Pirate Fairy: A Review

pirate fairy5In 2014 20 films were submitted to the Oscars for consideration.  Of that 20 I have seen 17 (including the film reviewing right now).  Of the remaining 3, one should be coming up in the next week or so and two I have found impossible to find (Cheating and Giovanni’s Island. If anyone knows a way clue me in!).  Three I am not reviewing on this site because they are garbage and I try to only review movies I have at least one positive thing to say about aside from the Disney Canon which I reviewed all of them.  If people really want me too review them let me know.  The three garbage films are Nut Job, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return and The Hero of Color City.  If you want to read a review tearing apart three movies I will do it but only if by request (this is a hobby after all, so it should be something I enjoy). 🙂

But today I get to review the 6th installment in the Tinker bell series produced by Disney Toons, the mostly direct to video wing of Walt Disney. My blogging friend over at Animatedkid is reviewing the entire Disney Toons Canon (bless his heart…). The movies are terrible but his reviews are great so check it out.  The Tinker bell movies may seem like masterpieces by the time he gets to them! https://animatedkid.wordpress.com/

I’m actually excited to talk about this movie because the entire Tinker Bell series are way better than you might at first think. They are pretty well animated, have decent stories and good voice performances.  Are they Oscar worthy?  No but they really are  entertaining, well made movies.

And I’d say The Pirate Fairy is the best of the series I have seen.  It’s a cute little  story which I think girls will love.

pirate fairy2The story for The Pirate Fairy is centered around a fairy named Zarina (voiced by Christina Hendricks of Madmen fame).  She is a curious fairy and is easily bored doing her job as a dust-keeper (in the Fairy world all the pixies have distinct roles like Animal Keeper, Spring Fairy etc).

The Dust Keepers make pixie dust for all the other pixies to use and they have an assembly line that follows time tested methods for making yellow dust that is magic out of concentrated blue stones.

dust keeper homeZarina wants to know why they do things the way they do and she begins experimenting with different combinations of dust causing different reactions.  Unfortunately one of those reactions causes a kind of explosion and Zarina is forbidden from being a dust keeper.

After Pixie Hollow celebrates the seasons, Zarina runs away and takes the blue dust with her. Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman), Silvermist (Lucy Liu), Iridessa (Raven-Symone), Rosetta (Megan Hilty), Fawn (Angela Bartys) and Vidia (Pamela Adion) go after her . It’s a fun collection of girls and personalities- kind of like the fairy world Avengers ;).

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When they find Zarina it turns out she has become a pirate (captain no less) on a ship with James Hook (voiced by Tom Hiddleston!). He is of course up to no good!

pirate fairy9The rest of the movie is a back and forth between the girls, Hook and the pirates.  Eventually Zarina realizes Hook is just using her to get the pixie dust so his ship will be able to fly. The girls have to defeat Hook, rescue Zarina and get back the blue stones.

pirate fairy4So yes The Pirate Fairy doesn’t reinvent the wheel but there are a lots of little winks to the original Peter Pan movie like showing the origin of the clock in the crocodile or how Hook met Mr Smee.  The girls have fun personalities and Zarina is very likable.  Hiddleston hams it up as Hook and overall it’s not a bad watch. It’s not quite special enough to be worthy of a B but still a strong recommendation especially for the target audience.

I think girls 5 and under will love it and it has a nice message about being curious, smart and valuing everyone’s unique gifts.

The animation is pretty good with the pixie dust sparkling all over the ship and characters.  As I said the voicework is good and Joel McNeely does a great job with the music.

If you have a young girl I think they will really enjoy The Pirate Fairy. For what it is trying to be it does it very well.

Overall Grade- C+  (Not every movie has to be a masterpiece for me to heartily recommend it).

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Best and Worst of Disney 1937-1959

As I have been doing my reviews people have asked me ‘what is your favorite of what you’ve reviewed so far?’  It’s tough because I like all of them for different reasons.  But I thought it would be fun to give some highlights of the first 20 years of Disney which I just finished by reviewing Sleeping Beauty.

Overall Best Film-  Cinderella

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It’s really hard to decide but I’d pick Cinderella because it has the whole package.  It’s got a likable heroine who we actually get to know,  great songs, it’s got artistry in scenes like Sing Sweet Nightingale, a terrific villain in Lady Tremaine,  brilliant voice work and just the right touch of humor.

Overall Worst Film- Three Cabelleros and Fun and Fancy Free

fun and fancy free postercaballeros

I gave 2 films D grades, Fun and Fancy Free and Three Cabelleros.  FFF I thought was just lazy.  The Bongo story is odd and kind of slow. Mickey and the Beanstalk is fine but not great. If it was a little tighter with a better villain I would have enjoyed it more.  Three Cabelleros is in my opinion worse than Saludos Amigos because it only has 2 shorts and then there are songs where the characters are shouting and lots of Donald chasing human women.   They aren’t awful but just for Disney they are weak entries.

Best Artistry- Fantasia

Alice in Wonderland is amazing but Fantasia is like a combination of the greatest art gallery in the world and symphony in one experience.  It blows me away.

Fantasia isn’t really entertainment . It’s goals are bigger than that.  It is trying to inspire creativity in hopes the viewer will not simply absorb art and music but give their own spin on it, their own interpretation. It inspires me every time I watch it and I think people who don’t like it just don’t like classical music.

