Disney’s TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST Review – Available on Home Video Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Full disclosure:  I hate spoilers in reviews, so there won’t be any in this  TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST review.  This is the seventh movie in the Disney Fairies Tinker Bell series, and, as the title suggests, a new animal is introduced, as well as the idea of legend, which was very well constructed and portrayed in the movie.  There are a lot of impressive things about this movie, but the expression of the concept of legend really stood out for me.  A new fairy is introduced, as well as new fairy talent: Nyx (voiced by Rosario Dawson) is a Scout fairy, who are charged with protecting Pixie Hollow from intruders, like hawks (who eat fairies, apparently) and other creatures who could harm the Hollow or its inhabitants.  Continue reading for the full TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST review, and ENTER TO WIN the Blu-ray in our Giveaway at the end of the review.

Tinker Bell and the Legend Of The Neverbeast

Be Guided by Your Heart, But Listen to Your Head

As the movie opens, we see a comet fly over Pixie Hollow, casting a green light that penetrates to the deepest darkest shadows and the narration is in the form of a narrative poem, chanting the story of the comet and its meaning and impact, then the scene cuts to Fawn flying through Pixie Hollow showing other Animal Talent fairies teaching animals their behaviors (later in the movie, there’s a particularly amusing scene with bunnies being taught to hop). Fawn meets up with Tinker Bell, who is delivering a wagon with a mysterious purpose. We learn then that Fawn has an additional talent for following her heart, which beats strongly for animals – all animals – even if that means unintentionally putting other animals and fairies at risk. Thankfully, the Scout Talent fairies are there to keep the Hollow safe, including from Fawn’s well-meaning missions.

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

Pictured (L-R): Gruff and Fawn. ©2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Hollow is disrupted by a howl in the distance. It’s a pain-filled howl and, as we’ve learned, Fawn can’t ignore an animal in distress, so she follows the sound to help the animal. In a nod to Aesop, the animal in question has a thorn in its paw, but that’s as close to the Aesop fable as the story gets. After Fawn removes the thorn, the animal ignores her.  Fawn sets about analyzing the new creature, naming it Gruff, and, of course, persists until it accepts her. In the meantime, Nyx, the leader of the Scout Talent Fairies, is trying to track down the source of the roar, questioning Animal Talent fairies, who all tell her to ask Fawn, who is the expert of roaring animals. Nyx and Fawn discover that they have different ideas about the new animal and start to work apart, rather than together, and this rift guides the rest of the film as we learn the true nature of Gruff and the fairies learn again to work together.

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

Pictured (L-R): Fawn, Queen Clarion and Nyx. ©2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Steve Loter (Director) and Michael Wigert (Producer) were on hand for a Q&A before and after the movie and Loter told us that the story came from his young daughter’s big heart and his own fear of big dogs. The primary theme is not judging books by their covers (big and scary-looking doesn’t always mean bad and/or mean), but, as in THE PIRATE FAIRY, teamwork is also emphasized, with the fairies banding together to help each other and Gruff. The introduction of the legend lets kids see that there can be more than one way to see things. Nyx and Fawn both experience the comet and Gruff, but they see different things, guided, in some ways, by their roles. Nyx is a protector, so she sees danger in a lot of things, and Fawn is a teacher, so she sees potential and tries to draw it out. Both are doing the best they know how to reach a common goal (save Pixie Hollow), but with opposing ideas of how that is best accomplished. Gruff, for his part, never veers from his goal and his transformation is awesome.

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

Pictured (L-R): Gruff, Fawn, Tinkerbell, Silvermist, Rosetta, Iridessa, Vidia. ©2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Two of my favorite scenes are with Fawn and Gruff. In one, they are sitting up at night and she’s showing him animals in the stars and in one, she shows him a monkey, then tells him that if you look at it upside down, it’s a swan – two different ways of looking at the same thing give different results. The final scene of the movie moved me to tears, which I wouldn’t have imagined possible in a Tinker Bell movie. Frankly, his heart-shaped nose endeared me to him early on, not to mention the beautiful green eyes, so I was rooting for him all the way.

As with most Disney films, the scenery is gorgeous, the animation is top-notch, and the characters are well-thought out. The songs are catchy (I loved the opening song, “Float,” performed by KT Tunstall), but there are only three, I think, so it’s not a musical or music-driven movie.

TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST is a family-friendly movie with something for all ages. There are scary scenes, but not so scary that young children can’t enjoy it. Some of the themes and concepts might be over the heads of younger viewers, but that won’t detract from their enjoyment of the movie.

In this review, I’m introducing a new young reviewer. C. is a 2 ½ years old girl and TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST was her first movie-theater movie ever.

Claire at Tinker Bell movie 

Me: Did you like the movie?

C: Yes, I did.

 

Me: What was your favorite part?
C: Pixie Dust on the rocks

 

Me: Who was your favorite character?
C: Tinker . . . Bell (she has a very deliberate pause between Tinker and Bell, which probably comes from “Secret of the Wings”)

 

Me: Was it scary? Was it too scary?
C: No. I say no, because Daddy was watching, too, and I had my fairy shirt on (she had a brand new Disney fairy shirt, just for this movie – it was purple and adorable and I’d wear it, too, if it came in my size)

 

 

 

At the end of the movie, Loter and Wigert took questions from a number of children in the audience. Here are some of those questions and answers (I’ve left out any that might include spoilers):

Disney's Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The NeverBeast NYICFF Special Screening

(L-R) Producer Michael Wigert and Director Steve Loter speak onstage during Disney’s “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast” NYICFF Special Screening at SVA Theatre on February 28, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

 

Q: Why did you make the clouds green?
A: Green makes me feel weird.

 

Q: How long did it take to make the movie?
A: Four ½ years.

 

Q: Where did the green clouds come from?
A: The legend.

LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST

Pictured (L-R): Fawn and Gruff ©2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Q: How did you get Gruff to like Fawn without having him talk?
A: We didn’t want to anthropomorphize the Neverbeast [followed by an explanation of what anthropomorphize means]. Gruff is made up of different animals [I think it would be fun to see what animals kids see, so I’ll let you puzzle out what animals they were.] He draws you in, because you recognize the different animals.

 

Q: Did your daughter ever get a pet?
A: When I left home, we had 2 cats, 1 dog, 2 fish and 3 chickens, but who knows how many there will be when I get home.

 

Q: When can I get the movie for my library? (paraphrased, but that was the meaning)
A: Tuesday!

John Lasseter

Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering John Lasseter with his star at the John Lasseter Star Ceremony in front of the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA. (Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Q: Did you draw anything?

A from Loter: I drew the NeverBeast and showed it to John Lasseter (with an explanation of who Lasseter is) and he loved it right away. The first draft became the NeverBeast.

 

Q: Is the movie going to become a book?
A: Yes – check the Disney Store for it.

 

Q: Why does everyone think the NeverBeast is bad?
A: Because they’re judging a book by its cover. He looks scary, so they think he is scary.

 

Q: Will there be a NeverBeast 2 and 3?
A: Maybe…

 

Q: How many Tinker Bell movies are being worked on now?
A: We can’t tell you that.

 

Q: Are we going to see Gruff in more Tinker Bell movies?
A: We’d love that!

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The film will be available for in-home release on March 3, 2015.  Click here for even more images, printable activity sheets and film clips for TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST.  For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About George Gensler

George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland. She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises. She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.