Full disclosure: I hate spoilers in reviews, so there won’t be any in this one. THE PIRATE FAIRY is the sixth movie in the Disney Fairies Tinker Bell series and introduces a new fairy, Zarina, to the core of the crew (Tinker Bell, Iridessa, Rosetta, Vidia, Silver Mist, and Fawn). I saw this in a room full of adults and the buzz started as soon as the lights came on. Every one of us loved it! It’s the best of both worlds: Pirates and Fairies. What’s not to love?! I’ll begin with THE PIRATE FAIRY review and then share details about the extras on the disc. The review will be of the Blu-ray disc only – the DVD may not include all of the features included on the Blu-ray.
THE PIRATE FAIRY Review: From a Trickle to a Roar
The film opens in a scene straight out of Peter Pan’s Flight. We soar over London and towards the two stars and then come down out of the skies over Never Land. The animation style changes with our point of view. Never Land from the sky looked like a pastel drawing, but becomes more true to life as we enter the fairy world. The fairies are hard at work, each showing off her talent as a new (to us) fairy walks (!) by, causing concern and eliciting advice on how to conserve her pixie dust.
The new fairy is Zarina and she’s a dust keeper. We learn right away that she’s not a conformist. First, she walks rather than flies (though she does have a very good reason for not having enough pixie dust to fly everywhere), second, her work apron is decorated and initialed (none of the other dust keeper fairies have decorated aprons), and third, she questions everything, even the number of blue pixie dust specks needed to multiply the depot’s supply.
When Zarina gets home that night, we learn that she’s a scientist, experimenting with pixie dust, trying to figure out how it works, even though she’s been warned not to tamper with it. Zarina brings Tinker Bell in to show her a successful experiment and that’s when things start to go wrong. After a catastrophic event destroys the pixie dust depot, Zarina is fired and leaves Pixie Hollow in tears. Fast forward to a year later and it’s the Four Seasons Festival. All of the fairies are gathered together in one place, making them easy targets for Zarina’s return to Pixie Hollow to steal the blue pixie dust. When Tinker Bell and the rest of the core crew follow Zarina, they run into pirates and then the real fun begins. Keep your eye out for the cutest little savior ever, even if he was unappreciated until he proved useful, despite his adorableness.
The themes of THE PIRATE FAIRY center on teamwork, acceptance, and friendship. When the fairies find themselves in an awkward situation, they have to work together, not just as a team, but guiding each other in their new circumstance, bringing their talents together in new and different ways. Zarina craves acceptance for who she is, and inquisitive and innovative inventor (she reminds me of Flik in A BUG’S LIFE). When the pirates offer her a haven and even adulation, she joins them, turning her back on her fairy roots. It’s also about redemption. Zarina makes mistakes and learns that forgiveness is possible, even if she thinks her mistake was too big to forgive. Friendship is always a big part of the fairy movies, but the most striking act of friendship to me was part of a side story. Clank works tirelessly to keep the fairies in Pixie Hollow safe, even though he has no way of knowing what will happen or how long it will take.
There are songs, but THE PIRATE FAIRY isn’t a musical. The opening song, “Who I Am” (sung by Natasha Bedingfield) gives a big hint about the movie’s theme of acceptance. “The Frigate that Flies,” sung by Tom Hiddleston (voice of James – the young Hook), is a jolly toe-tapping jig of a song that gets in your head and makes you want to be a pirate.
THE PIRATE FAIRY is fun for the whole family, but will probably be enjoyed more by the little ones. There are a lot of Peter Pan references in this fairy movie, which will appeal to the adults. It’s pirates and fairies – it can’t lose!
The menu background is a view of skull rock from the deck of a ship with little cameo scenes playing out over and over. Keep your eyes peeled for the newest, cutest mascot ever!
In the set-up menu, viewers are invited to choose between English, French and Spanish. Subtitle choices include English for the Hearing Impaired, English, French and Spanish. After choosing the language, you must return to the main menu to start the movie, which begins immediately, without the previews again, in the chosen language. Watching the movie in French or Spanish with English subtitles could be a good way to learn either of those languages. I was curious about the difference in subtitling between English for the Hearing Impaired and English, but didn’t notice any difference at all.
There’s also the Scene Selection option, which allows you to return to the spot you last saw or even just to favorite scenes to watch over and over again.
LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST – The 6th Disney Fairies movie, takes them on an epic action adventure that’s full of heart and edge-of-your-seat suspense. Fun and talented animal fairy Fawn believes you can’t judge a book by its cover—or an animal by its fangs—so she befriends a huge and mysterious creature known as the NeverBeast. While Tink and her friends aren’t so sure about this scary addition to Pixie Hollow, the elite Scout Fairies set out to capture the monster before he destroys their home. Fawn must trust her heart and take a leap of faith if she hopes to rally the girls to save the NeverBeast. Directed by Steve Loter, “Legend of the NeverBeast” roars to life in Spring 2015.
SLEEPING BEAUTY – The Diamond edition will be available on Blu-ray and digital HD. It was released on December 10th in a combo pack with a digital copy included. The French and Spanish previews were subtitled for this preview.
MALEFICENT – The long-awaited story of the evil fairy from SLEEPING BEAUTY will be in theaters May 30th. Click here for all the news, trailers, and images for Disney’s MALEFICENT.
Second Star to the Right: The Legacy of Never Land
Peggy Holmes, Jeffrey M Howard and Jennifer Magee-Cook (Director, Writer and Producer of THE PIRATE FAIRY, respectively) talk about how they incorporated elements of PETER PAN in THE PIRATE FAIRY. The best part is hearing how differently each of them relates to Never Land.
Narrated in a style similar to David Attenboroush’s nature films (British accent included) we’re given an overview of crocodiles via animation (including clips from THE PIRATE FAIRY), graphics, and actual footage of crocodiles. There is a hilarious reference to a viral video, too. Thankfully, there is no footage of a crocodile completing a hunt, so don’t worry about letting your little ones watch it.
Peggy Holmes and Jennifer Magee-Cook introduce these deleted scenes, explaining why they didn’t make the final cut. As we explained in our recap of our Q&A with the makers of FROZEN, deleted scenes don’t make it to animation, so the deleted scenes are all storyboard and sketches with minimal animation.
The Making of “The Frigate That Flies”
Tom Hiddleston (James Hook) and Carlos Ponce (Bonito) talk about voicing the film (a full-body endeavor, by the looks of it) and the song “The Frigate That Flies,” one of the best songs in the movie. This feature could only have been improved by playing the entire song.
There are two animated shorts: “Aaarrgh” (adorable clip of the fairies acting like pirates) and “Treasure Chest” (Tinker Bell and Vidia look for pirate treasure on the beach – well, Tink looks, anyway).
Clips of “Who I am” (Natasha Bedingfield) and “The Frigate That Flies” (the Never Land pirates) play with the words subtitled with bouncing blue pixie dust showing when to sing the words.
This section contains the standard disclaimers about opinions, etc.
This section of the disc includes commercials for various Disney products, including Disney Junior’s “Sofia the First,” Disney Movie Rewards, Disney Infinity, and Adventures by Disney, particularly its new Norway trip, inspired by FROZEN, which was inspired by Norway.