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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (Blu-ray)
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (Blu-ray)
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // G // September 21, 2010 // Region A
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted September 12, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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Of
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course she's excited! This is Tinker Bell's first time zipping over to the Mainland, after all. Tucked away behind a tree, deep in the forest, is a pixie camp that feels a whole lot like home. The fairies there are keeping busy painting the stripes on bees and dreaming up new designs for butterfly wings, and it couldn't be going any more perfectly. That's kind of the problem, though: Tinker Bell's a tinkerer by trade, and everything's running so smoothly at the pixie camp that she doesn't have anything to fix! The camp's number one rule is to stay away from humans, but...well, humans have so much neat stuff, and what harm could one little peek do anyway?

Whoops! Turns out kind of a lot. Tinker Bell and her fellow fairy Vidia head out to explore and stumble upon a quaint little cabin with an even quainter, even more little fairy house waiting for them out front. Vidia's afraid it might be some kind of human trap, but Tink's not scared, swooping straight inside to explore. Thinking maybe it's high time Tinker Bell realized all of these rules about staying away from humans are there for a reason, Vidia tries to spook her by slamming the door of the dollhouse shut. It's just a prank. No harm done, right? Well, the door's stuck shut, and...oops! A human is coming this way! Don't fret, though. It's just a little girl named Lizzy, and she loves fairies. Just about every square inch of her bedroom is covered with her doodles of fairies, figurines, and books. She'd never do anything to hurt Tinker Bell. Vidia doesn't know that, though. All she sees is Lizzy's fat, ravenous kitty cat, Tinker Bell trapped inside a bird cage, and a study downstairs that's covered wall-to-wall in (gasp!) pinned butterflies. For fairies, that's a pretty ghastly horror show. There's not much Vidia can do to save Tinker Bell by her lonesome, so she heads back to the pixie camp to mount a...well, to mount a great fairy rescue!

Vidia and her pals go on all sorts of harrowing adventures on the way back, braving torrential rains, a massive waterfall, and that darn cat, but as it turns out...? Tinker Bell really doesn't need all that much rescuing. Lizzy may only hear jingle bells whenever Tink tries to speak, but they find a way to communicate just the same. She's the daughter of a naturalist, and Lizzy fills her field journal with all sorts of facts she learns from Tinker Bell about fairies...they're fairy tales, sure, but these are the scientifically documented kind! Lizzy's eager to show her pop her field journal, but Dr. Griffiths is far too distracted by his research to pay all that much attention to her right now. Though Tinker Bell does it all with the best of intentions, her ways of helping out wind up making the good doctor miffed with his daughter. Also, if he gets this excited about showing an oddly colored butterfly to the board of trustees at the museum down in London Town, just think what'll happen if he gets his hands on a real, live fairy...!

I liked Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, the second movie in the Disney Fairies series. I just couldn't
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help but be charmed by how cute and good-natured it is. The Great Fairy Rescue tops it: so adorable that I want to grab this Blu-ray disc off the shelf and give it an oversized bear hug. Part of it's just being a fan of the character of Tinker Bell. I love how naturally inquisitive she is. She has an innate drive to explore how things tick. She doesn't just leap over the hurdles that are in front of her; nope, Tink seeks out problems to solve. She lives to fix things, and building off of where The Lost Treasure left off, Tinker Bell has gotten pretty good at it too. I really like the idea that young girls are being offered a role model like this who's bright and capable, not just another pretty face. The construction of the story is about as clever as Tinker Bell herself too. Everything that's splashed across the screen winds up being important later. Things early on that might seem like a cute throwaway gag turn out to be a key plot point. There are some inspired twists and turns too, and the Great Fairy Rescue in the title might not even mean what you think it does at first glance.

