My daughter is obsessed with Tinker Bell. Not a day goes by when she doesn’t ask to watch “Bell.” Fortunately, she’s a character I can get behind.
We’re introduced to Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman) as we follow a dandelion seed that’s been hit by a baby’s first laugh. It floats on a breeze, finding the second star and the path to Neverland. After arriving at the Pixie Dust tree in Pixie Hollow, a dust keeper (Jesse McCarthy) pours pixie dust over the seed and it turns into a fairy.
Queen Clarion (Angelica Houston) arrives to welcome Tinker Bell and watch as she determines her talent by picking up items floating around her. As she touches each item it stops floating. She passes by a hammer, which rises higher and floats towards her. When she grabs it, the hammer glows brightly, indicating that she’s found her talent.
I adore this concept. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a room and have the right tool for your talent present itself to you?
Tinker Bell spends the rest of the film struggling with what it means to be a tinker. Since “tinkers don’t go to the mainland,” she tries to find a way to switch her talent so she can go. She enlists the help of her friends; Silvermist (Lucy Liu) tries to teach her how to be a water fairy, Iridessa (Raven-Symoné) tries to help her be a light fairy, Fawn (America Ferrera) shows her how to be an animal fairy, and Rosetta (Kristen Chenoweth) plans to help her become a garden fairy. Eventually Tinker Bell realizes the full capacity of her talent and uses her abilities to help Pixie Hollow as only she can.
Aside from its messages of being yourself and thinking outside the box, I love that the movie also stresses that we shouldn’t try to be what we’re not.
The movie passes the Bechdel-Wallace Test with flying colors. The female fairies talk to each other about Tinker Bell, talents, and their jobs on the mainland. The male fairies (sparrow men) are present, though more minor characters in this installment of the Pixie Hollow movies. There are major and minor characters of color, though the ration looks to be about 1:5 (while Fawn and Silvermist are played by women of color, it’s not clear whether or not they are characters of color).
The fairies speak clearly and intelligently, a favorite moment in our house is sparrow man Bobble saying, “Allow us to elucidate” before describing what tinkers do. I actually pulled up the dictionary to check the meaning, and sure enough it means “explain.”
While there’s not a lot of obvious science (in fact, some would argue that fairies are contrary to real world science), we do see Tinker Bell using mechanics to build new contraptions which seem plausible.
One of my favorite bits is the moment that a fairy faces the consequences for her own actions. Tinker Bell is fairly good throughout the movie at taking responsibility when she’s at fault, but when another fairy is discovered to have had a hand in causing problems, she is held accountable.
Our whole family adores the world of Pixie Hollow. The fairies and sparrow men are a delightful community, and we enjoy spending the day with them.
Why does Queen Clarion have a different style of wings?
Why do the Ministers of the Seasons seem not to have feet?
Is Tinker Bell the only character whose name includes her talent?
How do the fairies know when there’s a new arrival?
How quickly does time pass? Tinker Bell arrives at night, but it’s almost immediately midday as she gets a tour of Pixie Hollow.
Why the heck don’t the fairies sing? We know Cheno and Raven-Symoné can bring it, so it seems a shame that it’s not a musical.