The Tinker Bell Confessions, Part II
So about this time last year I wrote a blog post entitled The Tinkerbell Confessions, a post that discussed the fact that my prejudice against a certain blond-haired, green-clad fairy had been challenged by the new range of Disney’s Pixie Hollow movies. Check out the post here.
Basically, Peter Pan’s “Tink” has been given a make-over, gaining back story and agency as a “Tinker” fairy, which means she’s essentially part inventor, part engineer. Her adventures in Pixie Hollow and on Earth involve her use–and mis-use of her talents in the first three movies. The fourth movie focused on Tinkerbell discovering that she has a sister in Winter. In the fifth movie, The Pirate Fairy, Tink isn’t even really a main character. That honor falls to Zarina, while Tink remains part of a 5-friend ensemble cast. I’ve done a brief description of each movie in the original post.
By the time you get to the newest Pixie Hollow movie to hit Netflix, well, it’s only gotten better.
Tinker Bell and the Legend of The Neverbeast tells us the story of the mysterious green comet making it’s way past Pixie Hollow. An event that only happens once every thousand years or so. As it arrives in the sky, it wakes a mysterious beast from a deep sleep. Something that no one living in Pixie Hollow has ever encountered before. Now, this should really be Fawn and the Legend of the Neverbeast, because as promised in trailers, this movie focuses on our fun and energetic animal fairy. This impulsive and rather reckless fairy who tends to act from what her heart tells her, often gets into trouble over the fact that her actions are not wise, even if well-meaning. Tink shows up to help Fawn occasionally, but she’s just a background character in the whole story. Having the movie focused on one of the other fairy girls from the ensemble is a new step for Disney all on its own. (One wonders if each of the other friends will get their own movie–I’d be all for it!). Tink probably gets less screen time here than in any movie to date. And you know what? It didn’t matter. It was Fawn’s story.
Who else did matter? Our newest named fairy: Nyx. Nyx is from a new job description of fairies: the Scouts. Now, if you’ve been watching these movies from the beginning, you know the writers have done some major changes to the canon several times. The addition of the Scouts is one of these–but it’s not an unwelcome change. In fact it’s one of the most welcome shifts yet in the show. This is the first time we have a protector calling the world of Pixie Hollow. The Scouts are tough, ready to take on danger, out to eliminate threats and skilled in the use of tools and weapons. They don’t rely on overt magic, similar to the Tinkers in that their talents are more grounded. The Scouts keep Pixie Hollow safe. Their leader is Nyx.
Nyx is action- hero material. She’s tough, brave, absolutely confident in her skills to ward off danger. She breathlessly moves from defending one fairy, to stopping a full grown hawk–and does it without an ounce of fear or hesitation. She commands her Scouts effortlessly to work in tandem with each other. She has their respect and loyalty. She’s powerful, commanding, a little daunting and totally amazing. Her coloring suggests Native American roots (though these are fairies so I don’t know how that would work). Next to Fawn, she’s the character with the most presence in the movie. Nyx is the Scout who has to fix things when one of Fawn’s animal projects goes out of control.
Now, this could have gone the way of the original movie with the conflict of personalities between Tink and Vidia. Thankfully, it doesn’t. Nyx may not like what Fawn does, but she’s not vicious or mean, just annoyed. Fawn may find Nyx’s vigilance making things complicated for her, but she’s grateful for the Scout fairy and never resents her, even if she disagrees with her. There’s no pettiness in this movie–characters aren’t reacting out of ego and status, but rather from their own conviction as to what is right. Altogether a more complicated thing. Nyx is never a villain–only a fairy who has made a mistake based on what she knows and what her priorities are. And when Nyx comes face to face with the extent of her mistake, she does not lose her power or become a different fairy–she acknowledges that mistake and moves on to defend and protect with this new information. She’s magnificent.
This is a beautifully done movie with great music, great character development, and a real fantasy plotline that blends the male/female traditional storytelling into a wonderfully epic tale. The only glaring misfire in this movie for me? There’s this one scene with Nyx at the library where our librarian character tries to lamely flirt with Nyx. The exceedingly off tone flirting isn’t even amusing–it’s as annoying for us as it is for Nyx, and blessedly over within a minute or two.
This is a movie I’d happily recommend anyone share with their young daughters, and sons. As much as I may be annoyed with Disney for how they market to girls, this particular animation is doing something very, very right.