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Tinker Bell - animated DVD / family and children's DVD / television series review
TINKER BELL Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Mae Whitman, Kristin Chenoweth, Raven-Symone, Lucy Liu, America Ferrera
Director: Bradley Raymond Distributor: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 28 October 2008 Feature runtime: 70 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround; Spanish & French - Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), "Pixie Hollow," Tinker Trainer (DVD-ROM activity), "Magical Guide To Pixie Hollow," "Ever Wonder," "The Mainland," Creating Pixie Hollow, Music Video (Selena Gomez), Deleted Scenes

How is it that the drops of dew get evenly distributed on flowers and spiderwebs in the spring? Who coats the trees with frost and your windows with such beautiful, icy patterns? Where do rainbows come from? Turns out it's all the work of fairies.

Where do fairies come from? They are created from the seed parachutes of dandelions and baby laughter. The parachute flies to Neverland and there, thanks to some fairydust, turns into a true fairy. At this point, after being alive for only a few moments, they must figure out what their talent is - what they are to spend their lives doing (no pressure).

New fairy Bell (Mae Whitman) could be anything: there are water fairies, light fairies, animal fairies, snowflake and frost fairies, autumn fairies, and so on. Bell discovers that she is to become a Tinker, thus her name: Tinker Bell. Tinkers are sort of stagehand fairies - they build the tools necessary for the other fairies to do their work. Tinkers Bobble and Clank (Rob Paulsen and Jeff Bennett) come forward to show her the ropes.

Tink isn't quite content with her position as a tinker fairy. It seems so... indelicate, and she discovers that the tinker fairies don't get to go to the mainland. Tink tries out other talents in hopes of escaping her fate as a fairy roadie. She visits with Iridessa (Raven-Symoné) to try to harness the power of light. She goes on to Silvermist (Lucy Liu) to learn to deftly manipulate water. Faun (America Ferrera) tries to teach her how to work with frightened animals. She's good at none of these things.

Tinker Bell must try to understand where she fits in in Neverland. There are no unimportant fairies, and she needs to figure out what she's best at.

In a side-by-side comparison, the Blu-ray version is much sharper. I played both versions through a Blu-ray player, so I was able to take advantage of the player's up-convert capabilities for the standard DVD. Up-conversion really is a wonderful technology, but it's just not possible to extrapolate all the information missing from the smaller native resolution. Tinker Bell's creators have gone to great lengths to craft a magical land, woven from nature and intricate beauty. Standard DVD just can't do it justice.

The audio comparison reveals a crisper sound in the Blu-ray. The standard DVD must use compression, resulting in a loss of sound. It's not very noticeable to my primitive ears, but if I were able to upgrade my home theater to the recommended 5.1 surround sound, I'm sure it would become more evident.

The Blu-ray edition offers online features which Disney calls BDLive:
  • Movie Chat - Chat with friends also watching the movie. The chat session shows up on screen. Excellent for spending an evening with friends you live nowhere near.
  • Movie Mail - Allows you to upload favorite portions of the film and a webcam movie to the BD network to share with friends.
  • Movie Challenge - Allows you to compete in trivia challenges with friends or others online for Disney Reward points.
This stuff really takes movie viewing to the next level. Because Blu-ray players are upgradeable, there may be more waiting in the wings for what BDLive has to show us. Kudos to Disney for taking these features and running with them. This is a direct-to-video release, and the studio is really standing behind it. Well done.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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Tinker Bell - Blu-ray edition Tinker Bell - standard DVD edition