From the world of Peter Pan comes The Pirate Fairy, a swashbuckling new adventure about Zarina (voice of Christina Hendricks), a smart and ambitious dust-keeper fairy who’s captivated by Blue Pixie Dust and its endless possibilities. When Zarina’s wild ideas get her into trouble, she flees Pixie Hollow and joins forces with the scheming pirates of Skull Rock, who make her captain of their ship. Tinker Bell (voice of Mae Whitman) and her friends must embark on an epic adventure to find Zarina, and together they go sword-to-sword with the band of pirates led by a cabin boy named James (voice of Tom Hiddleston), who’ll soon be known as Captain Hook, himself. Enjoy the laughter, heart, magic and thrills of The Pirate Fairy.
We knew it was only a matter of time until the 'Tinker Bell' series fluttered outside of Pixie Hollow and started introducing the human characters from the Peter Pan tales. Truthfully, I thought it would have happened sooner than this, but these 'Tinker Bell' movies have been consistently delightful for what they are, so it hasn't really bothered me. One could figure that Pixie Hollow contains an unlimited amount of storylines. So, if they'd chosen never to introduce Captain Hook or Peter Pan, the series could have just flapped along without a care.
'The Pirate Fairy' is the first introduction we have of familiar faces within the Peter Pan mythology. Zarina (Christina Hendricks) is a dust keeper fairy with big aspirations. She has some wacky ideas about manufacturing pixie dust, creating new colors, and experimenting with new combinations. She's determined, even though experimenting with pixie dust is expressly forbidden within Pixie Hollow. After messing up her first attempt by nearly knocking out Pixie Hollow's entire pixie dust gathering infrastructure, Zarina is ostracized. She flies off into the heart of Neverland, banishing herself after an embarrassing confrontation with Fairy Gary.
Zarina is the series' way to drag Captain Hook (Tom Hiddleston) into the mix. Zarina finds a home with a rough, but young bunch of pirates. James Hook is a clean-shaven pirate who is at this point free from any sort of crocodile cares. Their plan is it use Zarina's pixie dust manufacturing talent, sprinkle their ship with the dust, and fly around pillaging and plundering to their heart's content.
Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman) and all her friends are back. This time they end up getting their talents switched due to some pixie dust voodoo. A few chuckles are had along the way as the fairies struggle with learning new talents.
'The Pirate Fairy' never felt as fun or relaxed as the other 'Tinker Bell' movies have felt. Shoehorning Hook into the mix felt forced, and made me apprehensive for the inevitable arrival of Peter Pan. What's so fun about these movies is that they're encapsulated stories set in an idyllic place, with bubbly characters, vivid animation, and child-friendly stories. Breaking out of the confines of Pixie Hollow by trying to slowly follow along some sort of mythology timeline feels out of place.
Up until now the 'Tinker Bell' movies have been cute, kid-friendly movies that adults could sit down and enjoy too. 'The Pirate Fairy' walks a tighter rope than its predecessors. The expected enjoyment and charm are there, yet there's a feeling that the entire story is awkwardly anchored with the appearance of Hook. Though the introduction of the crocodile, now a baby, is by far the most sugary cute thing the series has done since its inception. With its big eyes and toothy smile the baby croc looks like a cross between a stuffed animal and a Tiny Toon.
I'm pretty easy on the 'Tinker Bell' movies because they exist in their own little world. If they can keep the attention of young kids, and not bore adults, then that's a successful 'Tinker Bell' movie. Surprisingly, Disney has been able to produce multiple sequels that have all been rather solid bits of feature-length animation. I'm split on 'The Pirate Fairy' though. Introducing well-known characters into the series wasn't as seamless as one might suppose.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
This Disney release comes with a 50GB Blu-ray, DVD, and a Disney Movie Rewards code which is also the code that you use for the Digital Copy. The discs are packaged in the standard Blu-ray packaging and come with a nice slipcover with embossed, glittery fairy wings.
Following along with the 'Tinker Bell' series tradition, 'The Pirate Fairy' is nearly flawless. One might expect these straight to home video Disney presentations to have worse quality than the stuff they release in theaters. Not so. 'The Pirate Fairy,' along with the other 'Tinker Bell' movies that have come before, is truly a demo disc in the visuals department. If there's one gripe it's that the pirate animation is a little boxy and looks too much like the humans who inhabit 'Shrek.' Though it's nothing that 'Frozen' didn't get away with, so it should be just fine here too.
Color is extremely bright, creating a kaleidoscope of color that is always a visual highlight whenever you stick in a 'Tinker Bell' movie. There's also the fine attention to detail in these movies which is usually rather astounding. Obviously, as the years have passed and animation technology has improved there's been noticeable upgrades in the rendering of textures and pixie dust. Though each time a new movie comes out the detail – for that time – is astounding. One thing to pay attention to is how each grain of pixie dust is visible. It's pretty wondrous that the particles of dust don't get lost or simply dissipate. Though they're small they're completely visible, adding to the expertly detailed visuals.
Disney has produced a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that might not rival other Disney 7.1 mixes like the bombastic 'The Avengers' soundtrack, but it does use the extra channels to its advantage. It's a light, airy mix with some nuances that may give audiophiles a thing or two to smile about.Up front all is well. The dialogue is nicely reproduced through the front and center channels. There is a lot of directionality needed with the dialogue and the mix works impeccably to piece everything together into a cohesive whole. The side channels are used as fairies whiz by from one side of the screen to the other, producing a few intricate panning effects that sound really great.
The movie's music, which introduces a few of the known Peter Pan tunes, like the crocodile's song, are belted with absolute clarity. The sub-woofer picks up the low notes for the soundtrack and also has some work to do during cannon fire. All in all, it's n remarkable 7.1 mix for a direct-to-video movie.
Second Star to the Right: The Legacy of Never Land (HD, 5 min.) – Director Peggy Holmes is joined by writer Jeffery Howard, producer Jenni Magee-Cook, and Tom Hiddleston talk about getting involved with the project and how it eventually became a reality.
Crocumentary (HD, 5 min.) – A short documentary about crocodiles.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 8 min.) – There are four deleted scenes, which are introduced by Holmes and Magee-Cook. They talk about the reasoning behind why the scenes were cut.
The Making of "The Frigate That Flies (HD, 4 min.) – A behind-the-scenes featurette which shows Hiddelston and fellow voice actor Carlos Ponce singing their parts for the pirate-themed song.
Shorts (HD, 3 min.) – There are two 'Tinker Bell' shorts included here: "Aarrgh!" and "Treasure Chest." Both are good for a few chuckles.
Sing Along Songs (HD, 5 min.) – A sing along is presented for the songs from the movie: "Who I Am," and "The Frigate That Flies."
'The Pirate Fairy' doesn't quite measure up to the 'Tinker Bell' movies that have come before. While it's a delightful escape in some respects, it gets a tad bogged down trying to wedge Hook into the mix. There's enough here that will keep the kids interested though. With demo-worthy video and very strong audio, 'The Pirate Fairy' still comes recommended as one to add to the growing collection of 'Tinker Bell' movies.