Blu-ray & DVD Review: The Pirate Fairy @ 11 April 2014 06:17 PM

In his book about the Pixar challenges and triumphs, Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull describes how the role of the "Brain Trust" in making the best films possible -- and their record speaks for itself. As part of Disney, Pixar has inspired their "Story Trust," which is actually mentioned on one of the bonus features.

Clearly this system, while not infallible, works, because The Pirate Fairy has one of the tightest and fastest paced stories of not just the Disney Fairies series, but direct to video films in general. Of all the Fairies films, this one ranks alongside my favorite in the series, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue.

But you'll notice that "Tinker Bell" does not appear in the title. Perhaps it's because the Disney Fairies franchise has proven so strong, it alone can carry a film, with Tinker Bell as almost a supporting character.

The star of this film is the title character, an inquisitive, ADD fairy named Zarina who, in a strangely Breaking Bad kind of plot, uses her talents as a chemist (or "alchemist") to use the -- yes -- "blue" pixie dust to create a line of multi-purpose dusts. When her plans cause chaos and she is chastised, she turns to a life of piracy on the high seas.

Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway-Harris on Mad Men), turns in her third vocal performance for animation, preceded by Goro Miyazaki's From Up On Poppy Hill and as Lois Lane in All-Star Superman. Tom Hiddleston, of The Avengers and War Horse, has a blast playing and singing her assistant pirate, John (as he demonstrates in another bonus feature).

Though there are quite a few excellent direct to video animated features, some of them tend to sag after the first 20-30 minutes. This one never does. It's slam-bang adventure/fantasy, with lots of visual eye candy, character-based humor and a fine score by Joel McNeely.

Second Star to the Right: The Legacy of Never Land (4:45)
Croc-U-Mentary (4:45)
Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions:
     Tea House Disappointment
     Vidia's Birthday Surprise
     Zarina Experiments
     Fairies United
The Making of "The Frigate That Flies" (4:21)
Animated Shorts:
     "Treasure Chest"
Sing-Along Songs

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