Strangest Scene- Dumbo

Pink Elephants on Parade

It’s like every bad dream you’ve ever had jumbled into one crazy sequence.  It is also comes from Dumbo and Timothy getting drunk which is strange and has absolutely no purpose in the story.   I love it!

Strangest Character- Make Mine Music- Willie the Whale who sings Opera

Is that not one of the oddest images you've seen?
Is that not one of the oddest images you’ve seen?

willie2 willie the whale

Make Mine Music was full of strange moments but Willie the opera singing whale was the strangest.. He just looks so strange.  He looks like  a giant chalkboard eraser. And why did he have to die?The narrator actually tells the children watching  “Willie’s singing was a miracle and people aren’t used to miracles.  And you faithful friend don’t be too sad because somewhere in whatever heaven is reserved for creatures of the deep Willie is still singing”  That’s such a strange message for kids.  ‘people don’t like miracles and so they kill them and send them to whale heaven.”

Scariest Scene- Pinnochio Pleasure Island.

As terrifying as The Headless Horseman is nothing will ever top little children being turned into donkeys to be sent to salt mines. And it is even scarier to know it is never resolved.  Pinocchio escapes but that’s it.  Nobody saves the kids or turns them back or anything.  It’s nuts!

Best Villain- Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

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From Captain Hook, to the Devil, to Lady Tremaine all the early villains are good, but Maleficent is all of those villains put together in as she puts it ‘the mistress of evil’.  She’s over the top, funny, creepy, and gives the best fight of any villain in any Disney movie.  It actually feels like she might get away with everything when she enchains Prince Philip in her dungeon.  It isn’t until the 90s we get such a great Disney villain.

Best Song- When You Wish Upon a Star- Pinocchio

I could have also picked ‘A Dream is a Wish’ from Cinderella but it is very similar in message to When You Wish.  They are both great melodies and have words about hoping for goodness and happiness in life.

Worst Song- Say it with a Slap- Bongo from Fun and Fancy Free

Here’s a great message for kids- when you really love someone slap them as hard as you can… (Red Man song from Peter Pan is probably the worst but the melody is actually catchy, just the words super uncomfortable)

Best Original Score-  Bambi

Clearly Fantasia should be the winner but since it is using classical music, Bambi wins because it’s music actually becomes a character within the story.  It animates the forest with wind, rain, and other sound effects in the score.

 Saddest Moment- Dumbo- Baby Mine

Bambi’s mother dieing is very sad but we haven’t gotten to know her very well and it all happens quickly, not giving us much time to process it before we are moving on to love in the Spring.  Dumbo’s encaged Mother singing him a lullaby is a long scene, a beautiful song and a tender moment.  It’s sad but not in a bad way.  Dumbo is such a satisfying picture because it has moments of all different emotions- fear, anger, laughter, sadness etc.

Funniest Moment- Peter Pan- Hook and the Crocodile

I had forgotten how much slapstick is in Peter Pan and it is all done very well.  I laughed throughout the film.

Most Romantic Moment-  Lady and the Tramp- Spaghetti

I think spaghetti became romantic food because of this scene.  Great song, and about as romantic as dogs could be.  Such a lovely little movie.

Most Underrated- Melody Time

Melody Time is the strongest of the package films.  Make Mine Music is entertaining in a ‘so bad it’s good way’ but I genuinely liked Melody Time.  The Johnny Appleseed short is sweet with nice songs and Pecos Bill is fun, if a little bit too long.  It was tough for me to find but if you can hunt it down give it a watch.  It’s gentle and sweet and I liked it.

Most Overrated- Peter Pan

There is a lot to like in Peter Pan.  Don’t get me wrong.  I just wasn’t as enamored with it this go-around for some reason.  I don’t like the way Wendy is treated, especialy by the other female charcaters when she hasn’t done anything wrong.  The slapstick is funny but nothing too memorable.  The artistry and music aren’t great.  Love Tinker Bell and Hook but other characters are kind of bland.  It’s a lot of fun but not the masterpiece I remember it being.  Plus, we have the awkward Red Man song.

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Trippiest Movie- Alice in Wonderland

This movie is so trippy it doesn’t even worry about a plot.  It just introduces Alice and the viewer to character after character and I love it!

Conclusion

I enjoyed watching every single one of these movies.  And more importantly I learned a lot along the way.  Even a movie I didn’t love like Three Cabelleros was interesting because of it was requested by the US Government, and it was quite effective in winning the loyalty of the South American countries to our cause.  It makes the choices made in the movie interesting.  So, there is always things to like about any Disney.

Mostly I love the artistry.  I love movies but I think animation has a special ability to combine mediums and challenge the limitations of human actors in live action.  You can have a child turning into a donkey where in live action the scene would be very expensive.

I also feel inspired by Walt Disney to take some risks and try new things.  He was certainly willing to leverage years of hard work over risky propositions and I admire that.   Of the first 16 films what are your favorites and have my reviews made you curious to watch any of the movies?  I hope you do and let me know what you think!

Coming Up Next

Now on to 60’s and 70’s.  Both of these periods would be less productive for Disney.   In 60s Disney made and released 3 films:

1. 101 Dalmations

2. Sword in the Stone

3. Jungle Book

1970s

1. The Aristocats

2. Robin Hood

3. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

4. The Rescuers.

So that will be my upcoming reviews.  Thanks for reading!  I’m having a blast!