Home > Reviews > TINKER BELL – Joel McNeely

TINKER BELL – Joel McNeely

October 31, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A very belated prequel to one of Disney’s best-loved classics, Peter Pan, the 3D animated movie Tinker Bell tells the story of what life was like for the green dress-clad pixie before she started having her adventures with Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys, and dueling with Captain Hook. The film is directed by Bradley Raymond, and features a surprisingly high profile all-female voice cast including Mae Whitman, Kristen Chenoweth, Raven-Symoné, Lucy Liu, America Ferrara, Jane Horrocks, Anjelica Huston.

The film is scored by Joel McNeely, who seems to be making something of a mini-career scoring Disney animated sequels, having already turned in work on sequels to Cinderella, The Fox and the Hound, Lilo & Stitch and Mulan. His three cuts included on Disney’s song-heavy album comprise two pieces called “To the Fairies They Draw Near” which feature vocals by Canadian new age artist Loreena McKennit, and a 7-minute score suite which plays over the film’s end credits, amounting to just under 11 minutes of McNeely music.

To reflect the cultural identity pixie community in which Tinker Bell takes place, McNeely chose to give his music a distinct Irish lilt through the use of pennywhistles and fiddles, and augments that with a flighty, magical feeling, and an occasional emotional sweep which is hugely enjoyable. McKennit’s expressive, equally Celtic-sounding voice adds a lovely touch to the music, and the lyrics (which McKennit also wrote) follow of the usual Disney mantra of self expression, individualism and freedom. The end credits suite occasionally rises to beautiful orchestral crescendos, complete with children’s choir, and contains some beautifully expressive passages for solo violin, leading me to once again lament the fact that Joel McNeely is scoring straight-to-DVD Disney sequels when there are innumerable big screen blockbusters that would benefit from his efforts.

The songs on the album are all very similar, and are performed by a set of largely indistinguishable female vocalists who all clearly want to be the next Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears, or have budding careers on the Disney Channel. The songs themselves are generally inoffensive bubblegum pop types, and the one by former American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee, “Let Your Heart Sing”, is actually quite nice, but the rest are all instantly forgettable and will be of little interest to score fans.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • To the Fairies They Draw Near, Part I (0:51)
  • Fly to Your Heart (performed by Selena Gomez) (3:11)
  • How to Believe (performed by Ruby Summer) (3:04)
  • Let Your Heart Sing (performed by Katharine McPhee) (3:32)
  • Be True (performed by Jonatha Brooke) (3:49)
  • To the Fairies They Draw Near, Part II (3:33)
  • Shine (performed by Tiffany Giardina) (3:13)
  • Fly with Me (performed by Kari Kimmel) (3:28)
  • Wonder of It All (performed by Scottie Haskell) (3:18)
  • End Credit Score Suite (7:18)

Running Time: 35 minutes 20 seconds

Walt Disney Records D000234202 (2008)

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