goal of being a franchise for little girls everywhere.
They're just a lot of fun to watch and this installment is no different. It's a movie that you won't mind sitting down with your kids to watch multiple times. With a kid's movie that's really all you can ask for anyway.
'Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure' was demo material, plain and simple. 'Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue' doesn't waver a bit from the high bar set at the beginning of this franchise. It would be easy for Disney to take shortcuts for films that weren't even going to hit theaters and make movies with less than stellar visuals, but they haven't. The look of this movie is simply stunning. I'm blown away by all the bright, vibrant colors and the amazing detail. Everything is just perfect.
What caught my eye first were the hand drawn fairies show during the opening credits. They look like real drawings where you can see, perfectly, imperfect pencil marks or white specks where a crayon wasn't able to get full color onto the paper. From the opening credits to the closing ones, this is a non-stop ride in demo-land.
I love that you can see each and every tiny molecule of pixie dust as it floats through the sky. Comparing it to the DVD the pixie dust becomes muddled and a lot less defined. Here though each speck is visible, shining, and bright. Colors burst from the screen with green being the most featured color as the fairies have to find their way through tall grass. Raindrops from the storm in the movie come alive as each one is visible as it falls from the sky and plops on the ground.
One of my very favorite details about this (and the other) movies is how delicate the translucent fairy wings appear. Each wing is see-thru, but with the detail of 1080p you're able to pick out the very fine details of tiny swoops and swirls that decorate the wings. While the animation itself may not look as well-refined or as realistic as the top-notch animation that Pixar puts out, nonetheless this is a perfect visual presentation all around and a great piece of eye candy to boot.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio accompanying this release is a great complement to the stunning visuals. Like the visuals, the audio presentation relies on its attention to detail to get the job done. Directionality is spot on with sounds happening all around the listening environment as characters perform actions off screen. Surrounds come alive during the rainstorm as raindrops permeate the soundfield. Panning effects are smooth and inviting as fairies zoom across the screen with a tiny tinkling sound following them, or as an old-time car rumbles along a dirt road that stretches across the screen.
Dialogue is perfectly established in the front channels. Even the tiny jingling that is produced when Tinker Bell talks to humans is clearly audible. The soundtrack is light when it comes to lower end frequencies, but that's no matter, because the way it is works just fine. The sub woofer kicks in every now and then during the intense action scenes like when Tinker Bell's friends are flying down a river in a homemade boat during a thunderous rainstorm. The original music produced for the movie is light-hearted and bleeds into the rear speakers for an all encompassing effect whenever another original song comes on. All in all, just another very solid audio performance for this great series of movies.
Sit down with your family and watch this movie. Your young kids will love it, and your young girls will love it the most. The best thing is, the movie isn't dumbed down for kids and doesn't contain ridiculous humor like fart jokes. These are cute films that aim to make little girls and most everyone else happy. The visuals here are simply stunning and will make great demo material. The sound does a fantastic job a capturing the life and times of Tinker Bell and her friends. The extras are a little slim, but at least there's a music video, right?
'Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue' is an enjoyable addition to the growing collection of Tinker Bell on home video. You won't be disappointed if you purchase this, and neither will your kids. This Blu-ray comes recommended.