Blu-Ray Review: Secret of the Wings

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This is the sort of review that feels kind of meaningless.  By this point in the direct-to-video Tinkerbell franchise, you already know whether or not you will be watching the newest film, Secret of the Wings, and nothing I can say will sway you one way or the other.  You’re either on board with the franchise, or you’re not.  Personally, I find the entire concept ludicrous.  I mean, Tinkerbell as a “Tinker Fairy?”  In a land called Pixie Hollow without Peter Pan?  Really?  It was with this mindset that I went into the film, and while I have no desire to seek out any additional entries in the franchise, it really wasn’t as painful as I imagined.

This is obviously a franchise meant for little kids.  The humor is forced, the voice-work exaggerated and the story simple.  However, the film is well directed and has some neat visual ideas behind it.  I haven’t seen any of the other films in the franchise, so I don’t know if the concept of Tinkerbell’s world having realms with different seasons is a new one.  It’s a neat visual gimmick though, and a fun setup for the story.

When Tinkerbell sneaks into the Winter Woods, a land she is forbidden from entering, her wings light up rather than breaking as she’d been led to believe.  It appears she has some connection to this world, and while it’s extremely predictable, I don’t want to give too much of the story away.  Needless to say, there is more to the ban on border crossing than the fairies have been led to believe, and her act of rebellion triggers an event that could cause the destruction of all fairy dust.

Considering my low expectations, I was surprised at the stakes presented in the film.  The loss of fairy dust isn’t treated lightly, and is seen as something that could destroy the fairies entire way of being.  Kids who are already invested in this world and these characters will find themselves engrossed in what happens.  Everything is treated with a very light touch that will keep the younger children interested rather than pushing them away.

I wasn’t completely blown away by the animation, finding it rather clunky throughout.  While I liked a lot of the concepts and ideas behind the animation, I didn’t care for the overly stylized way the characters moved and interacted.  The 3D however, is stunning.  I always find computer animated films to contain the most stunning 3D, and this is no exception.  The world pops out of the screen, and I was frequently amazed by how the film was framed in a way that let the 3D enhance the shots, rather than creating pointless depth.

The film comes in a package containing a Blu-Ray, a DVD, a digital copy and the 3D Blu-Ray.  The only real extra of note is a short film called the Pixie Hollow Games.  Other than that, there are a couple of music videos, a preview for the next Pixie Hollow film, and that’s it.  This is definitely not a film worth purchasing for the extras.  However, if you’re child is already a fan of the franchise or the characters, they will have a great time without any bonus features.

This isn’t the Tinkerbell I remember, and honestly, this version is much more boring.  However, the film still remains sort of fun.  Safe, sanitized and kind of dull, this is the sort of film you can feel comfortable letting the kids watch on their own.  They’ll probably forget it pretty quickly, but they’ll love it at the same time.

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