Starring (voices of) Mae Whitman, Lucy Hale, Timothy Dalton, Anjelica Huston, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symoné, Jesse McCartney, Megan Hilty, Matt Lanter, Debby Ryan, Pamela Adlon, Angela Bartys, Jeff Bennett, Grey DeLisle, Jane Horrocks, Rob Paulsen.
Written by Roberts Gannaway, Peggy Holmes, Ryan Rowe, Tom Rogers.
Directed by Roberts Gannaway and Peggy Holmes.
"Direct-to-video" is usually code for "not good enough for theaters." That hasn't been the case for the computer-animated Disney Fairies collection, now releasing the 4th installment based on the Tinkerbell back story. Even for Disney, most direct-to-video are full of sloppy out-sourced animation and flimsy stories based on sequels to some of their classic animated films. The Tinkerbell franchise has been solid in its story-telling and top-notch animation, and the same can be said for Secret of the Wings.
The story begins with Tinkerbell (Mae Whitman)'s discovery of the border between the Pixie Hollow Autumn woods and the Winter woods, where animals migrate and are magically transformed into their winter coats. Most of the woodland fairies live by the rule that they are forbidden from entering the Winter woods, but Tink tries it anyway, and discovers that her wings sparkle and tingle in the colder climate.
Tinkerbell discovers that there may be a magical reason for the wing phenomenon, but that the only way to know the specifics is to visit the Winter woods and converse with "The Keeper" (Jeff Bennett) named Dewey. After smuggling on board a snow owl's basket, Tinkerbell finds Dewey and a snow fairy named Periwinkle (Lucy Hale) that looks just like her (but with white short hair). Periwinkle and Tinkerbell find out that they are sisters, born of the same baby's laughter (too complicated to explain...see the first Tinkerbell movie), and that their wings are identical, carrying special sister/symbiotic powers.
The trouble is that border crossing rule, enacted by the Winter King Lord Milori (TImothy Dalton) and Woodland Queen Clarion (Angelica Huston), which Tink and Periwinkle disobey, causing an unseasonal frost to hit Pixie Hollow. Tinkerbell and Periwinkle must find a way to save the great Pixie Dust Tree, which may die in a such a freeze.
Secret of the Wings isn't up to snuff with the likes of major Disney theatrical releases, but not by much, and the target audience (little girls) probably won't be able to tell. The story is simple and sweet, but not too deep, something else those little girls won't mind. Secret of the Wings is certainly more palatable for adults than other girly direct-to-video franchises, like the atrocious Barbie series (which are just fine for the little ones, but unbearable for folks like me).
The marketing and development of the Fairies series is nothing short of genius for the Disney people, having drawn upon an iconic, but enigmatic character like Tinkerbell and making her into sure thing in DVD/Blu-ray sales. Perhaps the biggest winners are parents, who don't have to dole out $20-$30 bucks for a trip to the theater and buy the disc, while enjoying a little time with their sweet little daughters who are more than likely giddy at the prospect of a new fairy movie.
DVD/Blu-ray "Extras" (since it's only being released on video, can they be called "extras?" You decide) Include:
-Music video "The Great Divide" by the McClain Sisters
-Pixie Hollow Games, a 2011 short film made for The Disney Channel
-Music video "Dig Down Deeper" (from The Pixie Hollow Games) sung by Zedaya