One for the girls, younger the better
Hell hath no fury like a fairy scorned in Peggy Holmes’s feature-length animated fantasy based on characters created by JM Barrie.
Like previous instalments, Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy is set before the Darling children fly towards the “second star to the right, and straight on till morning”, chronicling the adventures of the eponymous fairy and her chums in the idyllic realm of Pixie Hollow.
Earlier films were themed around the four seasons but director Peggy Holmes’s chapter sketches the origins of one of Neverland’s most iconic characters, Captain Hook, and explains how the scurvy scoundrel comes to fear the sound of a ticking clock inside a crocodile’s belly.
It’s exceedingly sweet and colourful, not to mention achingly predictable, but is perhaps a bit too scary for really young children during the film’s louder interludes.
Contrary to the expectations of title, the chief protagonist is a fairy called Zarina (voiced by Christina Hendricks), who has always harboured a fascination with the iridescent Blue Pixie Dust that is essential to life in Pixie Hollow.
She is particularly interested in the colour of Pixie Dust and asks Fairy Gary (Jeff Bennett), the Scottish foreman of the dust-keepers, if there could be other hues.
“The day someone finds pink pixie dust is the day I trade in my kilt for trousers!” he quips.
Zarina experiments with the dust with disastrous consequences and flees the kingdom in shame.
She leaves behind benevolent ruler Queen Clarion (Anjelica Huston) and fellow fairies Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman), Fawn (Angela Bartys), Iridessa (Raven-Symone), Rosetta (Megan Hilty), Silvermist (Lucy Liu) and Vidia (Pamela Adlon).
At her lowest ebb, Zarina aligns herself with the pirates of Skull Island led by handsome and charming cabin boy, James (Tom Hiddleston).
One year after her inglorious exodus, Zarina covertly returns to Pixie Hollow and helps the salty seadogs steal the Blue Pixie Dust in order to make their pirate ship fly.
“Once we’re past the second star, the world will be my oyster... and I don’t even like oysters!” guffaws James.
In the absence of the dust, Pixie Hollow is plunged into darkness so Tinker Bell and her plucky pals give chase, determined to restore balance to their stricken realm.
Compared to the recent Disney feature Frozen, Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy is incredibly simplistic and the plot is disappointingly linear.
However, the scriptwriters are constrained by literary mythology that cannot be subjected to any tinkering.
The film affirms the importance of friendship with every flutter of the fairies’ wings and encourages inquisitive young minds to think out of the box. It’s a little ironic then, that Holmes’s picture allows its own imagination and invention to hibernate for the entire 78 minutes.
Animation/Family/Adventure. Featuring the voices of Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman, Angela Bartys, Raven-Symone, Megan Hilty, Lucy Liu, Pamela Adlon, Tom Hiddleston, Jeff Bennett, Anjelica Huston. Director: Peggy Holmes.