Friday, May 15, 2015

Tink Week: Day Five

Does it bother anybody else out there when the entire plot of a movie and all of its dynamic twists are revealed in the trailer or commercial?  It can't just be me, but for some reason studios just can't wrap it around their heads to not let people reveal important plot points before everybody sees their work.

I mean, sometimes it's an outside company, like the fact that LEGO keeps spoiling movie plots by revealing toy sets early, or the people who made the DVD sets that include trailers showing all the scenes in the upcoming season you're about to watch, but studios also spoil all of their own stuff all the time.

It's why I was puzzled why Disney would create a movie called "The Secret Of The Wings" and then blatantly advertise everywhere that the big secret is "Tinker Bell has a sister!"  ...okay, I mean, granted, there's one more secret to the wings, but that's still a pretty huge secret.

If they had just stuck with this, it'd be fine.  This is an awesome poster.

The movie introduces a few new ideas to us, one of the biggest being that "winter fairies" and the other fairies don't mix socially.  "Regular" fairy wings freeze in the constant cold, while the wings on winter fairies wilt in warmer weather.  Thus it's forbidden for pixies from one side to even go into the other side of the boundary.

Which is too bad, because it's a pretty neat boundary.  The moment any animal goes across, it immediately gets its winter coat.

D'aww.
Tinker Bell winds up helping Fawn get some animals across, but sneaks across herself just to see what it's like.  While there, her wings mysteriously start to glow, but then the cold starts to get to her before Fawn pulls her back out again.  Trying to find out why they glowed, she discovers a book about wings partially consumed by a bookworm (featuring what I believe to be a cameo from A Bug's Life) and needing to go back across the border to find the original author.  

Thus, Tinker Bell gets another new outfit, stows away with some supplies being sent to the Winter Woods, and winds up discovering her sister Periwinkle (that baby's laugh she was born from actually split in two, one going into the Winter Woods and the other going to Pixie Hollow).

However, after just one night of sisterly bonding- okay, I need to interrupt my own review here with one thing.  There's moments where Tinker Bell is explaining all of her adventures to Periwinkle, and one of them is absolutely brilliant.  Here's the exchange:

"Then Terrence and I escaped from the pirate ship!"

"Is he your boyfriend?"

"Uhhhhhhhh-"

And then it immediately cuts away to the next scene.  I love that the movies have a solid continuity between them, but I think it's hilarious that Disney tried SO HARD to make Terrence the "safe boy next door" boyfriend of Tinker Bell and then pretty much abandoned it completely in the next film.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh, right.  After their night of bonding, Tinker Bell almost gets injured due to being unable to use her wings, and she gets sent back to the Pixie Hollow side, forbidden from coming back.  Since Tinker Bell is always obeying rules, it means that we get a melancholic ending with two sisters sitting on opposite sides of an invisible barrier, unable to share each other's worl- who am I kidding?  

Tinker Bell works out a plan with Periwinkle to get her sister over to visit HER friends and even meet the Queen in an attempt to get the rule about visiting each other rescinded, thinking that it's cruel to keep sisters apart like that.  Periwinkle gets to see all the wonders of the rest of the seasons (her one big goal being able to see butterflies since they can't exist in winter either), but her wings start to wilt despite the fact that Tinker Bell, using stolen "lost things" and stone age technology, invents an actual snow machine to keep her cold.

Tony. Friggin. Stark of Pixie Hollow.

Lord Milori, the ruler of the Winter Woods, knocks the snow making machine in the river after Periwinkle is barely returned to her side in time, and it's revealed that Queen Clarion made the rule.  A long time ago there were two fairies in love from opposite sides of the boundary.  One of the two lost a wing, thus to keep everybody safe, travelling between the kingdoms was forbidden.  No bonus points awarded if you can guess who the two lovers were.  I'll just point out that we never see Lord Milori fly himself, he's always riding a snowy owl around.  Then again, wouldn't you, if you could?

Real danger comes, however, from the snow-making machine, which gets caught in the river and starts sending massive amounts of snow into the sky, throwing the seasons out of balance and bringing a quick, deadly freeze to Pixie Hollow.  Tinker Bell needs to recruit her sister and the rest of the Winter Fairies to try to save everything, including the tree where all their dust comes from.