I may not be a parent myself, but if I were, this is a movie I'd love to show my kids. Again, I appreciate the fact that Tinker Bell has smarts and pluck to go with the blonde hair and pixie dust. Nothing that happens in The Great Fairy Rescue is scary enough to rattle young kids. The emphasis is really on a girl's wide-eyed awe at discovering that fairies are real with some good-natured adventure sprinkled in between. Because of that bond that's struck between Tinker Bell and her newfound friend, I can definitely imagine The Great Fairy Rescue being especially appealing to young girls. Even though the movie takes place in the real world, it's still set before Peter Pan, so this is all happening just after the calendar flipped over to the 1900s. There's just something that seems so innocent with the way The Great Fairy Rescue presents that era. It wouldn't be the same in the present day with cell phones, snarky sarcasm, or blaring TVs...here, it's so pure and unspoiled. There's also really not a villain this time around either. Lizzy isn't
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trying to hold Tinker Bell against her will. Dr. Griffiths has his priorities misplaced with his research seeming so much more important to him than paying attention to his daughter, but there's nothing the least bit cruel about the guy. Even his collection of pinned butterflies is part of his research, and he looks at having to snuff them out as an unfortunate part of that. He definitely doesn't take any pleasure in taking the life of a creature like that. The good doctor doesn't believe in fairies, but if he did, he wouldn't want to hurt them either. He'd just want to present them to the scientific community and explore them as he would any research subject. The closest The Great Fairy Rescue comes to a badnik is a thirtysomething pound cat, and he really only pounces into a couple of scenes.

I'll admit it too: I laughed! The way the other fairies struggle as they try to decipher an impenetrable Scottish brogue, the look Tinker Bell shoots back when Lizzy doodles Tink riding a unicorn, and...heck, just the idea of a bloated tabby leaping across floating cups and saucers...I was really charmed by The Great Fairy Rescue's playful sense of humor, and the movie earns its laughs without leaning on any doofy pop culture references. This isn't a Dreamworks movie, after all.

As much as I adore my eight year old sister, there are a lot of movies she loves that I will never, ever watch again. I'd cheerfully sit down and give Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue another look with her, though. I enjoyed it well enough by my lonesome, and I'm sure it'd only be that much more fun with a wide-eyed kid laughing along. The Great Fairy Rescue may not be epic or sprawling in scope as a movie, but it definitely doesn't feel like a direct-to-video release. The animation is so polished and the writing's so sharp that it outclasses quite a bit of what lesser studios are churning out in theaters. Disney is really putting forth an effort to make these movies something special, and The Great Fairy Rescue even manages to be quite a bit better than last year's already pretty solid Lost Treasure. The way I like to approach movies like this when I review them is to ask two questions: would I spend my own money buying this as a gift for one of my younger relatives, and if I did, would I hop on the couch and watch it again with them? The answer is a definite "yes!" on both of those counts, and I'm not at all embarrassed to say that I really enjoyed watching The Great Fairy Rescue even by myself. Highly Recommended.


Video
Perfect! Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue is just breathtakingly beautiful in high definition. Its candy-colored palette is so bright and vivid in the light of day. Sure, there's some nasty weather that soon rolls in, and those scenes are obviously a good bit darker. Whenever the sunlight breaks through, though...? The colors leap clear off the screen. Detail and clarity are both remarkable as well. Even when the camera's pulled far, far back, I felt as if I could count each and every blade of grass...every last leaf on the trees in the background...each individual speck of fairy dust. There's a very strong sense of texture that DVD could never hope to reproduce either. Since The Great Fairy Rescue was created entirely in the digital domain, it hopefully goes without saying that there's no chance of any wear or speckling creeping in. The computer-rendered animation is clear and immaculate, not dragged down by any hiccups in the compression, unwanted filtering, or edge enhancement. I know I already shouted "perfect!" when I started off this whole thing, but when a Blu-ray disc looks this terrific, why not belt it out one more time? Perfect!

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue flutters its way onto Blu-ray with a dual-layer disc, and the unmatted 1.78:1 image has been encoded with AVC.


