Parents who (for this reason alone) badly mistimed the birth of their daughter may have come to view the DisneyToon Studios as a Christmas menace to compare with Aunt Deirdre’s rubbery plum pudding.
For the past few years, Walt’s low-rent chop-shop has been knocking out cheap and exhaustingly cheerful DVDs that, in a few unlucky territories, end up on the big screen. They’re never very good. They’re rarely entirely awful. They always make money.
Though bearable enough, the Tinker Bell films are surely the most ideologically suspect. The deliciously catty menace from Peter Pan long ago evolved into a bland chatterbox who spends regimented days among equally uninteresting sprites at a mystic resort run by a benign fairy queen.
In this universe, nobody is allowed to be anything other than vermicelli thin, fanatically perky and exhaustingly primped. Would it kill them to allow just one fairy to have ankles wider than her ring finger?
The films of Leni Riefenstahl were less obsessed with a singular ideal of human perfection. (Though we should clarify that the fairies’ dell is a multiracial affair.)
Anyway, the current chapter is among the less terrible of the saga. A member of the gang named Fawn – who seems to be an occasional naturalist – happens upon an enormous hairy beast and, in the spirit of Aesop, renders him friendly by removing a troublesome thorn.
The rest suspect that this NeverBeast will bring disaster, but Fawn knows he’s not so fearsome as he looks.
We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Looks tell us nothing about a person’s inner worth. We should all be a bit more sceptical about traditional notions of beauty. Such are the film’s admirable lessons.
Hang on. Did I mention that nobody on this island is anything other than a size zero? Oh, where’s that ticking crocodile when you need him?