The Pirate Fairy
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Cast: Mae Whitman, Christina Hendricks, Tom Hiddleston, Lucy Liu, Megan Hilty, Pamela Adlon, Angela Bartys
Director: Peggy Holmes
Studio: Disney Toon Studios, Prana Studios
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Genre(s): Animated, Childrens, Based On
Full disclosure here: I’ve never seen a Pixie Hollow movie before.
I think I vaguely remember seeing part of one at some point when I was visiting my much younger cousin but all I remember was that there were fairies and I thought it was dumb. Oh, but readers, I clearly did not give those movies enough of a chance because if they are anything like The Pirate Fairy they are probably all kinds of adorable and amazing.
I knew I wanted to see The Pirate Fairy ever since they announced that Tom Hiddleston was going to be playing a young Captain Hook at D23 last year. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. I think I expected to be rolling my eyes the entire time but nothing could be further from the truth. Once I started getting into it I worried that maybe I wouldn’t quite understand everything that was going on because it seems like the Pixie Hollow movies are pretty well connected to one another. But even though I had no idea that Tinker Bell has a sister (or why her wings flared up when she was near) and I don’t have any basis for know who any of these other obviously reoccurring characters were that didn’t distract from the movie very much.Like I said, it just made me really, really want to see the rest of them. Also, if their covers are amazingly shiny as this one (no, seriously there’s some serious sparkling and shining going on) I am so buying all of them.
The Pirate Fairy, though, seems like a great movie through which to be introduced to the series. Tinker Bell – tinker apparently being a job title and not a part of her her name – returns with her friends from the original movies but the film centers in large part around an all her new fairy, Zarina. In a world where people seem defined by their ‘talents’ (which range from light bending to tinkering to water manipulation and more) all she really seems to be is a regular old dust fairly. But there’s something undeniably different and special about her. She’s a rebellious sort of dust keeper who realizes there is so much more potential to fairy dust than anyone really knows.While her bosses are afraid of the volatility of the powerfully potent blue fairy dust (regular dust being golden) she see’s nothing but potential in the dust. Other colors besides just those two have been lost to them entirely until Zarina starts messing around. She brings Tinker Bell into her confidence after seeing her as a kindred soul (Bell’s tinkering apparently being a point of contention in an earlier film) but it unfortunately goes all wrong. Rather than stay behind in a community that doesn’t value her creativity and intelligence she leaves Pixie Hollow seemingly forever.
The fairies seem to stick primarily to Pixie Hollow and while it’s rather large – and comprises of four separate lands forever engulfed in a particular season – there’s a wide world out there in Never Land. Zarina goes out to explore and comes across a band of pirates who make her their captain and ask her to help them make their ship fly. Finally feeling that someone appreciates her she decides to do just that and steals all of the blue fairy dust from Pixie Hollow. This being a devastating turn of events because without the blue dust the pixie dust tree can’t create any more of the gold dust. With the rest of Pixie Hollow incapacitated, it falls to Tinker Bell and her friends to track down Zarina and bring both the dust and her back home.That’s easier said than done, though, after Zarina’s dust switches their powers.
Plenty of complications arise and the pirates themselves are a force to be reckoned with. Tom Hiddleston plays a great, young Captain Hook with tons of allusions to his future. Peter Pan fans will particularly appreciate all the little nods to the original Disney film including the crocodile, the clock, Skull island, and more. There is even a blatantly obvious post-credit tie-in for those people who still some how hadn’t put two and two together in realizing that “James” is “Captain Hook.”
But it’s not just the pirates they have to work though. A few other little complications set Tinker Bell and her friends back a bit and it’s fun to see them work their way through them.
The music is fun though limited. There’s a couple renditions of the same inspiring song played over some scenes of the fairies but the big number is ‘A Frigate That Flies’ which features the pirates singing about their dastardly plans. It’s ridiculously catchy and its’ been stuck in my head for days.
What I think I love most about the movie, though, is that it teaches kids to appreciate people who think different. It’s not fair to discourage those whose talents just because you don’t approve of them. Sometimes you’ve got to think outside the box. Zarina learned, too, that sometimes it’s better to stay and work through things than run away from your problems. Running away often times just leads to more of them. It’s a cute story that clocks in at just over an hour so it’s not too preachy and it’s something kids can definitely take something away from.I really, really enjoyed it which kind of surprised me. It seems like such a simple story but there’s so much depth to it all the same.
The special features – while nice – weren’t quite as great as the movie. They have their moments certainly but I don’t think the Tinker Bell movies are ones that you really buy for the special features anyway.
Second Star to the Right: The Legacy of Never Land
Filmmakers associated wit the Pixie Hollow franchise and the Pirate Fairy movie talk about their inspiration and the long lasting effect of Peter Pan. They talk about how the inspiration for The Pirate Fairy was this abstract idea where they wanted to do a ‘road trip’ story but weren’t sure where to go with it. They just knew they wanted it to involve a fairy gone rogue by they didn’t know for sure why a ‘rogue fairy’ would be rebelling in the first place. When they went back to he source material they realized they hadn’t done anything with pirates yet and the story was born. It was really nice to see how excited they all were to ‘widen the lens’ again on Never Land and revisit some familiar characters and locations.
Always my favorite part of the special features, The Pirate Fairy does not disappointed. Originally the story focued a lot more on how left out Zarina was in the fairy community. I kind of wish they had left them in because it would have helped make Zarina a bit more sympathetic of a character. There are a couple scenes where she’s trying to get up the courage to go sit next to Tinker Bell and she’s at a party with everyone else performing great feats with their talents while she feels like her gift isn’t nearly as good. But there’s some fun moments, too, with her experimenting with the pixie dust and one longer scene featuring the pirates and the fairies that got shortened down and only partially made it into the film.
Okay, so, these were pretty cute, too. The blu-ray includes two short features about a minute and a half or two minutes long each. One features the fairies hanging out on “Peg Leg Beach” making ARGHHHHH sounds at one another. The other features Tinker Bell and one of her friends (I have no idea what any of them are named because the movie only every really used Tinker Bell, Vidia, and Zarina’s names) out on a beach investigating some pirate treasure that has washed up on short to hilarious results.
The Making of “A Frigate that Flies”
Tom Hiddleston fans who bought this movie solely because he’s in it will appreciate this special feature which basically just features Tom Hiddleston talking. Talking, singing, gesturing dramatically in the recording booth. It’s kind of adorable. He also talks a lot about what it’s like to do voice acting and how different it is from regular acting. He doesn’t really say anything that other actors haven’t said about it before but it’s Tom Hiddleston saying it so that makes it worth it. It’s also nice to see how much he appreciates the character of Captain Hook. Hopefully if they ever bring back James and his pirates they’ll bring Tom back, too!
There were a couple other added features, too. One was a series of sing along versions of the songs which I figure is probably nice if you have kids. The other is a “Croc-u-mentary” about crocodiles featuring Crocky, the baby crocodile from the film, and a ton of memes and puns such as “Crocky Bit My Finger.” It’s cute but the guy talks really fast and it’s only about five minutes long.All that said, The Pirate Fairy has basically encouraged me to go track down the rest of the Pixie Hollow movies and there’s a very good chance that I’m going to be using my Disney Movie Club rewards to get them. That should tide me over until the Never Beast film comes out next spring! (How is it a whole year away!?)
A review copy of The Pirate Fairy on blu-ray was provided for the purpose of this review. Nerdophiles was not compensated for the review and the opinions here are ours and ours alone.