Before I gave birth to a daughter, I’d never heard of the Bechdel test. It’s a measure of how often two female characters talk to each other in films and books about subjects other than men. More than half of all contemporary films fail the test, and — sadly — that includes most children’s movies. Yes, even in films for kids, girls are stuck talking about guys … if they get to talk it all. That’s why, whenever Disney pushes out another one of its Tinker Bell movies, I’m first in line to grab a Blu-Ray for my daughter, and their latest edition, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast, is no different.
Yes, they’re movies about fairies, a creature that’s often denigrated for being of little substance and only adding to the problem of little girls being forced into old-fashioned gender roles. But the fairies of Neverland aren’t just fairies. They’re hard-working young women, celebrated in this special series for their individual talents. Tinker Bell is best known because of her appearances in varied forms in Peter Pan re-makes over the years — and because her name graces each film in this series — and her ability to “tinker” with bits and bobs to create mechanical masterpieces is encouraging for any parent trying to open the door to the STEM subjects for their daughter.
But the other fairies have their own unique talents too, and as Disney pumps out more straight to Blu-Ray/DVD films, we’re seeing more efforts to delve into what they bring to the world. In Never Beast, the torch is passed to animal fairy Fawn, with Ginnifer Goodwin called in to lend her voice to the heroine. And in comes Nyx, voiced by Rosario Dawson, whose disagreements with Fawn on how to handle the eponymous mystical creature strike at issues far deeper than catching a boy’s eye: safety, community, and fear of differences. Exactly the sort of things we want our kids — male or female — talking about.
Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD. Want a copy? Disney has offered one up to Inside Out to give away.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this film to facilitate this review but was not otherwise compensated. All opinions expressed are my own.