Sunday, 21 December 2014

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2014)

Two Tinker Bell films in one year? I live a truly blessed life(!).

To be perfectly honest, I've reached a point where these films don't bother me much any more. I've got used to them and am fully aware there is much worse out there (of the four films I watched the day I watched this - 'Annie', 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb', and 'Dumb and Dumber To' - 'Tinker Bell' was easily the most enjoyable of the lot. Which says more about those films). Besides, these films are aimed at small kids and it does seem to satisfy them. My bigger concern with these films is the awkwardness that comes with buying the ticket and then being a lone grown-up man in a theatre of kids. Which didn't feel so prominent this time as I was actually more focused as to why I was allocated the particular seat I was in. While I say I'm not fussed about the seating, I do find it odd when I state that being in the middle-middle is preferable but find, in a cinema with space, that I'm place towards the back and to the left (as you're facing the screen).

Back and to the left...

Back and to the left...

Anyway...

This latest fairy adventure decides to tell a story that isn't about the natural resource reliant economy of Pixie Hollow (it's kind of an OPEC really - there is little industry beyond the exportation of, in this case study, Pixie Dust). Instead, we get an in-depth look at the fairy policies towards animal importation and how these strict rules will literally lead to an apocalypse.

Surprisingly, this is a largely Tinker Bell-free film. She only pops up for what is really a cameo so that the film can say it is a Tinker Bell film. The real protagonist in this is a fairy called Fawn (Once Upon a Time's Ginnifer Goodwin), who can't resist helping an animal in need. She apparently has a big heart. I have a heart too, but haven't measured it. Anyway, she starts the film trying to sneak a hawk/eagle (can't remember which) out of Pixieville (I'm just going to assume that is what it is called) which ends in disaster as a bunch of adult hawks/eagles attack the place. No-one is hurt, but we are told hawks/eagles eat fairies which conjured an interesting image:
Okay, so that isn't quite what came to mind. I imagined it being more like Hopper's demise in 'A Bug's Life'. Which is a bit of a darker start to the film than I was expecting. I had no problem with that. Obviously, though, there is no death here as head scout fairy Nyx (Rosario Dawson), the closest character to an antagonist the film has, saves the day in an kid-friendly way (no hawks/eagles die). As a result of this event, Fawn is told to behave like a model citizen so they disappear her so that they can take her to a secret facility to brainwash her meaning she has to think about the risks she invites by harbouring potentially dangerous animals.

But that doesn't last long as, after a green comet appears one night, she stumbles across a strange and dangerous-looking (for a Tinker Bell film) creature which happens to be the legendary NeverBeast of the title. It sets about building towers in each of the seasonal sections of Pixie Hollow (because, if you remember from previous films, Pixie Hollow is like a post-war Berlin, split into different areas with strict travel rules - unfortunately, there has yet to be Tinker Bell's take on 'The Third Man'). Fawn realises that the creature has a thorn in its foot and removes it and soon makes friends with the beastie. They play games and build towers and the NeverBeast (who gets named Gruff) shows its playful, child-pleasing side.

Eventually, Fawn comes across the stories about the beast (as does Nyx) and is under the impression that Gruff is there to destroy Pixie Hollow with righteous anger. But, as this is a Tinker Bell film, magical friendship will save the day (or am I getting it mixed up with 'My Little Pony'?). Regardless, all is not as it seems and listening to your heart is always the right thing to do. That's kind of the same message those gambling ads would have you believe (though they tend to use 'gut' instead of 'heart').

Throughout all this, the sanitised character of Tinker Bell pops up to act as a good friend (yet we never saw Fawn in any of the other films, so she can't be that close to Tinker Bell unless something has happened in the 11 months since the release of the last film) which really means she is there for no reason than to force her in to justify the title (which I mentioned earlier).

By now, I'm quite used to these films. Who knows, maybe a few more of them and I might actually like it. Regardless, the film did little to wind me up. Sure, it has things that really don't appeal to me (like the whole concept, the Barbie-ish fairies, the attempts at cuteness with the animals, and so on) but I sat through it easily enough (especially compared to the films that followed it that day). And it is aimed at kids and at least comes off as inoffensive entertainment aimed at them. I just did what I did before and kept myself occupied by picking holes in the logic (like why do Fawn and Nyx not need any protection in the winter realm when that was a big issue in 'TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings'?) and generally treating the concepts within the film as if they were meant to be taken logically: Hence, for example, why I treat Pixie Hollow like it was a proper, functioning economy. Despite them not having a currency. That said, Pixie Hollow seems to work as a quasi-monarchical-socialist society. They don't appear to have a working market economy, but I wouldn't be surprised if one was around the corner. Followed by a civil war or just fighting between seasonal states.

I've picked apart the Tinker Bell films in my reviews for the previous films. By this point I don't think there is any reason to repeat all that. You can just go and read my reviews for them. Ultimately, this latest offering didn't cause me any fuss. It's likely to please small kids and I've just learnt to accept it exists (this tolerance I've developed for it is concerning. But is preferable to the film providing the same experience as the 'Nativity' films). I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless you have a toddler who is really into fairies.




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