It’s with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our beloved Tinker Bell and her fairy friends with Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast. Happily, however, this film is just as strong as others in the series as it touts interesting characters, an engaging plot, and lots of fun and pixie dust.
The Film ✮✮✮✮
Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is the sixth and final installment of the Tinker Bell direct-to-video movie franchise. You would think that as the series progressed the quality of the films would decrease, but that’s far from the case. NeverBeast is just as strong as the first film.
While many of the other films focused mostly on Tinker Bell as the main protagonist, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast instead gives Tink a break and allows one of the other fairies to take the reins. This time, it’s the animal-talent fairy Fawn. Fawn loves animals, especially the big, scary, carnivorous animals from which most of the other animal-talent fairies flee. This adventurous spirit allows her to come across and befriend a mysterious creature known as the NeverBeast, which throws Pixie Hollow for loop.
The NeverBeast, who she names Gruff, has the tail of an armadillo, the body of a bison, and the horns of a wildebeest. With his opalescent green eyes and the rock tower he spends his time building, Gruff is one of the most mysterious characters we’ve seen in Pixie Hollow and, as a result, he steals the show.
The film is a delight. The animation is beautiful, as always; the story doesn’t have any slow or lagging parts and the characters are well rounded, interesting, and strong. Even if you’ve never seen another Tinker Bell film before, you’d still be able to jump right in and understand and be engaged with NeverBeast‘s plot.
Bonus Features ✮✮✮1/2
- 5 Essential Ingredients to Getting Gruff: This is basically akin to your classic making-of featurette. The five essential ingredients to creating Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast are story, design, score, animation, and Gruff himself. The director and many others involved in production are the stars of this bonus feature and tell us succinctly about the process of creating this film. My favorite part was that this featurette was filmed at DisneyToon Studios, which is a building we normally don’t get to see the inside of.
- My Dad’s Movie: The True Story of the NeverBeast: Shot at the Santa Barbara Zoo, director Steve Loter and his daughter talk about how their story inspired elements in the film. It’s cute to see the father-daughter relationship while still focusing on how this story related back to the movie.
- Jeff Corwin’s Guide to Real-world NeverBeasts: Jeff Corwin, a popular animal conservationist, has a cameo in the film as an animal-talent fairy and walks us through real-life NeverBeasts that live in the world around us. Personally, this featurette didn’t do much for me because it didn’t have anything to do with the film.
- Deleted Scenes with Intro by Director Steve Loter: Another staple in Blu-ray releases are deleted scenes. These deleted scenes are in animatic and storyboard form. Some include alternate intros and plot lines that were eventually cut.
- Tink’n About Animals: In this featurette, Fawn sings a song breaking down the names of animal groupings. Some of these names were so bizarre and wacky, I had to Google them to make sure they were correct (and they were)! I thought this was a cute little short that featured full, polished animation.
- Gruff Love: This is sort of a trailer, featuring a musical montage of clips from the film to the KT Tunstall’s song, “Strange Sight”. I didn’t feel that this featurette added much, but for those who just wanted to see a few clips and hear the song, it would be great.
If you haven’t seen any of the Tinker Bell films before, then definitely take a chance and watch Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast. The film is so heartwarming and fun that people of all ages will fall in love with Gruff, Tinker Bell, and her friends. Even though it’s a direct-to-video film, it’s a must buy.