Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2015)
Reviewed for TheBluFile.com by Dustin Putman(Release Date: March 3, 2015)
The sixth entry in the "Tinkerbell" direct-to-video series, DisneyToon Studios' "Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast" is a gentle and unassuming entertainment that anyone will be able to appreciate but younger children will especially get behind. Watching these well-meaning, albeit minor, animated morsels, it is no secret that they are being targeted to audiences under ten. Fortunately, the personalities of the fairies and the sprightliness of the dialogue keeps things humming no matter the viewer's age. In Pixie Hollow, animal fairy Fawn (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) is an activist to all creatures big and small who discovers a curious green-eyed, gray-haired species in the forest. Naming him Gruff, she befriends the beast and sets out to convince her friends that he is harmless and should not be feared just for his size. Fairy Nyx (Rosario Dawson), however, is suspicious of this animal she knows nothing about. When her research leads her to the legend of a so-called NeverBeast who rises from hibernation every one thousand years to transform into a lightning-shooting monster, Nyx is determined to capture Gruff before he can destroy the land. With the help of Tinkerbell (Mae Whitman) and the rest of her pals, Fawn must prove before it is too late that Gruff is here to help, rather than hurt, them.
"Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast" incorporates very few references to J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" the way that the previous installment, 2014's "The Pirate Fairy
," did, but judged as its own entity it is a sweet charmer. The plot trajectory is easy to predict almost from the start, yet its simplicity allows one to focus on the interplay between the amiable gaggle of characters and the earnestness of its message about the importance to never judge a book (or a person, or a NeverBeast) by its cover. As predicted, the computer animation is less refined than a theatrical Disney release. Less anticipated is the heartfelt nature of its ending, with director Steve Loter unafraid to conclude the film on an honest, bittersweet note that touches upon mortality in a graceful way appropriate for little ones.
The animation in "Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast" is of a lesser caliber than, for example, "Big Hero 6" or "Frozen," but it is brightly hued and pleasing all the same. The 1080p transfer is an excellent representation of said visuals. Colors are bold, detail is solid, lines are sharply defined, and no signs of aliasing, banding, or any other technical pitfalls are inherent within this sterling high-definition treatment. Likewise, there is little about the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track to criticize other than to mention that surround activity could have been more active than what is delivered. With the exception of background sound effects and music, the majority of the audio is reserved for the front channels. There isn't a second that isn't crystal-clear, but this also isn't exactly sonic demo material.
- "5 Essential Ingredients to Getting Gruff" Featurette (5:11, HD)
- "My Dad's Movie: The True Story of the NeverBeast" Featurette (5:14, HD)
- "Jeff Corwin's Guide to Real-World NeverBeasts" Featurette (3:30, HD)
- "Tink'n About Animals" Featurette (1:51, HD)
- "Gruff Love" Featurette (1:32, HD)
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Intros by director Steve Loter (11:07, HD)
"Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast" is pleasant to a fault. Children will be enchanted, older animation enthusiasts will be diverted by the punchy script if recognize the slightness of the overall project, and parents will be thankful for the valuable messages imparted in the story. With strong A/V specs and a few brief but cheery bonus features topping off the package, fans of the "Tinkerbell" franchise should not hesitate to pick up Disney's latest Blu-ray release. Recommended.