Let’s be honest, here, at some point, sequels rarely live up to the original. A fourth spin-off that’s actually worth your time? Unheard of. And yet … Disney’s new The Pirate Fairy, fifth in its Tinker Bell movie series (if you don’t count Pixie Hollow Games, which I don’t because it was not a “Tinker Bell” flick), manages to do the unthinkable.
It makes you believe (see what I did there?) that a beloved series can continue on and give little fans their due. And I’m not just saying that because Disney gave me a copy of The Pirate Fairy for a giveaway. Pinky swear. I’m saying it because as mother to a little girl who I am trying to raise in a world still hellbent on putting women “in their place,” the Tinker Bell series has given us something we sorely needed. A heroine who crosses the archetypes of girldom.
She is tough and strong and brave and a thinker. She is very much the strong woman we want our girls to be. But she is also a fairy, for crying out loud, which sends a message our girls who still like to dress up and color their world pink that that is OK too.
Such a dichotomy is, unfortunately, rare in movies and cartoons. Girls are either pretty or smart, never both.
Girls follow the adventures; they don’t lead them.
And girls together? They are catty, quarrelsome … which leads us back to The Pirate Fairy.
I’ll be honest; the storyline isn’t as inventive as, say The Secret of the Wings. It will not turn the world upside down. But it’s fun, and Tom Hiddleston (remember, Loki, from The Avengers and Thor?) is an addition to the cast that thrills the geek in me. If you’re a a Peter Pan fan like me — I recently saw a tattoo of Peter leading Wendy and siblings off on an adventure that made me consider, for one hot moment, my personal ban on body art (I’ve nothing against ink anyone else folks, but I don’t sign up for pain) — you’ll appreciate the steps the writers took to lead Tinker Bell into J.M. Barrie’s story.
But what really made the film for me, what made me glad I’d sat my daughter down to watch it, was seeing a bunch of girls — OK, fairies — come together to chase down a friend who had done them wrong but who they loved … despite it all. In your standard kiddie TV show, the girls likely would have cackled and said good riddance. Instead what The Pirate Fairy delivers up is a swashbuckling adventure, that at the heart of it shares not just a story of friendship but of standing stronger as a team, as a team, in particular, of females.
Girls can work together. We can accomplish big things. And we can do it all without turning into sniveling catty well, you know the word I’m looking for here.
My advice? Pick up The Pirate Fairy and watch it WITH your daughter; do some Neverland crafts (click the link below!), and really talk about what it is that society will tell her about girls … but you can prove isn’t necessarily true.
What is your favorite movie to watch with your daughter?
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Pirate Fairy from Disney to facilitate this review. All opinions and anxieties about raising a girl child are my own. No one’s paying me to be neurotic.