Remember how everyone cheered when John Lasseter took over Disney and announced he was canceling most of the studio’s awful direct-to-video projects? Film lovers (and parents) everywhere understood Lasseter’s zeal for doing away with crap sequels to The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast — but not all home-market releases are created equal, and the rise of the Tinker Bell franchise is a case in point.
As we’ve discussed here in the past, it’s fashionable to hate Disney, and there are some good reasons for that — but if you’re going to build a spinoff franchise, the Tinker Bell movies offer a case study in the right way to do it. Tink is a recognizable character, but she wasn’t the basis of the classic film she starred in, and that frees up the studio to tell all kinds of stories about her without interfering with parents’ fond Peter Pan memories — and tell those stories with computer-generated animation, to boot.
The sight of an animated sequel or spinoff isn’t exactly encouraging, especially of the CG variety, so from the outside, the Tinker Bell movies might look like cheap cash-ins on a classic film. But this is John Lasseter’s Disney, where quality is king; if you’re allergic to fairy cartoons, then it’s doubtful that anything here will change your mind, but if you’ve avoided the Tinker Bell spinoffs because you suffered the horror of Return to Never Land or Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure, then dive right in. Continue reading