Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
The fairy franchise's latest is charming if somewhat lacking in laughs
Directed by Steve Loter, this is the sixth instalment in Disney's series of animated Tinker Bell movies. Like its predecessors, it's an entertaining adventure that should play well with its young target audience without annoying dragged-along adults.
Tinker Bell's kind-hearted friend Fawn (Ginnifer Goodwin, replacing series regular Angela Bartys) finds a mysterious creature in the woods, who she befriends and names Gruff before realising that the huge, furry, glowing-eyed beast won't be welcome in Pixie Hollow. When the leader of the elite scout fairies (Rosario Dawson as Nyx) discovers that the creature is called the NeverBeast, she decides to capture it to stop it fulfilling an apparent prophecy and destroying their home. However, Fawn is convinced that Gruff means no harm, so she persuades Tink (Mae Whitman) and her friends to help her rescue the NeverBeast before time runs out.
As with the previous entries in the franchise, the 3D is largely unnecessary, yet the animation is agile and colourful throughout. Similarly, the character designs are appealing, particularly the NeverBeast, whose luminous emerald eyes give it an intriguing strangeness – you certainly couldn't accuse the filmmakers of trying to offload cute NeverBeast toys. In addition, Goodwin delivers a sparky, likable central performance (Tink takes something of a back-seat this time round), with the brave and inquisitive Fawn making for an excellent role model.
The only real problem is that the film is never quite as funny as it could have been, although there's a lot more in the way of visual humour this time round, notably in Fawn's comically-timed facial expressions. But ultimately this franchise continues to deliver; Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is a charming addition thanks to lively animation, strong voice-work and an engaging script.
General release from Fri 12 Dec.