Tinker Bell And The Great Fairy Rescue looks superb on Blu-ray. As you would hope for, the 1.78:1 image literally pops from the screen with glowing vitality. This is one of those unmistakably top notch 100 per cent fool-proof digital transfers that is fundamentally gobsmacking. Designed to wow and tailored-made to visually smother, Tink is bright, impeccably rendered, tightly edged, fluid of movement and sublime of dazzling fidelity. It would be hard to imagine the engineers mucking up such a glorious source in the first place, but the image is totally bereft of enhancement, unsightly aliasing, digital scrubbing, smearing or artefacts. The one element that I thought may have proved something of a stumbling block, what with so many gorgeous colours all being blended together, was the animation bugbear of banding. But even this is blissfully kept in check with the only example of it that I could see being generated very faintly against some of the rosy cheeks of the characters, notably Lizzie's, but only fleetingly. Thick swathes of colour remain beautifully saturated but betray no evidence of fuzzing or unwanted layering.
Texture and detail are tremendous. We know how the picture was created and especially how, with this form of animation most of all, everything in that image has been put there specifically and not by accident. From the petals of flowers, and the very insides of flower-heads to the feathers on birds and the wafting blades of grass, this is an image that has a tremendous grasp on the finite. More proof? Then look no further than the exquisite showerings of pixie-dust, little glowing clouds of infinitesimal golden speckles that are all cleanly etched. Even the strands of string that look like rope to the fairies have oodles of texture. Long shots have integrity, with sweeping but natural-looking depth. The image feels big and luxuriant.
There is more vitality to the eyes and a smoother animation for the characters than we saw in the previous instalments, and even if this is down to the technical improvements made in the studio, the disc clearly shows this upgrade with distinction. Contrast may seem a little high, with the image on the bright and very warm side of the equator, but this is purely intentional. Raymond wants his film to look lustrous – which it definitely does – and to glow. Although there are no real skin-tones to be seen, the animated variants we see here are warm and ruddy. I would also say that, when studying the image from a technical standpoint, the characters can actually tend to appear a touch bland when compared to the upper echelon of animated material. There is way more detail and finite substance to The Incredibles and to Tangled, say, but this still looks positively radiant and mesmerising.
Tink gets herself a very impressive 9 out of 10.
We get a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track here, and this is what the film definitely needs, because this Tinker Bell is a lot more bravura than the cover-art might imply.
The score and the songs are smoothly enveloping and possess undeniable warmth. There is a pleasing wraparound blanket of sound and effects that makes liberal use of all the speakers. The spread across the front is wide and offers an ebullient and active sense of depth that tumbles over itself with detail. It is great when the pixie-dust gets sprinkled as the magical tinkling effect really cascades through the mix. And the little harp and chime that accompanies the lighter, more sprightly flybys shines with subtle but distinct ease.
As with many family films, the audio range seems almost magically contained within one of those sonic bubbles that steadfastly refuses to upset the neighbours, despite the apparent strength it has. We have some heft to the bass, and the sub is certainly engaged during the action sequences, but the deep throaty weight that you would get in a more conventional movie is offset and diffused by the overall sound-scheme. Whereas Disney's recent Tangled (see separate BD review) bucks this “no disturbance” trend with powerful bass and incredibly vivid steerage, Tinker Bell remains within the comfort zone. But this does not exclude some splendid directionality for the many flybys and the mighty churning of engines and rickety wheels as they thunder towards our hapless fairies. And speaking of thunder, we also get that audio mix testing stalwart of a rainstorm and ominous rumbling overhead. The disc copes very well with this, too, providing some pleasing room penetration and positioning of the downpour and shoulder-hunching lurches overhead from the undulating ripples of thunder and the crackle of lightning. The mayhem with the mad moggy is also full of well-steered, impact-punctuated vigour that adds some nice aural dexterity - listen out for the little chinking of the floating plates.
Dialogue is always very clear and even if it is infused with that sort of gentle softness that Disney seems to do so often with these less revered productions, it comes across well. This is actually a very fine audio mix that delivers plenty of entertainment and fun. Those expecting something meek and mild may be in for a little welcome surprise.
Tink earns her wings with a very respectable 8 out of 10.
Don't get excited about anything here, folks. Even my Tink-obsessed daughter showed no interest in the items on offer with this 2-Disc Combo set.
We get the DVD over on disc 2, and this appears to have all the same extras as the Blu-ray, which give us a chance to see kids building their Fairy Houses at the Epcot Flower Festival, to supposedly give your own kids some inspiration. There is an animated Q & A session that takes us through the Fairy Field Guide, though Tink's enhanced voice will surely get on your nerves after a bit.
A collection of Deleted Scenes is about the best of the bonuses, but even here, there is little to really savour. The section lasts for almost fifteen minutes and each segment is introduced by the director and the producer. All footage is unfinished.
The Disney Channel's Bridgit Mendler gets to croon the genuinely likeable song “How To Believe” in her own music video, and there is a little Sneak Preview of Tangled.
Although perfect material for little girls, the Tinker Bell films are also surprisingly very entertaining for little boys and grownups, too! The character may have been, ahem tinkered with, but this still presents a wonderfully colourful and vibrant depiction of a magical hidden world of adventure, innocence and, unashamedly, those pesky moral life-lessons. The sermonising doesn't rankle, however, which is a blessed relief. The sense of fun is charming and easygoing and it is simply so rewarding to sit and watch as little eyes and minds are filled with wonder. It is also worth mentioning that you don't necessarily need to see the earlier films in the series to enjoy this outing.
Disney's region-free UK BD is a typical showcase for AV beauty. The transfer is pretty much immaculate and offers a breathtaking display of fantastic colour and entrancing depth. And the lossless audio mix is just as exciting, delivering plenty of full-speaker activity and lots of dynamic action. Extras-wise, this is a damp squib, but then Tinker Bell still seems to be loitering just outside the main Disney camp so it is probably only to be expected. A little making of or a commentary for the adults would be nice, though.
Available individually, or as part of a boxset with the second part of the trilogy, Tinker Bell And The Great Fairy Rescue comes highly recommended for those with young children, or just for those who love animation.
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