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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is a more adventure-focused installment in the Tink series. It focuses mainly on animal fairy Fawn and features Gruff, a big furry monster who's lovable but also can be quite scary. There are some intense chase scenes, a band of Scout Fairies who use high-action warfare to tame and repel predators, some fierce storms and lightning, and trippy graphics when Gruff transforms into a monster. Plus, Tink and Fawn are injured and appear unconscious and hurt. There's also a fair bit of emotional intensity in this film, particularly when friends must separate. Overall it's a testament to curiosity, heart, independence, the power of teamwork, and unlikely friendships, but very young kids may be frightened in a few instances or have questions about loss.
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What's the story?
In TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST, animal fairy Fawn (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) loves all animals, including the scary ones. Hawks, bobcats, rats, and more are never too much for her big heart and soft spot for anything furry. But when she discovers Gruff, a new creature who has come out of hibernation for unknown reasons, Fawn's tendency to love unconditionally may threaten Pixie Hollow's safety. Soon she, Tink (Mae Whitman), and the Scout Fairies learn that this time, Fawn has brought home more than she bargained for.
Is it any good?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about balancing your head with your heart. Have you ever wanted to do something big or scary that you weren't sure was OK? What happened? How did things turn out? How did things turn out in Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast?
How does this movie compare to other Tinker Bell adventures? Is it scarier? Is that OK? Do you think it's meant for the same audience?
Fawn sees something in Gruff that the others don't. How can we try to look for things in others that might not be so obvious up front?
The fairies need each other to successfully protect Pixie Hollow. Kids: Do you like working in a team? What sort of teams do you get to participate in? How do you help each other?
- On DVD or streaming: March 3, 2015
- Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Mae Whitman, Anjelica Huston
- Director: Steve Loter
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Fairy Tales, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Teamwork
- Run time: 76 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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