Blu-ray Review: The Pirate Fairy

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Kidvid of a high order arrives in the form of Disney’s The Pirate Fairy, the fifth feature film in the Tinker Bell direct-to-video series that began in 2008. The previous outings were centered squarely in Pixie Hollow, but here we venture out into the larger world of Neverland. We also have the arrival of a young James Hook, though not nearly a captain as of yet. Tom Hiddleston (Loki in the Thor movies) voices Hook with a playful menace as we witness the beginnings of evil taking root in the character. As for the title character, she’s a renegade dust-keeper-turned-alchemist fairy by the name of Zarina (voiced by Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks). After she willfully breaks the “no tampering with Pixie dust” rule, wreaking havoc throughout the Hollow, Zarina is stripped of her job responsibilities. Dejected, she leaves the Hollow.

Pirate Fairy Image 2 TMR.jpgZarina returns to the Hollow, only to fly off with the blue pixie dust with which she had been experimenting. She becomes an improbable pirate ship captain, a developed soon discovered by Tinker Bell (voiced by Mae Whitman) and her friends. Some fun is had at the expense of Tink and friends as Zarina mischievously switches their talents. Silvermist (Lucy Liu) inherits Vidia’s (Pamela Adlon) fast-flying skills, losing her water fairy skills to Tink. Vidia is now the tinker fairy and so on and so forth, with the remaining fairies—Iridessa (Raven-Symone), Rosetta (Megan Hilty), and Fawn (Angela Bartys)—all similarly mixed up.

Pirate Fairy Image 3 TMR.jpgAt any rate, Zarina is faced with a conundrum. Does she redeem herself by realigning with the fairies or will it, in fact, be a pirate’s life for her? A series of cliffhangers should hold the attention of both child viewers and probably even their parents. The climax is arrived at rather soon; don’t be fooled by the 78 minute running time. Not only are there ten minutes of end credits, the nearly ten-minute stretch prior to that roll is given over to post-climactic tomfoolery and celebration. But as with the previous entries in the Tinker Bell franchise, it’s all painless fun. A post-credits scene involving Hook offers a hint as to the direction the series is taking.

The Pirate Fairy_Young Hook TMR.jpgThe Pirate Fairy is a pleasure to look at, with crisp images that burst with color. The animation, so strong for a direct-to-video release (and typical of the series), is quite detailed. Some of the biggest set pieces, such as the flying pirate ship, are quite eye-popping. Textures are surprisingly realistic given the context of the film. All of it is rendered perfectly on Disney’s 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray. The DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix is actually quite subtle. Joel McNeely’s music spreads out nicely across the spectrum, but for a 7.1 mix this is fairly front-centric—not a complaint, as everything sounds great.

Pirate Fairy Image 5 TMR.jpgA smattering of minor extras is included (along with a standard DVD and digital copy). “Second Star to the Right: The Legacy of Neverland” is a 5-minute piece that includes comments by members of the film’s creative team. “Croc-umentary” is a short featurette focused on crocodiles, apparently included to boost the disc’s educational value (which it does only incrementally). There are several deleted (and, typical of animated films, unfinished) scenes, each with a slightly awkward introduction by director Peggy Holmes and producer Jenni Magee-Cook. “The Making of ‘The Frigate That Flies’” allows a glimpse at the voice actors’ recording sessions, including Tom Hiddleston. There’s also a pair of Tinker Bell animated shorts.

Ultimately disposable but nonetheless admirably produced, The Pirate Fairy fits in nicely with DisneyToon Studios’ B-list animated feature series. It’s hard to imagine anyone in the target demographic not endlessly re-watching this one along with the previous four.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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