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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

March 2nd, 2015

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is the latest release in the direct-to-DVD franchise, Tinker Bell. I've reviewed the past installments of the franchise and for the most part they are very good films. Can the latest installment live up to the rest of the franchise? Or are they running out of steam?

The Movie

The film begins with a narration about a green comet that is seen over Pixie Hollow. The comet has been seen before and the ancients said it was a portent of the NeverBeast. The next morning we follow Fawn, as she travels around the village helping the various animals. She next meets up with Tinker Bell. She asks Tinker Bell to make her an extra-large wagon, but Tink is curious why Fawn would need this. It turns out Fawn has been taking care of a hawk and hawks eat faeries. She needs the wagon to hide the hawk in so they can sneak it out of the village and back where it belongs. No one should be surprised that this doesn't work out. Fortunately no one is hurt thanks to the Faerie scouts and their leader, Nyx. Fawn promises to be more responsible from now on.

This lasts until the very next scene. While trying to teach bunnies to hop, Fawn hears a howling coming from the forest. She immediately heads into the forest and finds a giant paw print and follows it to the source, the NeverBeast. She sees it sleeping in a burrow and quickly sees there is a thorn stuck in its paw. Fawn tries to remove it, but the beast wakes up and is not happy to see her. She watches him for a bit and sees him collecting rocks. This is when she comes up with a plan to distract the big guy long enough to get the thorn out. At first, Fawn decides to go home and not do something dangerous. She changes her mind almost immediately and instead decides to study the beast, whom she calls Gruff. She even helps him carry the rocks he has been collecting and helps him build a tower.

There is an accident after the pair get a little too playful and Fawn realizes she needs to go to the Queen to explain what Gruff is. Unfortunately, Nyx has been doing some research of her own and came across the legend of the NeverBeast, which states the NeverBeast awakens with the arrival of a comet, builds four towers, and then summons a lightning storm that destroys Pixie Hollow. Is Nyx right? Or does Fawn know Gruff better than the legends do?

As you can tell from the plot summary, Tinker Bell isn't the star of Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast. Instead, the film focuses on Fawn. I think this is a wise move, as it helps the franchise feel a little more fresh. Each fairy has their own specialty, so focusing on more than just Tinker Bell allows for more variety in the story details. This is important, because the basic plot is familiar. The movie is about finding your place / following your heart, which is not the first time this franchise has explored these themes. On the other hand, the film has more action and a more perilous feel to it. A legend about a monster that is going to destroy Pixie Hollow certainly feels more important than a treasure hunt, for instance. Also, the film has the usual technical strengths that the previous films had. The voice acting remains strong, even with the cast changes. (Ginnifer Goodwin is new to the franchise.) Also, the technical quality of the animation looks more like a theatrical release than it does a direct-to-DVD release.

The Extras

Extras begin with a five-minute making of featurette that looks at five aspects of animation. My Dad's Movie is a five-minute featurette on Steve Loter, the director / story creator. His young daughter, Calista, who was the inspiration for the basic plot to the film. (He has a phobia of large dogs and she loves large dogs.) Up next is a three-and-a-half minute long look at some real-life creatures that have unusual looks. There are some deleted scenes with optional introduction by the director. Their total running time is eleven minutes. Finally, there are two short music videos.

As for the technical presentation, I feel like I could cut and paste this section from the last time I reviewed a Tinker Bell film. It is a digitally animated film, one that looks better than its direct-to-DVD roots in both its audio and video. The level of details is very clear, the colors are vivid, and it goes without saying there are no compression issues or digital artifacts. The audio is a 7.1 surround sound track, which is better than a lot of big-budget theatrical releases have on the home market.

The Blu-ray costs $23, which is $5 or 28% more than the DVD costs. That's a good deal for this type of release.

The Verdict

It looks like Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is the final installment in the Tinker Bell franchise. This is too bad, as the films have been better than a lot of digitally animated theatrical releases are. The DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack are worth picking up, but they are not Pick of the Week material.

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Filed under: Video Review, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast, Tinker Bell, Rosario Dawson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Anjelica Huston, Mae Whitman, Steve Loter