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December 21, 2008
Tinker Bell Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
None6/11/2008Walt DisneyBradley Raymond
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Linear PCM 5.1 6.9MbpsGMae Whitman (voice)

THE MOVIE
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Tinker Bell has been voiced by Mae Whitman.
When it comes to animation no one does it better then Walt Disney Studios. As well as their theatrical releases the company is known for the many direct-to-DVD releases, and Tinker Bell is another such production. Rather then hand drawn, or 2D animation this movie is a full CG production - and it really does look wonderful thanks to the capabilities of Blu-Ray. With a helping hand from Pixar and John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, and a production budget rumoured to be close to $US50 million there is a lot riding on this release.

Long before Peter Pan and the Lost Boys soared into Never Land, the world's most beloved fairy and her friends were creating their own special magic. For the very first time in film, Tinker Bell opens the doors to Pixie Hollow, a secret hideaway deep in the heart of Never Land, where the Disney Fairies make their home.

Each fairy is born with a special talent, whether it's making flowers grow, giving fireflies their light or tracing beautiful patterns into a winter morning's frost. Tinker Bell thinks her fairy talent as a "tinker" isn't as special or important, because tinkers don't go to the mainland like the other fairies.

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Lighting and detail in Tinker Bell is impressive.
But when Tink tries to change who she is, she creates nothing but disaster! With encouragement from her friends Fawn, Iridessa, Rosetta and Silvermist, Tink learns that the key to solving her problems is found in her unique abilities... and discovers that when you stay true to yourself, magical things can happen.

So the story is a little paper thin, and disappointingly there is little reference to the events in Peter Pan, but this remains a rather entertaining little movie which has quite impressive production values. The computer generated visuals in this movie all look quite wonderful with some brilliant colours and locations throughout the movie and some great animation on the characters. These characters are quite likable - especially Tinker Bell - and the storyline is entertaining enough. While this release isn't up there with some of the classic cinema Disney releases it's certainly more watchable then many other recent Direct-to-DVD releases.

Tinker Bell is very much a movie aimed at young girls, but it's not something that parents would find boring to watch either. Some nice animation, an entertaining story, and nothing objectionable makes this another solid Disney movie.

VIDEO
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Animation in Tinker Bell matches the visuals.

Walt Disney Studios have a great history of transfers to Blu-Ray, but I was astonished at the quality of this release. Encoded at 1.78:1 at 1080p to fill your TV screen this AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is reference quality from start to finish thanks to the completely digital transfer from computer to Blu-Ray disc. There isn't a single film artifact present, nor any compression artifacts which is probably a result of a bitrate that constantly hovers above 30Mbps according to the PS3 we were running it on. While the amount of detail in the backgrounds falls short of feature motion pictures such as Shrek or Wall-E that isn't a transfer issue at all, but rather artistic (and we suspect budgetary) issue instead.

AUDIO
Not to be outdone by the visuals the audio in this release is a cracking Linear PCM track encoded at 6.9Mbps - certainly much better then we ever expected from a direct-to-video release. Indeed the movie is crystal clear and this is evident from the opening song prior to and during the opening credits. This quality continues throughout the entire movie and much like the video this exceeded expectations, although it doesn't quite match the big Hollywood or Disney productions.

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Anjelica Huston as Queen Clarion in Tinker Bell.
The character Tinker Bell is voiced by Mae Whitman and she sounds delightful while other characters in the movie are voiced by actors such as Lucy Liu (Ally McBeal), America Ferrera (Ugly Bett), Raven-Symone (Dr. Dolittle), Jesse McCartney (Summerland), and Anjelica Huston (The Darjeeling Limited).

Other tracks on this disc include English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps, Dutch and French DTS 5.1 tracks encoded at 1.5Mbps, and Dutch and French Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps. Each track is quite superb, so whichever you are capable of playing should impress you. Subtitles are provided in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Dutch and French.

EXTRAS
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Some of the many fairies in Tinker Bell.
As you can understand the Special Features on this disc are aimed at the target audience, young girls, so there's nothing in-depth here about the production. Sadly the BD-Live features which are available on the American disc have been omitted for Australia (Disney expect BD-Live to be available on their Blu-Ray discs here from early 2009).

Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow (7:32/HD): A look at the different areas in Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and Queen Clarion narrating. Some nice animations and something which young girls should love this, although it is quite brief.

Ever Wonder (4:00/HD): Film footage which shows the faries at work in the real world.

Music Video "Fly to your Heart" by Selena Gomez (3:14/HD): Actually this isn't a bad song at all with scenes from the movie. Presented in HD with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio at 640kbps.

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Tinker Bell is a surprisingly entertaining movie.
Deleted Scenes (12:57/HD): Presented with an introduction by Director Bradley Raymond and Producer Jeannine Roussel there are six deleted scenes presented here, each of which is in HD with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio at 640kbps. Some of the scenes are quite complete with full CG renders, while others are only storyboarded.

Creating Pixie Hollow (10:11/HD): A look at creating the world of Pixie Hollow including finding inspiration for creating a world filled with creatures no more then 6 inches high. This contains the most 'production' detail of all the featurettes but is pretty basic overall. Still, it's interesting.

OVERALL
Sometimes you need a movie like this to get away from the real world, and you know what, despite being aimed (we guess) at young girls, this wasn't unwatchable. The computer generated graphics are certainly very nice, and the transfer to Blu-Ray is pristine. If you have youngsters interested in similar movies then I have to recommend this. Tinker Bell is actually quite impressive.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
7/10
THE VIDEO
10/10
THE AUDIO
8/10
THE EXTRAS
4/10
OVERALL
7.5/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Walt Disney. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.