Winx Club 3D: Magic Adventure (Magica Avventura) [2010]

This is the second Winx Club movie, and like the first (Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom) it is a self-contained, high-quality experience independent of the series. Both movies differentiate themselves with computer-generated graphics in contrast to the television show’s traditional animation (and this take is not about debating which style is best).

Flora was looking good (despite a tragic peroxide accident). Someone needs to remind the animators that her hair is supposed to be brown.

We will say that if you are going to do something, do it well. This movie for the most part has strong art design. You can make a lot of ideas look good with computer graphics. However if an idea really stinks, even the graphics may not save it. But good ideas abound, like interesting and fitting manifestations of the different character’s powers. The magics were not reduced to different colored balls of light. Such copouts plagued the television series’ fourth season.

Oh, and when in doubt, take inspiration from a classic.

Set designs and artistic touches were a visual treat. Almost all the places visited, and they were quite varied, were rich in their own way. From the mundane, like Bloom’s earthly parents home, to the fantastic like Bloom’s biological parent’s castle. Plus there were surprise colourful transitions like that GIF at the top.

Average park? Average looks? Average clothes? There is nothing average about the Winx girls. Isn't this how everyone dolls themselves up for a stroll in the fabulously average park?

The action scenes were some of the best choreographed of the franchise. It was not just blast after blast. There was maneuvering, defense and strategy. Important to us as well was the original Company of Light was not dissed. King Oritel, now restored and in his prime was not treated as second-tier to highlight the Winx girls. Instead he was out there kicking butt as one would expect from the leader of that legendary band.

King Oritel is back, and he remembered how to pose.

However this movie experience is not without flaw. Someone over in the costume design department:

  1. got too cute
  2. got drunk
  3. passed the work off to an intern
  4. is colorblind

We say this because some of the outfits were just dreadful in contrast to those cool battle suits the girls wore in the first movie.

You don't need Timmy's I.Q. to realize someone spilled paint all over Tecna's outfit.

This collection of clashing, garish awful outfits is only better for Musa. Her believix pantaloons are not hard to best...

No new characters were introduced. The villains were the Trix, who we were glad to see back (and computer generated), and the ancestral witches whose storyline we were glad to see wrap up. Despite this known cast we still felt as though we experienced travel and newness within the breadth of the wide Winx universe. This starts right at the beginning with a fun, narrated introductory 5 minutes. It was surprisingly “techy” for a magic based series.

Remember when teleporting only required Stella's cool Solarian staff and not a nuclear blast? Ah, those were the days...

The Winx girls are unperturbed! (Despite being bombarded by gamma rays...)

The movie also fell prey to the, “we know what little girls like and are going to give it to them whether it fits this movie or not” syndrome. The lead character Bloom is the primary victim of this. Sometimes portrayed as a 10-year-old girl living the fantasy life of a princess in a beautiful castle being given a pony. At other times dressing as a slightly provocative teen and lip locking with her boyfriend at times both appropriate and strange.

However this Picasso-esque virtual communication scene was visually pleasing.

We really do think the plot was too focus grouped and marketing oriented in the sense that it included every element in which a 10-year-old girl might be interested:

  • horses
  • flying horses
  • unicorns
  • flying unicorns
  • boyfriends
  • evening gowns
  • princesses
  • castles
  • princes
  • forced marriages
  • arch enemies
  • BFFs
  • big sisters
  • garish clothing
  • and amusing high school antics

Uhh...

Thankfully there was little Kiko, and even less pixies.

If you are a fan of the franchise, most flaws are easy to overlook and this movie is definitely worth seeing. Chronologically it takes place before the second half of season four. Critically we think it holds together better and makes more sense than those mishmashed, somewhat misguided episodes.

Produce more like this Straffi and perhaps Winx will attract a new generation of fans.

What can we learn from this picture? Bloom's Earth mother was a hippie. (Oh, and Bloom may not have been the prettiest baby...)