The Good:

The movie tries to do a lot in a short amount of time, but for a children's movie, I think it works.  Tinker Bell and Periwinkle don't get a lot of time to firmly establish their sisterly bond, but considering they really only get one night to get to know each other, the montage effect where they're just sharing experiences and stories works really well, because wouldn't YOU want to learn everything you could in a short amount of time?

We meet Periwinkle's friends, and if an entire movie was devoted to Periwinkle and her friends alone, I'd have to say I'd be more excited by her friends Gliss and Spike.  Gliss is completely hyperactive and friendly, while Spike is a bored, flat-voiced snarker like Vidia, but with more apathy.  They're brilliantly voiced by Grey DeLisle (who does a ton of voice work) and incredibly hot Disney actress Debby Ryan, respectively.

Periwinkle herself is voiced by Lucy Hale, who I guess has starred in Pretty Little Liars, but I know her from...well, nothing, really.  She does a solid performance, though, and is able to keep up with Mae Whitman as Tinker Bell.  There's lots of cute little things they do to show just how similar the sisters are despite their distance, such as both of them loving to have little "poms" on their shoes.  

I also need to point out that Lord Milori is voiced by Timothy Dalton, and his scenes with Queen Clarion is pretty great on their own, as well.  They're both strong, noble figures, but there are little subtle hints in how they move around each other and talk to each other that you can pick up on.

Tinker Bell's usual cast also get some fun moments (Fawn dealing with animals, Rosetta going absolutely ga-ga for a handsome winter fairy, and Vidia gets some great subtle moments (a moment in a fairy healing center gives her a great facial expression after she's "shushed" by everybody).  Buuuuuuuuuuuut......

The Bad:

For the most part the supporting cast from the last movie is flat-out ignored.  Iridessa and Silvermist have almost nothing to contribute to the story (which is funny, since the problem involves frozen water and a lack of heat from sunlight), and while there are the few cute moments, it almost doesn't seem worth the paycheck.

There's also a cast replacement again, as Megan Hilty (Smash) takes over Rosetta for Kristin Chenoweth.  She's not bad in the role, but based on how much I fixate gush about enjoyed Ms. Chenoweth in the role and how easy it is to recognize that it's someone different, I felt the need to put it here.  It's really hard to do that Okie accent just right, I guess.

The story's also really predictable, with only one real "huh, didn't see that coming" moment where Tinker Bell figures out how to save everything.  The ill-fated romance story couldn't have been more obvious with flashing signs, and of course the biggest plot twist of the story is REVEALED IN THE COMMERCIALS AND DVD BOX.

There's also a bunch of plot holes that somebody like me would notice.  We clearly saw winter fairies in the first Tinker Bell movie, being present when Tinker Bell had to discover what her talent was.  This has been completely ignored, I guess.  There's also the question of "if Tinker Bell and Perwinkle are sisters, how do they have wings that are adapted to different locations?"

Sure, the answer is probably "magic," but at least clarify that!

The rest of the new characters are also rather flat.  There's a generic handsome fairy named Sled (the one that Rosetta goes nuts for), and a "stoner" fairy who doesn't really contribute much but makes me wonder why he'd be included at all if this is meant for kids.

Overall:

Not a bad movie, but while I liked the depth of the story and scale of the threat, I found myself liking it nowhere near as much as the last one.  I missed the personalities of the characters and their interactions.  It felt rather rushed in places, which makes sense since they had to cram a lot of content into a block of time just over an hour long.  

I find myself really struggling to think of more to say about it.  There are some really nice touches, such as Jodi Benson (Ariel from The Little Mermaid) doing the voice of the healing fairy.  The overarching story is, like in the last one, that family is extremely important, and that you can't necessarily keep everybody safe just by forbidding things.  Honestly, I think the best part of the movie is the bonus clips that came along with the film, acting as an homage to the classic "how to" video clips Disney used to do for sports cartoons.

For the sake of content, I'm posting my favorites here:

My personal favorite is the snowman one.  Of particular note is the Nelson-like "Ha-ha!" laugh from Vidia, the intimidating laugh from the snowman's face,



Again, if you've seen the classic Disney "guides to sports" cartoons, these should all seem really familiar to you.



There's more online, just pop on over to Youtube and check them out!

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