My elementary-school-age children have happily anticipated and enjoyed each direct-to-DVD movie in the Tinker Bell series. Today, the fourth installment hits shelves, and we think it’s the best yet.
Disney’s “Secret of the Wings” is another computer-animated chapter in the back story of Tinker Bell, Disney’s most famous fairy. It originally was to be called “Tinker Bell and the Mysterious Winter Woods,” which follows the naming trend of the previous three Disney Fairy movies. But the title was changed, and the movie took longer to finalize this time around, leaving fairy fans to wait two years between movies. They had been accustomed to a new story every fall.
It seems, though, that the wait was worth it. “Secret of the Wings” is a beautiful movie — that is rich in story and imagery. It’s the first in the franchise to be presented in 3D, and this format really enhances all the details of Pixie Hollow and the Winter Woods. Viewers will love seeing the movie up close and with better definition — from the Snowy Owls flying by with baskets made by the fairies to the individual snowflakes that cascade down from above the trees.
Viewers, especially the children in our theater audience, were amazed when they saw the process of how the animals receive their winter coats as they cross into the Winter Woods. Tinker Bell (voiced by Mae Whitman) evoked a laugh when she hesitantly tried to get in on the transformation, as well. The mischievous tinker fairy is determined to visit another season, but, unfortunately, her wings cannot tolerate the cold.
Her attempts to reach the Winter Woods unexpectedly reunite Tinker Bell with the sister she never knew she had. Tinker Bell and Periwinkle, a frost fairy, were born of the same laugh but separated as children. Once they meet, they want to get to know each other and be together, but the seasons are conspiring against them. Tinker Bell needs to remain where it’s warm — in Spring, Summer or Autumn — and Periwinkle (voiced by Lucy Hale) must stay in Winter. If they fairies don’t stay where they belong, their wings could be broken.
Fairies who have debuted in the previous films appear here, too, including Silvermist, Fawn, Iridessa, Rosetta, Vidia, Terrence, Clank, Bobbie and Queen Clarion. We are introduced to winter fairies Lord Milori, Dewey, Gliss, Spike, Sled and Slush, who take us deep into the Winter Woods. It’s fun to see the new fairies reveal their talents and work together with their warm-weather friends to help Tinker Bell and Periwinkle. Clank and Bobbie uphold their reputations as inventors with their amazing snowmaker, and Queen Clarion and Lord Milori may surprise you with their secret.
The fairies’ journey explores themes that are not unusual for a Disney movie: standing up for what you believe in, protecting family, the value of perseverance and a little bit of a G-rated love story. Together, though, the themes make “Secret of the Wings” compelling for children and Disney fans alike. My children were engrossed in the movie from start to finish.
The soundtrack for “Secret of the Wings” reads like a Who’s Who of current and former Disney Channel stars, with tracks from Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Bella Thorne, Zendaya, Bridgit Mendler, Laura Marano and Tiffany Thorton. The theme song, “The Great Divide,” is by The McClain Sisters.
Guests who are visiting the Magic Kingdom in the next few months can meet Periwinkle and Tinker Bell (in her winter costume) at Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook. They will pose for photos in their new Winter Woods set and sign autographs. See photos and read about the new meet-and-greet in my blog post. I’m curious to see how the fourth Tinker Bell movie may influence the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival because the pixie-size houses and fairy topiaries are some of my favorite parts of the annual event.
“Secret of the Wings” is available today on DVD, Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray 3D. Look for a preview of the next Tinker Bell movie, due out in Spring 2014.
DISCLAIMER: I was a guest at a screening of Disney’s “Secret of the Wings.” This did not influence my review, and my opinions are my own.