Check out our other Winx Club takes:

Winx Club Season 1 – (The Trix)

Winx Club Season 2 – (Darkar)

Winx Club Season 3 – (Baltor/Valtor)

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 1)

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 2)

Winx Club 3D: Magica Avventura

Also By Iginio Straffi:

Huntik: Secrets & Seekers Season 1

Check out related takes:

W.I.T.C.H. Season One

W.I.T.C.H. Season TWO

Winx Club [2009] Season 4. Episodes 14-26

Is the sun setting on the Winx franchise?

Tecna lookin’ good. Inspiring geeks everywhere.

Once we were surprised to find ourselves fans of the Winx franchise.  But that was long ago, before the changes of season 4.  Seasons 1-3 were able to meld action and cute elements into something that had worldwide acceptance.  Season 4 at first could not decide whether it would retain that broad spectrum appeal or niche down into the saccharin fantasies of 8 year old girls.  Sadly they chose to focus almost exclusively on the latter.

The Winx girls- form a band? Sure it’s “easy”. Another tween fantasy fulfilled.  Uhh, shouldn’t Musa be the lead?  Just sayin’…

Winx, a show about girls focused first on a female audience.  But it also secondly included action and plot points appealing to males.  It is amazing to us how much weaker the show is when those secondary qualities are removed.   If you liked Winx for what came before, it may no longer be for you.  If  you have a taste for really girlie plots, garish outfits that appeal to pre-teens,  and plot cliches below previous levels it may still be for you.

This effeminate boy played with his own girlie ‘Love and Pet’, and was being bossed by his sister. We shudder to think of his future…

They do a lot of that this season.

Some cliches you may have thought only Japanese, but the Italians have jumped into the worn out “humans are polluting the earth and must be punished” diatribe with a heavy hand.  Be thrilled by lines from grubbly looking loggers like: “Thank you girls.  From now on we won’t damage nature no more.”  Barf.  Is this Captain Planet?    It was indoctrination.

Hey it’s Gantlos! He’s cool.  Wait, the Black Circle wizards are in the second half of season four? (Not really…)

Oh look, the Winx also have a Heart of Kandrakar! Winx and W.I.T.C.H. unite!

How about the 2nd half of season 4 one sentence plot synopsis:  The Winx girls live out pre-teen business fantasies, ignore their boyfriends, start a band, flirt with other men, fight a spaceship made of ice (really!), befriend woods-loving natives, rebuff and brainwash eeeeevil loggers, then free a group of fairies, war against them, stand around and watch Nabu sacrifice himself in a contrived manner, and finally freeze 3 black circle wizards who were trying to make the most of their bit part -oh, and Roxy finds her mother who turns out to be a queen of faeries.

Bloom continues her duplicitous flirting with Andy (who also has a band).

“Yeah, what about those cool ‘Wizards of the Black Circle’ villains they introduced at the beginning of season 4?”  Frankly, they were wasted, underplayed, de-powered and underused.  They spend a good portion of the episodes skulking around sewers.  How the mighty have fallen.  How these guys ever managed to trap the ancient fairy order of Earth we do not know.

They had such promise. Now reduced to a side plot and frozen almost as an afterthought.

So the dangerous highly trained specialists… form a band too? Who DOESN’T form a band this season?

“How about their special new wings?”  Those interchangeable wings felt forced.  Like they were a selling point on a doll and shoehorned into the episodes to boost sales.  Is that too cynical?  We also noticed the animation quality varied from decent to awful.  Even when the drawings were okay the animation did not live up.  This is not a comic book.

What about their new level of powers?  Yes; Winx to Charmix (remember those?) to Believix to two more in just a few episodes:  The decent looking but slightly overdone nature based Sophix and the cool looking wintry Lovix.  (They wanted to use “Omnitrix” but another franchise already claimed it.).  The Sophix episodes were weak and more or less turned the Winx girls into hippies. Most of you do not remember hippies – and maybe that’s for the best.

Why won’t anybody help this poor man?

On the bright side, the specialists were slightly more than an ignored afterthought during these episodes.  They are trained to fight magic users.  It would be nice to see them actually team up with the fairies more.

This is what we would have liked to see more of, the specialists and fairies fighting together back to back.

We are sad that Winx has moved away from us.  We are the same people, it is the show that changed.  Oh there will still be some great drawings based on this series.  Some nice products; maybe the next movie will be good.  But can Winx return to what made it such a phenomena?

