– Summary –
Director : Peggy Holmes & Bobs Gannaway
Year Of Release : 2012
Principal Voice Cast : Mae Whitman, Lucy Hale, Timothy Dalton, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone, Megan Hilty, Angelica Huston, Pamela Adlon, Rob Paulsen, Jeff Bennett, Grey DeLisle, Matt Lanter, Jane Horrocks, Jodi Benson.
Approx Running Time : 77 Minutes
Synopsis: Tinker Bell journeys to the forbidden world of the Winter Fairies, and uncovers a secret which will change her life, and the lives of all of Pixie Hollow, forever.
What we think : Dynamite animation overcomes a somewhat haphazard plot, resulting in a beautiful – if emotionally vapid – Disney Fairies entry, the fourth in the Tinker Bell franchise. The story is as inconsequential as ever, although unlike previous installments Tinker Bell never develops as a person here; it’s more of an ensemble piece than the others, and I think this dilutes things for the younger tots as far as morals and messages within the story go. This doesn’t mean Secret of the Wings isn’t worth your time, because for any young girl under the age of 10, this is a critic-proof must see. It’s a terrific little film, although you do get the sense that there’s not much more to be mined out of this franchise.
The Tinker Bell saga continues, as Tink (voice of Mae Whitman) learns about the Winter Woods, a distant and forbidden area of Pixie Hollow where warm fairies are not allowed to venture. Naturally, Tinker Bell’s curiosity gets the better of her, and she decides to seek out some information from the Keeper (apparently her wings glowed while she was temporarily within the Winter Woods boundary), who lives in the Winter Wood. While there, she meets Periwinkle, who turns out to be Tink’s sister (don’t worry, it’s not that big a spoiler), although the fact that they are never supposed to ever meet causes some friction within both the warmer worlds of Pixie Hollow and the Winter one. This angst must be overcome, however, when a deadly frost threatens to overwhelm Pixie Hollow and kill the Pixie Dust Tree, from which all power in Pixie Hollow is derived.
Disney’s take on Tinker Bell is indeed charming, although this edition lacks the heart and soul of previous installments, instead resting less on the talents of Mae Whitman and more on the entire ensemble – which reduces Tinker Bell’s emotional journey overall. The Secret of The Wings is easily the least “heartwarming” of the four entries into the franchise thus far, but it’s easily the most thrilling. The animation, a considerable step up on even the recent Great Fairy Rescue from 2010, is superb, and in itself worth the price of admission. But that’s not all a good film should be: it should be more than just the pretty pictures, but Secret isn’t.The addition of Timothy Dalton as the chief Winter Fairy is a huge bonus, as well as the Wintery newcomers in the form of Periwinkle and her cadre, and adds to the mythos of the Tinker Bell franchise, but the script seems a little ad-hoc for my liking. There’s a softer focus on Tink learning something; instead, the filmmakers decide to make something approximating a kiddie-friendly action film, with the eerily spooky frost becoming the de facto villain of the piece (instead of any other monster or spook). The charm of the earlier installments is missing a little, even though the same cast perform the same roles once more, which is perhaps indicative of the script and the direction than anything else. The Secret of The Wings certainly looks beautiful, and has moments of genuine charm, but in comparison to previous installments it’s not quite up to snuff, story-wise. The kids, though, will lap this up like chocolate, so anything I say will amount to zero in their eyes.