Film Review: Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
In 2016, Steve Loter released Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast, as the seventh and final entry into the franchise. Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Mae Whitman, Rosario Dawson, Lucy Liu, Raven, Megan Hilty, Pamela Adlon, Angelica Huston, Danai Gurira, Chloe Bennet, Thomas Lennon, Jeff Corwin, Olivia Holt, Grey Griffen, and Kari Wahlgren, the film grossed $8.7 million at the box office.
Animal fairy Fawn believes animals can’t be judged by their appearances alone. Therefore, she befriends a huge, mysterious creature known as the NeverBeast. However, Tinker Bell and her other friends aren’t so sure about it and the Scout Fairies work to capture the monster before he destroys Pixie Hollow.
Though Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is a decent enough film for the Tinker Bell series, it really lacks what's needed to give the franchise a proper ending. In fact, with the film centering more on Fawn than any of the other fairies it seems that the title had Tinker Bell's name in it simply because of name recognition. As a whole, what this film does do is showcase how Fawn’s unorthodox methods as an animal fairy make her as unique as Tinker Bell is to the Tinkers as well as provide the means for saving Pixie Hollow. She’s established as throwing caution to the wind when it comes to animals, as seen when nurturing a hawk back to health. As such, when something as terrifying as the NeverBeast awakens, she not only decides to follow it around to study it alone, but gives it a name. It also shows that she’s innately trusting of the creature as the Scout Fairies are going off of archaic drawings with no words and little context to believe that the beast is going to destroy Pixie Hollow while she believes that the creature isn’t inherently evil.
Largely, the connection that Fawn and the NeverBeast have is what makes this film seem like it's borrowing from other successful films that have used the concept of a childlike character finding a huge sentient being. It includes a person, who behaves in a way others believe to be somewhat irrational, finding something that none one has ever seen before and befriending it. Further, most think that this being is going to destroy everything when it's actually working to do the opposite. The only problem with this film employing that concept is that it lacks any subtlety or nuance.
There is an interesting contrast between Fawn and Nyx though. The former lets her heart lead her, which is what allows her to have the gut feeling that the NeverBeast isn’t evil, even if she doesn’t really know what it’s doing. The latter, is led by her head and because she’s under the impression that the beast is evil and will destroy everything they know, she decides to not study the creature and act on the basis that she thinks she has to destroy it for the betterment of Pixie Hollow. The funny thing is if the two acted in tandem and decided to smartly study the creature while being as cautious as possible,
Lack of properly employing the concept in a proper way notwithstanding, the film feels incredibly inadequate when compared to the others in the franchise. Since it’s very Fawn-centric it really puts the other fairies on the backburner. They don’t do much. Yet, it’s not just that. For the final film in the franchise, a lot of characters that were in other films don’t even make an appearance. Bobble and Clank, for instance, have been in every other film prior to this one, but they're not even in the background. There's not even a mention of Dust Alchemy which was the whole point of the previous film. Tinker Bell even goes to Winter at one point, but Periwinkle doesn't even show up. For the final film in the franchise, it really didn’t give a final sendoff to many characters and their lack of presence is not only felt, but sorely missed.
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Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards
- Best Sound Editing - Direct to Video - Animation
Casting Society of America Artios Awards
- Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Animation Feature