Walt Disney’s Tinker Bell is back for another adventure in the Blu-ray and DVD release of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, out now. Kids of all ages can join Tink on her journey that leads her from Pixie Hollow to North of Never Land, as she discovers the importance of friendship along the way.
Produced by Sean Lurie and directed by Klay Hall, the animated movie includes the voices of Mae Whitman as Tinker Bell, Jesse McCartney as her friend Terence, Angelica Huston as Queen Clarion; Kristin Chenoweth, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone and Jane Horrocks as Fairy Mary.
This is the second movie in a series with Tinker Bell that follow the seasons, this one being fall. The folks at Disney are hard at work on the next one that takes place in winter.
Recently, Lurie and Hall participated in a “virtual roundtable” online chat that M&C joined in with other journalists. They discussed the evolution of Tinker Bell, the story, working together and more.
One question concerned Tinker Bell traveling beyond Pixie Hollow and what was her journey like?
Klay Hall said “Yes, Tinker Bell goes on a perilous journey. She builds this really cool balloon, from cotton balls, that floats her out over the ocean of Never Land. She travels to this mysterious island, far north, in uncharted territory. Along this journey, she meets lots of interesting characters that she learns important life lessons from.”
Someone asked, Tink has come a long way since her first incarnation as a spot of light on stage and since her voiceless sidekick role in “Peter Pan.” What is the source of her enduring appeal and what essential parts of her remain unchanged?
Sean Lurie explained, “I think it’s because Tink is very relatable. She has emotions like we do, and is very expressive. She has a temper, she gets jealous in the Peter Pan movie. She’s very feisty. We have tried to maintain these personality traits in Tink, and think that part of what people love about her.”
Someone asked, How did you manage the evolution of Tinker Bell as a character regarding the original personality she had in the 1953 movie?
Hall said, “It was a challenge and an honor to work with this iconic character, Tinker Bell. She actually originated in the early 1940s and was inspired by the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio. Over the course of the next 13 years, Walt and his team went through many variations of Tinker Bell, finally landing on the Marc Davis design. So in that 1953 movie, they had her design but they were still working out her personality and character. She was feisty. She was hot tempered. She was jealous. And she made mistakes. This is what I loved about her character and wanted to embrace because it made her feel real and relatable. It’s okay to get upset and to make mistakes. It’s also great to realize those flaws or those mistakes and to be able to apologize for them.”
Along those lines, someone asked, What are the differences you can see comparing the new Tinker Bell and the older one, being a co-star of Peter Pan?
Lurie said, “The biggest difference has to be that she can talk in these movies. Even though she couldn’t talk in the Peter Pan movie she was very expressive. You always knew what she was trying to communicate. We tried to keep her very expressive, and maintain her key personality traits. Translating her from 2D drawings to a fully 3 dimensional character is also a visual difference. We tried to be as accurate in her appearance as possible. It was important that people recognize and accept her as the Tink they know and love.”
One writer asked, Tinker Bell is quite a clever Tinker Fairy, what new contraptions does she create in this film?
Hall explained, “Yes, Tinker Bell is quite the tinkering fairy. In Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, she comes up with a few original contraptions. Such as, a high-powered paddleboat, the pulley-and-lever system in the Pixie Dust Depot, a very unique cuckoo clock and tea maker. Finally, she tinkers a really cool balloon that flies from Pixie Hollow out over the ocean of Never Land to a faraway, mysterious island.”
Another question was how did you come up with ideas for this new enchanting story?
Lurie said, “The story is loosely inspired by a Disney chapter book called Tinker Bell North of Neverland. There was an idea about friendship in that story that inspired us to make that the heart of the story. We also wanted to make an adventure where Tink has to go on a journey. These were the initial ideas that developed from there.”
Someone wondered about the look of this film and what inspired it.
Hall, answered, “Certainly the inspiration comes from the original 1953 Peter Pan movie. The colors and the richness of the backgrounds from the original film were embraced. What was great about this time is we were able to give it a fresh look and able to incorporate CG. We were able to enhance the textures and the hues to really give it the richness we felt it deserved.”
Another questioned how did you keep Tink and the fairy’s costumes cute and seasonal?
Hall said, “From very early on we decided that each movie would be set in a different season. I happened to love the autumn, so fall was my color backdrop. We needed to update Tinker Bell’s wardrobe from the last film to be weather appropriate. Although she still retains her classic dress, she wears a long-sleeve shirt, leggings, a shawl, a hat and high boots with her signature pom-poms.
Someone wanted to know about the different crews have been working on five different Tinker Bell movies. How do you manage to keep her consistency along all those adventures? Is there someone in charge of supervising the coherence of the whole? John Lasseter? How does that work?
Lurie said, “Yes, this is a challenge. We have a story trust composed of the Directors, writers, producers, and selected others who review and offer help to each other and their projects. A lot of consistency issues are resolved in these meetings.”
Someone asked Lurie, Why was Klay Hall chosen to direct Tinker Bell And The Lost Treasure?
