Thursday, April 10, 2008


Much of Disney's Peter Pan was atrocious, an affront to taste and literary merit. The lost boys, even Pan himself, were portrayed as cute. Originally, they were killers, ladies and gentleman, worse than the pirates by far. In Disney's dismemberment of the story, the Darling children were gone a matter of hours, not nearly long enough to cause their the parents weeks of suffering and pain endured in the original. And, to cap matters off, we are left with the impression that it was all but a dream, a game of make-believe, and that, dear readers, we in The Middle Room cannot stomach.

But one aspect, one small part, was handled with some manner of attention, some respect for its source, and that was Tinker Bell.

Okay, Wendy wasn't bad, but that's not really relevant here.

It may seem odd that such discussion should be raised now, since Peter Pan was released in 1953. Do not think for a moment it was our choice to reopen old wounds: this was Disney's doing. You can read all about Disney's upcoming projects, the majority of which fill us with hope and excitement. But notice how, tucked in the back, they disclose darker designs: a series of stories, slipped into the market place directly to DVD.

These, we are told, are to tell the continuing tales of Tinker Bell.

Those of us familiar with J.M. Barrie's original know this is impossible. Tinkerbell died years ago, as revealed in a discussion between Peter and Wendy, when he came to visit a year after she'd left Neverland:
When she expressed a doubtful hope that Tinker Bell would be glad to see her he said, "Who is Tinker Bell?"

"O Peter," she said, shocked; but even when she explained he could not remember.

"There are such a lot of them," he said. "I expect she is no more."

I expect he was right, for fairies don't live long, but they are so little that a short time seems a good while to them.
-J.M Barrie, Peter Pan and Wendy (1911)

Heartless, yes, but so then are children, and that was more of less the point of the story, anyway.

Disney has exhumed Tinker Bell and pinned her in a display case. We'd rather they had let her rest in peace, but where there's money to be made graves are seldom left alone.


Lindsay said...

Oh dear... "the enchanting creatures of Pixie Hollow, who “nurture nature” and bring about the change of the seasons."

In its (paltry) defense, it's not about tween movie/singing stars. And who knows, it might be kinda almost as okay as Rainbow Brite, who also brought about spring. ;) But probably not.

Erin Snyder said...

Rainbow Brite would have been a far superior show if only the music were changed. And without Murky and Lurky. And if the visual design didn't suck.

But why dwell on the negatives. Here are the positives of Rainbow Brite:

1. The opening of the pilot ("Do you want to save this world, Little Wisp?").

2. The existence of Stormy, who is some sort of winter elemental, and may be a fallen wisp as well.

3. The movie, Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, which may be the strangest animated movie ever made. At the climax of the film, Rainbow Brite ASSASSINATES the villain using her color belt. Every cheers as the evil princess dies in a fiery explosion.

As good as Rainbow Brite? I sincerely doubt it.