By Jess Lomas
June 25, 2014
The trend of taking a successful film and sabotaging it by churning out uninspiring sequels is perhaps best illustrated in the world of animation. Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks – they all love to repeat their winning formulas. By the sixth instalment of a franchise, expectations are understandably low, and yet Peggy Holmes‘ Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy is a revelation other sequels can learn from.
Tinker Bell began life, at least in the world of Disney, as the disgruntled fairy sidekick to the boy who wouldn’t grow up in 1953’s Peter Pan. She was resurrected for the modern audience in 2008’s Tinker Bell, set in Pixie Hollow, of Never Land. The Pirate Fairy reintroduces us to Tink (Mae Whitman) and her eclectic group of friends; garden fairy Rosetta (Megan Hilty), water fairy Silvermist (Lucy Liu), animal fairy Fawn (Angela Bartys), light fairy Iridessa (Raven-Symone) and wind fairy Vidia (Pamela Adlon).
The star here, however, is not Tinker Bell but Zarina (Christina Hendricks), an inquisitive fairy unsatisfied with her position in Pixie Hollow. Zarina wants to be more than just a pixie dust-keeper; she’s driven by science, experimentation, and a questioning spirit. When an experiment with blue pixie dust goes wrong, Zarina is banned from being a dust-keeper and leaves Pixie Hollow.
A year passes and the fairies are enjoying the Four Seasons Festival when Zarina returns, placing the audience into an induced slumber. Her plan is to steal the Hollow’s entire supply of blue pixie dust; it’s what’s used to make the gold pixie dust that allows them to fly. Unluckily for her, Tinker Bell and her five fairy friends escaped the forced siesta and follow her, discovering she has become a pirate captain. On board her ship of dastardly men is cabin boy James Hook (Tom Hiddleston), and The Pirate Fairy’s prequel status becomes delightfully clear.
What impresses most about the feature is its cleverness to weave together a back story for Captain Hook whilst feeling fresh. The attention to detail and quality storytelling is heightened by delivering moral lessons without feeling preachy. The voice work is highly impressive, and the six fairies are feisty and entertaining for both children and adults.
At its core, underneath the swashbuckling adventure, Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy is a thoughtful tale of female friendship, of appreciating individuality, opening one’s mind to new possibilities and always believing in second chances.
Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy arrives in NSW, VIC, QLD and NT cinemas June 26, 2014. It arrives in ACT, SA, WA and TAS cinemas July 3.