Audio
This six-channel, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is every bit as lively and playful as Tink herself whenever it has a chance. It's especially vibrant in the opening moments when fairies, moths, birds, and...well, just about anything else with wings are soaring across the screen, fluttering out of one channel and into another. There are all sorts of smooth, seamless pans as a result. The surround channels are colored with splashes of atmosphere like a torrential downpour, claps of thunder, and shimmering streams of fairy dust. The standout moment sonically might be when a car barrels down a muddy road head-on towards a gaggle of trapped fairies, and every last channel comes into play there. Bass response is healthy thanks to the score and thunder, but nothing in The Great Fairy Rescue cries out for a particularly hefty low-end. The mix is definitely weighted towards the front, and because so much of the movie does take place inside small rooms in a cottage in the country, the sound design doesn't have much need to be all that flashy anyway. It still complements the material really well, and the recording is so wonderfully clean and clear that it's tough to find anything to grouse about here. Expectedly terrific work from Disney.

Also included is a Dolby Digital 5.1 dub in French. Subtitles are offered in English (SDH), French, and Spanish.


Extras
  • Deleted Scenes (15 min.; HD): There are a few
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    additional scenes served up on this Blu-ray disc, and they each sport optional introductions by director Brad Raymond and producer Helen Kalafatic. There's a pretty lengthy opening that ultimately went unused that explains why Dr. Griffiths no longer believes in fairy tales. We also get to see just how lonely Lizzy is even when her father's just in the other room, and in another scene, Lizzy explains to Tink precisely how a proper tea party ought to be conducted. Several of these sequences are presented as storyboards only. The scene between Lizzy and her pop is offered both as a storyboard animatic and in very rough CG. The highlight, though, is Tinker Bell fending off a ravenous cat from inside a dollhouse, and, aside from a very quick set of storyboards setting the stage, this is fully animated and looks every bit as polished as the movie proper. I really enjoyed the introductions by Raymond and Kalafatic too. Their comments about why these scenes were snipped out are a lot more thoughtful and inspired than I'm used to hearing.

  • Fairy Field Guide Builder (HD): Hey, how much do you really know about fairies? This trivia game -- broken up into four chapters, each with its own stack of questions -- lets you fill in your own field guide with all sorts of very scientific facts about fairies. The neat thing is that finishing a chapter rewards you with a reasonably long animated sequence further explaining the world of fairies. (Didja know how many different fairy languages there are, for instance?) The payoff here might be the best of any Blu-ray trivia game I've played.

  • Music Video (3 min.; HD): Also featured here is a music video for Bridgit Mendler's "How to Believe".

  • Design a Fairy House (2 min.; HD): Disney held a contest for kids to design their own fairy houses, and this short featurette shows the tykes hard at work. You also get a chance to catch up with the winner and see her drawing come to life.

  • Sneak Peeks (HD): Fairy fans will probably be most interested in the sneak peek at Tinker Bell and the Mysterious Winter Woods, but there are plenty of other previews piled on here too, including Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, the diamond editions of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, and an extended look at Tangled.
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue also comes packaged with a DVD of the movie, and it has the same set of extras and will instantly play without having to fumble with a remote. If the kids are perched in front of that big TV in the living room or are looking at the little LCD screen in the mini-van, you're covered either way. This disc comes packaged with a glossy, embossed cardboard slipcover, and an offer for a charm bracelet is tucked inside. Oh! And The Great Fairy Rescue is a BD Live-enabled disc, but none of those online bells and whistles are available as I write this.


The Final Word
I could write a really long review of Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, or I could just shout "cute!" and "charming!" with a big, toothy grin. Rather than just coasting on the strength of the Fairies brand, Disney is clearly putting a lot of effort into making these the best movies they can, complete with wonderfully polished computer animation and some pretty clever writing. I'm sure it goes without saying that The Great Fairy Rescue is aimed squarely at young girls, but it's so well-made and just infectiously adorable that I'd cheerfully watch it again with my kid sister (or anyone else who asked!). Highly Recommended.
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