More ‘oomph’ needed in this adventure
Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy (G)
The Luciferean idea of the ‘fallen angel’ wreaking havoc on former allies after being expelled from a magic kingdom gets an animated airing in this latest Disney offering from Peggy Holmes, featuring the voices of Mae Whitman, Christina Hendricks and Tom Hiddleston.
Zarina, voiced by Hendricks, is a dust-keeper whose ambitious experimentations with blue pixie dust goes one step too far and leads to her removal from the idyllic land of Pixie Hollow and from a set of fairy friends (including Tinker Bell) whose powers she mixes up to get her revenge on them.
Afterwards she aligns herself with a gang of pirates from a place called Skull Rock who are intent on flying a ship to the stars so they can take over the celestial realm just as they have the earthly – and nautical – one.
But Zarina isn't a female Lucifer, is she? Or even a Mean Girl? One suspects that when the pirates turn against her – as this kind of fairytale dictates they must – she'll realise who her true friends are and join forces with them to frustrate the "scurvy scallywags" she's got herself embroiled with.
The film could have done with more songs. It's only got three and they're pretty average except for a brilliant ‘heigh-ho’ pirate one. It's also a bit too ‘talky’ in its early stages. We needed more drama, more oomph. Apart from the (mainly British) crew of ‘scurvy scallywags’ – one of whom is the young Captain Hook – there's not enough high-octane energy invested in it.
There's also too much precocious prattling between ‘Tink’ and her colleagues for the pre-teen audience the film seems to be marketed towards. Notwithstanding the sophistication of modern technology, a part of me hankers for the old days when the figures in animated features didn't all look like porcelain Barbie dolls, or speak in that trendy "Like, oh, my God" manner you see in so many soaps nowadays.
Having said that, it's a professional production with the expectable amount of visual dexterity, especially in the closing quarter. It may not be up there with Brave or Frozen but it will pass 80 minutes pleasantly for all the family.
It's also got an endearing baby crocodile in it that thinks one of the fairies is its mother after some umbilical bonding. The appearance of the crocodile, brief and all as it is, seems to shift the mood from ersatz adult to good old-fashioned buffoonery.
Which makes one think we could have done with more animal characters in the film and less human ones. If the humans don't have enough eccentricity (and they don't here) it's to animals we look for an original spin to an old franchise.
Otherwise we're in danger of forgetting the raison d'etre of ventures like this and turning them into thinly-disguised digitally-mastered episodes of Friends in 3D.