Another Solid Entry into the Series
Secret of the Wings is a 2012 computer-animated fantasy film, and the fourth in the Disney Fairies franchise, produced by DisneyToon Studios. It is the last to make use of the theme of seasons in the franchise as well (the 5th and 6th entries to the series, The Pirate Fairy and Legend of the NeverBeast respectively, do away with focusing on a single season/ climate).
This one was built upon a budget of $35-million (which is right on par with the budgets of all the entries in the series) and even with a limited theatrical run, managed to turn that into $67,537,798 through the international box office.
Coming in at 75-minutes in length, the cast is virtually unchanged from the prior movies. The story here tells of a forbidden zone to the warm fairies like Tink called the Winter Woods, which just so happens to be inhabited by winter fairies.
Ever the explorer, Tinkerbell wanders into the winter woods where, in addition to discovering the strange shimmering affect the cold seems to have on her wings, she meets a frost fairy named Periwinkle.
Together they work to uncover the secret of their shimmering wings while trying to unite the warm fairies and the winter fairies once and for all.
The pacing, visuals, charm and gags are nothing new here; and it’s a very safe conclusion that fans of any of the other entries in this franchise will appreciate this one as well. While I wouldn’t go quite as far as to say this one is the strongest entry to the Disney Fairies universe, it is certainly a step up in terms of story telling over the three films that preceded it.
When one thinks of a winter-themed CG piece, often the first reaction is to imagine a world of bleak white and gray but this is Disney after all. While Frozen is in no danger of being shown up, these guys prove they’re very adept at animating ice, gently falling snow, cozy fabrics and dramatic sweeping shots that encapsulate the chill perfectly.
New addition winter overseer Lord Milori makes for a very interesting character reminiscent of something out of JRR Toklein’s playbook (voiced by Timothy Dalton).
Perusing various critical opinions around the net seems to reveal the common word “sweet” to describe the viewing experience and frankly, that’s a fitting adjective. The film doesn’t take many chances or try to tweak with the proven formula but rather approaches the mythos with a good, steady hand and a singular plot twist that adds a new dimension to the canon of Tinkerbell.
All in all, Disney has proven that it’s quite serious about the franchise (with six feature films and a pair of shorts out to date) and consumers are responding to their commitment with their wallets. This is actually the first of the series to have made a profit at the box office, a trend that has continued with the films since.