So after deciding that Tinker Bell wasn't all that bad, Seanie and I are continuing to explore the other Disney Fairies movies. The second movie in the franchise is Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, and it's just as good as the first one.
In this film, Tinker Bell is chosen by the Queen of the Fairies to create a scepter for the Fall Revels. This little gewgaw is incredibly important because the scepter will house the moonstone, which is needed for a complicated ritual that creates the blue pixie dust that sustains Pixie Hollow throughout the year. When her friend Terence hears that Tinker Bell has chosen, he's thrilled – since he's a dust fairy, he knows everything about the moonstone and the ritual, and he practically begs Tinker Bell to let him help. She agrees, and at first the partnership runs smoothly. Terence brings Tinker Bell breakfast each morning and provides tips and pointers on the oh-so-important angles that the moonlight will have to hit the stone to generate the most pixie dust. But soon, Terence is irritating the heck out of Tinker Bell – cleaning her workstation while she's in the middle of a project and waking her with increasingly obnoxious variations of “Knocketty-knock knock!” As the pressure on her mounts, Tinker Bell struggles to hold in her temper – and finally she snaps after Terence brings her a round compass instead of a “sharp thing”. (Terence, it turns out, wasn't a complete dunce – he'd brought the compass because the needle of it was quite pointy.) They fight and Terence storms off. As Tinker Bell angrily resumes her work, she manages to accidentally shatter the moonstone, dooming the fairies to a slow, lingering, pixie dust-free death. Or not. Before she can confess the deed, Tinker Bell hears rumors of a magical mirror that can grant any wish. She decides that this is the only thing that can save the moonstone, so she builds a balloon and sets off for the mysterious item where the mirror was last seen.
There's a couple of things that I found interesting and rather un-Disney about this story. First of all, other than a joke cracked by one of Terence's fellow dust fairies, there's no hint of romance between him and Tinker Bell. They're just friends. Think about it – how often are a girl and a guy just friends in Disney movies? The prince and the princess always fall in love in the end! It was a nice development.
Tinker Bell's other friends are mostly reduced to cameos. I think Silver Mist is the only one whose actions has any effect on the storyline. (Side note: I know I like to bitch about how terrible Asian stereotypes are, but the fact that Silver Mist is so incredibly spacey and dumb makes me long for the old “Asians are smart” trope.) Vidia, the fast-flying fairy that so antagonized Tinker Bell in the first movie, doesn't even speak. So while it was nice to see her friendship with Terence developed, it was at the cost of showcasing any of the other fairies.
I liked that this version of Tinker Bell seemed slightly more aligned with the Tink we meet in Peter Pan, which is to say that she has anger management issues. Tinker Bell loses her temper on several occasions, and her face even turns a bright glowing red right before she blows her top. She blames other people when things go awry – it's Terence's fault the moonstone broke because he brought her the compass or it's Blaze's fault that the balloon flies away because she left him in charge. In both instances, of course, she's wrong – Tinker Bell kicked the compass, which released the latch holding it shut and slammed the moonstone to dust, and she didn't properly anchor the balloon so it naturally floated off. By the end of the film, she has not only learned to recognize her own culpability in creating problems but also that there's nothing wrong with asking for help when she needs it. It's not a bad lesson, really.
The other big moral of respect your friends and don't be afraid to apologize because preserving the relationship more important than your pride is predictable, but I still think it's a good lesson to teach the young audience watching these movies. There's also a recurring theme of addressing failure: even if one of your ideas doesn't work out you can always try again, and sometimes the alternative solution will work better than your original plan. A lot of things are crammed into this little film, and for the most part it manages to avoid being super-preachy. Not bad.
There's more of an effort to bring the world of Pixie Hollow in line with Peter Pan. For the first time, we have pirates entering the narrative – apparently, fairies are terrified of them, which makes me wonder how/when/where they met pirates before. Tinker Bell's autumn outfit includes a green cap with a red feather, very reminiscent of Peter Pan's signature hat. Actually, the whole ensemble rather reminds me of Pan's clothes.
I wonder if he'll be showing up soon...
Like Tinker Bell, the plastic limbs and faces of the fairies is the film's biggest weakness. Tinker Bell often looks terrible, with strangely droopy eyes and stiff hair. She and Terence look virtually the same; they could be siblings, and if you swapped the gender of one he or she would be the twin of the other. What doesn't work for fairies works great with bugs, though – ladybugs, fireflies, pill bugs and other creepy crawlies have never looked cuter.
By far the worst abominations created in this movie are two trolls that Tinker Bell meets on her quest. They're the guardians of a troll bridge, and therefore ugly as sin. Fine. But their purpose in the story is not to bring a breath of danger or a hint of scariness. No, the trolls are there to show Tinker Bell the Importance of Forgiveness and the Way to Apologize to your best friend. They're dreadful, but luckily, they're only on screen briefly.
All in all, it's a decent little movie. I know, I know...I'm surprised, too.