Tinker Bell (2008)

A talented young engineer struggles to overcome social norms and to be allowed to join her friends on their annual field trip.

Here's a summary (beware spoilers):

The film starts with Tinker Bell appearing in Pixie Hollow: a magical island in Neverland where seasons never change. Ruled by the benevolent Monarch Queen Clarion, the fairies make much hoo-ha about—and organise themselves into groups based on—their Talent. They don't have to suffer the trials and tribulations of childhood and education though: Tink springs to life fully formed both physically and mentally, born from a child's first laugh.

Tinker Bell's talent for engineering (or "tinkering" as it's referred to) is unusually strong, earning her the chagrin of Vidia—a fast-flying fairy. Fellow engineers Clank and Bobble do their best to welcome Tink into their fold, where she is expected to make and repair tools for the rest of the fairies.

Tinker Bell soon meets and befriends Silvermist, Rosetta, Iridessa & Fawn—a water, garden, light, & animal fairy respectively—and learns that they will be going on a field trip to prepare the Mainland for Spring. When Tink learns that the engineers don't go on field trips, our hot-headed Heroine decides to abandon her promising career in engineering and train for a vocation with more prospects of travel.

Her friends are initially supportive but when they see how hapless Tink is with water, light, and animals, they start to think it's a bad idea. Depressed at her failure to adopt a nature-fairy talent Tinker Bell finds a broken music box and proceed to fix it. Her friends secretly spy on her and note how skilfully and naturally she puts the box together, and how it cheers her up. Because of this Rosetta refuses to help Tink become a garden fairy, telling her not to throw away her talent.

Getting increasingly desperate Tinker Bell asks Vidia for advice. Vidia, still holding a grudge from Tink (accidentally) causing her to be pelted with berries, decides to play a trick on her. The outcome is that Tink accidentally destroys all the fairies' preparations for Spring, and distress grips Pixie Hollow. It will take months to redo the work, and Spring is in danger: if it doesn't come on time the world risks entering into an ice age.

Can Tinker Bell draw on her unusually strong talent to save the day? You can probably guess the answer to that, but there's no shame in just watching the film to find out. I've watched it many times with my 3-year old son and I still enjoy it. It is refreshing to see a film where the heroine's chief worry isn't who she is going to be married off to.

Although I'm not entirely sure it applies as the fairies rely on asexual reproduction, I'll rule that it passes the Bechdel test. The fairies certainly look male and female, and there's hints at attraction between them. (But nothing unsuitable for children.)

Posted 3 February 2015 Copyright © Stig Brautaset