From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
‘Lost Treasure’ tinkers with pixie’s evolution
The world’s most famous fairy gets a makeover, frolics amid the fall leaves and embarks on a thrilling voyage in the new DVD “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.”
The latest installment in the popular Disney Fairies direct-to-DVD franchise has Tinker Bell and her fairy friends bringing in autumn, with the pixies coloring the leaves red, turning the light golden and helping animals enter hibernation.
“I happen to love autumn. The way the light hits the trees, the colors of fall and the crispness in the air. I wanted to capture the textures and feel of the season,” said director Klay Hall in a recent “virtual roundtable” online chat he and producer Sean Lurie took part in with entertainment journalists.
The follow-up to 2008’s “Tinker Bell,” the film is the second of five planned computer-animated DVD releases that will take the fairies on adventures through the seasons and beyond the borders of their Pixie Hollow home.
“The Lost Treasure” continues the evolution of Tinker Bell from literary sidekick in J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play “Peter and Wendy” — she is often depicted onstage with a spot of light and tinkling bells — to the wordless pixie-dust distributor in the 1953 Disney animated film “Peter Pan.” Actress Mae Whitman (“Arrested Development”) gave voice to the sprite in “Tinker Bell” and reprises the part in the sequel.
“Even though she couldn’t talk in the Peter Pan movie she was very expressive. You always knew what she was trying to communicate. We tried to keep her very expressive,” Lurie said. “We tried to be as accurate in her appearance as possible. It was important that people recognize and accept her as the Tink they know and love.”
Inspired by the Disney chapter book “Tinker Bell North of Neverland,” the sequel has Tinker Bell working on an important project: crafting the Autumn Scepter. At the Autumn Revelry, light from the rare blue moon will shine through the precious moonstone atop the scepter and produce blue pixie dust to reinvigorate the Pixie Dust Tree.
When her overly helpful friend Terence (voice of Jesse McCartney) accidentally breaks the scepter, Tink loses her temper and inadvertently shatters the moonstone. Frantic to save autumn, she makes the perilous trek north of Neverland to find the legendary wish-granting Mirror of Incanta.
The skilled tinker fairy builds an impressive flying machine to make the journey, and along the way she encounters an array of lively characters, from an intrepid firefly named Blaze to a pair of bickering, adorably ugly trolls.
“We wanted to create a movie that the whole family would enjoy, including our sons,” said Lurie, who, like Hall, has two boys.
To suit the story, the filmmakers gave Tink her first makeover in 50 years.
“In the earlier films, she wears her iconic little green dress. However, it being fall and there being crispness in the air, in addition to this being an adventure movie, her dress just wouldn’t work,” Hall said.
Her new look adds a long-sleeve shirt, shawl, visor, leggings and boots adorned with her usual pom-poms.
“The costume also had to feel as if a fairy made it, so all the materials, textures and elements are organic and easily found in nature,” Hall added.
Working with one of Disney’s most beloved characters — and company mascot — was both a heavy responsibility and great honor, he said. The director counts the late Marc Davis, the Disney animator who created the 1953 Tinker Bell, as one of his mentors.
Davis based the lively pixie on Marilyn Monroe, Peggy Lee and Betty Kimble, wife of fellow animator Ward Kimble, and Hall researched the animator’s original model sheets and pencil tests when designing the updated character.
Capturing the spirit of Tinker Bell was as essential to the film as pixie dust is to fairies.
“Tink is very relatable. She has emotions like we do, and is very expressive. She has a temper; she gets jealous in the Peter Pan movie. She’s very feisty. We have tried to maintain these personality traits in Tink, and think that (is) part of what people love about her,” Lurie said.