fairy flick tosses apocalyptic prophecy and Pixie Hollow infighting into the otherwise
familiar proceedings. This time around, we focus on a somewhat reimagined Fawn (she’s
the one who loves animals). Fawn has a new look—the introduction of which is in
one of the deleted scenes—and a new voice, Gennifer Goodwin (Snow White of
ABC’s Once Upon a Time).
Fawn is so
dedicated to all creatures great and small that she tends to innocently cause
havoc among the fairfolk when she brings home the more hazardous denizens of
nature’s wonderland. The plot thickens when she spots a strange beast and it’s
puppy love at first sight.
(Rosario Dawson), leads a team of Tolkien-esque warrior fairies who operate as
the Pixie Hollow security troop. Devoid of humor but heavy on single-minded
duty, she is clearly “over” Fawn before the film begins. So when the gigantic
“Gruff” becomes Fawn’s latest cause, she does some research that predicts this oversized
puppy thing is destined to go all Chernabog and destroy Pixie Hollow.
meanwhile, channels Fay Wray with Gruff as Nyx’s worst fears seem to be coming
to pass. Both Nyx and Fawn are polarized versions of the other; each has good intentions
that become obsessions, thus making the story about their issues in addition to
the threat of total destruction.
All of this
is not as dark as I’m painting it, of course. Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast is filled with humor,
whimsy and lots of adorable bunny rabbits. But the very youngest viewers might
find a few scenes either scarier or sadder than in the usual Tinker Bell film.
toilet trained, however, the film has the tightest storyline since Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
(my personal favorite). Tink herself plays only a minor role, which was
inevitable in order to sustain the series. Each new release draws attention to
one of the original fairies or new arrivals. Nyx’s warrior team in particular
has the potential to generate a future storyline.
interesting note: this may be the first Disney Fairies feature suggesting that
the fairies date. A nerdy character named Scribble (voiced by Thomas
Lennon)—who incidentally refers to himself as a “Ferryman” or “Fairyman”—invites
Fawn out to dinner.
To get the
most out of this film, I recommend watching the first of the bonus features,
“Five Essential Ingredients to Getting Gruff”, for an overview that enhances
the enjoyment. The origin of Gruff is explained (his look is partially based on
the loveably odd-looking canine pet of director Steve Loter’s daughter Calista).
This five-minute segment also demonstrates some of the unusual instruments that
set the musical score apart, and the ways that color changes in the settings
were directly tied to the moods of each sequence in the film.
extras include a romp through the Santa Barbara Zoo with Steve and Calista,
deleted scenes and a somewhat cutesy look at unusual animals narrated by TV
animal show host Jeff Corwin, who has a small voice role in the film.
creative extra feature is a quick promo called “Tink’n About Animals”, in which
Fawn sings about the ways to refer to groups of animals. It’s set to “Turkey in
the Straw” (a old favorite of Mickey’s) and combines CG with “cartoon modern”
flash animation. This little gem isn’t on the DVD, but it’s on the Blu-ray or
you can watch it here: