Tinker Bell and the secret of the Wings
(G, general release, 75 minutes)
Did you know that a fairy is born every time that a baby laughs?
No? Well it looks like there's an awful lot you don't know, and Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings may provide something by way of an education.
Based on the writings of JM Barrie and part of the problematically titled Disney Fairies franchise, this is actually the fourth Disney animation about Tinker Bell, a likeable sprite whose curious nature is always landing her in trouble.
Tinker Bell (voiced by Mae Whitman) lives in Tinkers' Nook, an industrious little kingdom ruled benevolently by Queen Clarion (Anjelica Huston) which earns its keep making winter baskets for the frozen kingdom, a cold weather fairy outfit that lives in the ominous Winter Woods.
In Tinkers' Nook, it's always summer, and the warm fairies are forbidden from travelling to the Winter Woods, where their wings would surely freeze and break.
But Tinker Bell has a rebellious streak, and when she sneaks across to find out what winter is like she unleashes a chain of events that threatens both kingdoms.
Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings is really nicely animated, and cracks along at a lively pace once it gets going.
The storyline is strong on character and not overloaded with tedious mythology, and while Tinker Bell and the other fairies have been given the voices and styling of California valley girls, they retain the essence of Barrie's Victorian stories.
Their wings droop when they're depressed (as indeed do mine) and they're prone now and then to spontaneously breaking into song.
All of which will enchant very young children, whose attention spans will not be unduly taxed by this likeable little film's admirably brisk running time.