Lurie explained, “Klay Hall is a great director. He very funny, and he wants to tell great stories. Klay is specifically well suited for a project like this because he is a huge fan of Disney and the Classic characters and films.”
Someone else asked how was it to work together since they both come from different schools (Mr. Hall – as it shows in IMDb – worked with a more adult animation)?
Lurie answered, “Klay and I have had a great time working together on this. We both have a mutual respect for each other’s skills and responsibilities. We also both care about making movies that will entertain the whole family.”
Another participant asked, Mr. Hall, do you coordinate the performances of the voice talents with the visual artists? Or does one come first and the other have to try to match up? Do the voice talents have a good idea of what the look of the scene will be?
Hall said, “Yes, I do coordinate all the voice talents with the visual artists; however, we do record the voices first, so the animators have an acting track to work from. If I don’t have an actor recorded at the time I am handing out a scene, we do what is called a “scratch track,” where I or an animator will speak the words and we will record them, so we have something to work from. When I go into final record with acting talent, I bring character design, color art and sometimes a pencil test scene that will help inform the actor of what I’ll be looking for.”
Someone asked, What handy advice or life lessons can young girls learn from the Disney Fairies?
Hall, explained, “In Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, there are a few life lessons that everyone, not just young girls, can learn from. For example, forgiveness like when Tinker Bell and Terence forgave each other about their misunderstanding. Another example, true friendship is the greatest treasure of all and should never be taken for granted. And finally, it’s okay to make mistakes. We all do and, hopefully, we learn from them.”
Another person asked, Both of you have two sons like me. With the emphasis on the Terence character, is part of the priority for you to make Tinker Bell more interesting to boys?
Lurie said, “Our objective was to create a film that had a broad family appeal. We wanted to create a movie that the whole family would enjoy, including our sons.”
Someone wondered if there is a significant amount of pressure involved with making films based on such a beloved and venerable character as Tinker Bell?
Hall said, “Yes. There is tremendous pressure. After all, she is an iconic character and represents the Walt Disney Company in many ways, such as at the ambassador of the theme parks. Everyone knows Tinker Bell’s personality, so we had to stay true to who she was, but yet, also, give her a fresh appearance. What is great about Lost Treasure is that it is set in the autumn and we were able to update her little dress into a fall outfit.”
Another wanted to know about the production of the score. How did you work with Joel McNeely? Can you tell me about the chorus and the choice of Gaelic for the lyrics, as a kind a secret fairy language?
Hall explained, “I worked very closely with Joel McNeely from early on. We talked about how we wanted to capture authenticity of the Celtic world and have it sound organic. Joel is a very accomplished musician on several instruments and he had creative ideas on how to create this new sound. As part of our production process, we were able to travel to Ireland and meet with David Downes, several musicians and singers, including some of the Celtic Women. When we first heard the Celtic choir, it was in the Abbey’s residence, a 400-year-old building next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Talk about inspiring and moving. It was truly amazing, an incredible experience and we felt like we were really on to something.”
Someone wanted to know how many animators worked on Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure and how long did the production for the movie overall take?
Hall said, “From storyboard artists, to animators, to CG camera blockers, to CG model builders, we had many hundreds of talented individuals working on our film. It took about two and a half years.’
Another person asked if it all computer-generated?
Lurie explained, “Yes. We start with “flat” designs and storyboards drawn with a stylist in the computer (they resemble pencil drawings). We then construct those characters, environments and props as models in a 3d digital environment. Even though the shots are computer generated there are many talented animators animating each shot and character.”
Someone wondered what is the benefit of Blu-ray for a film such as this?
Lurie said, “We produced the film in High Definition. Watching it on Blu-ray is, by far, the best way to see this. It’s visually stunning and we don’t want you to miss the incredible visual details.”
Another participant wondered what did you enjoy most about working on the film?
Lurie answered, “Working with a character as popular as Tinker Bell was fantastic. We were challenged to represent Tink in a way that her fans would accept and like. I enjoyed working with Klay very much as well. He’s a great Director, and we had a fun time making this adventure.”
Someone asked Is there a deleted scene that you wish had made the final cut?
Lurie explained, “There was a very funny scene where Blaze gets eaten by a frog that got cut out. It caught everybody by surprise and made people laugh out loud. We couldn’t find a way to make it work in the revised sequence of events in the story.”
Another question was, Can you reveal your favorite DVD bonus feature?
Lurie explained, “My favorite bonus materials are the deleted scenes. We had to cut some great material for a variety of reasons. Klay and I got a chance to give explanations with the clips, and we had fun. We hope that it will give the audience some insight into what goes into (and sometimes out of) making movies. In additions some of the “scenes you never saw” scenes are very funny.”
Another person wondered what is the secret to Tinker Bell’s success?
Lurie said, “I think it’s her charm, curiosity, and that she is not perfect. These things make her relatable. And she can FLY!”
The Blu-ray disc includes the feature film, the Magical Guide to Pixie Hollow, Pixie Hollow comes to Walt Disney World, Scenes You Never Saw and All-New Music Video; the DVD includes the feature film as well as the bonus features.