This is a more intense, adventurous, vividly drawn installment in the Tinker Bell series. The fairies' friendships are a bit more in the background than in earlier films; instead, the focus is on Fawn's unlikely friendship with creature Gruff, her determination to understand him, and the importance of balancing our adventurous impulses with the safety of our community. The pros are big messages about the innate value of curiosity, inquisitiveness, independence, and letting yourself get carried away, with a clear admiration for kids who are compelled to stay up all night learning new things. Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast also promotes a love of the playfulness and whimsy of animals and pets and makes a strongly positive point about not judging a book by its cover.
And the friendships are still important to the story overall; the friends always have each other's back, with a big emphasis on loyalty and giving others the benefit of the doubt, with bits of the typical fairy humor sprinkled throughout. But the addition of the Scout Fairies, a particularly formidable band of warrior fairies who protect Pixie Hollow like a team of Green Berets, gives the film a new degree of autonomy, seriousness, and action. That makes for an exciting, fast-paced adventure that references a little of The NeverEnding Story (with Gruff's playfulness) and a little bit of Ghostbusters (when Gruff transforms into a "monster"). Some of the movie's intense action and chase scenes could frighten younger kids. And there's a particularly emotionally charged scene, though beautifully done, when friends have to separate, as well as some near-death moments that linger. Though the action, positive messages, and storytelling all are outsize here, the overall intensity may move the age up a bit.