Check out our other Winx Club takes:

Winx Club Season 1 – (The Trix)

Winx Club Season 2 – (Darkar)

Winx Club Season 3 – (Baltor/Valtor)

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 1)

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 2)

Winx Club 3D: Magica Avventura

Also By Iginio Straffi:

Huntik: Secrets & Seekers Season 1

Check out related takes:

W.I.T.C.H. Season One

W.I.T.C.H. Season TWO

Winx Club [2009] Season 4. Episodes 1-13

winx_season_4_banner

Winx Club returns with season four after a CGI movie and a couple years off.  This take covers the 13 episodes that led to the mid-season finale and subsequent hiatus.  Now, synopsis in a sentence:

They do not look happy about being back.  Flora spent the break on Slim Fast so you think she would be happier seeing how well she fits back into her bare midriff aoutfit.

They do not look happy about being back. Flora spent the break on 'Nutra-System' so you think she would be happier seeing that she fits back into her bare midriff outfit.

Winx_season_4_Tecna_believix_transformThe Winx Club fairies travel to non-magical Earth in order to find its last fairy before her powers are stolen by the wizards of the black circle who have become powerful by that means and along the way the girls will display a bevy of new outfits -and some selfish behavior, start a cutesy business, battle the black circle and use their new powers to mind control people on Earth.

———————————————————————————

Bloom, are you crazy?  Keep it covered!  You know bad guys can see you through paintings of them.

Bloom, are you crazy? Keep it covered! You know bad guys can observe through paintings of them.

"I am Gantlos, coolest, cruelest and arguably the most powerful of the black circle wizards.  It will take more than a flightly blond princess whose greatest challenge is split ends

"I am Gantlos, coolest, cruelest and arguably the most powerful of the black circle wizards. It will take more than a flighty blond princess whose greatest challenge is split ends to beat me..."

winx_season_4_stella_curlers

Okay, we threw some editorial spin into that synopsis.  We admit it.  Winx Club is regarded well in the Fortress, as a result we expect it to live up to its potential.  After the initial kick off the season quickly devolved into what is least good about young female shows.  Faults they had for the most part avoided in previous seasons.  They would not regain their footing until episode 8.

Ogron, leader of the black circle wizards.  Why is it that the bad guys always have the best tailors?

Ogron, leader of the black circle wizards. Why is it that the bad guys always have the best tailors?

winx_season_4_flora_musa

Season one focused on Bloom gaining her fairy powers.  Two on all of them gaining their quickly forgotten Charmix powers.  Three was Enchantix.  Continuing the tradition the new power up was Believix. It makes use of three wing types -a plot device so far underutilized.

winx_season_4_bloom_believix

"Hi I'm Roxy, the new girl.  Here I am striking a dramatic pose to prove the the verteran Winx girls that I got what it takes."

"Hi I'm Roxy, the new girl. Here I am striking a dramatic pose proving to the veteran Winx girls that I got what it takes."

The past power-ups were major plot vehicles needing to be individually and dramatically earned.  Season four introduced Believix anti-climatically all at once with only the barest justification -even in Winx logic.  Why give up such a valuable plot tool?  The “learning about our powers from a book” replacement plot device was weak in comparison.

"Don't knock learning from books."  Tecna is the cutest nerd ever.  She may be right barring overwhelmingly powerful enemies...

"Don't knock learning from books." Tecna is the cutest nerd ever (seen here working on Fortress Takes). She may be right about book-learning Believix powers - barring overwhelmingly powerful enemies...

...you know, enemies that make huge craters with their fists.

...you know, enemies that make huge craters with their fists.

On the plus side season 4’s art direction was some of Winx’s best.  While you may not be able to differentiate a Speedix wing from a Zoomix, the Believix outfits were good looking (with the exception of Musa -sorry, pantaloons are out).

Short straw draws the panelones Musa.  You lost.

Short straw draws the pantaloons. Musa, you lost.

"We may entrances like this the whole season."

"We make entrances like this the whole season." Now actual quotes. Ogron upon watching the Winx girls transform again: "Always with this annoying ballet." Gantlos: "I like it, but it gets old."

The art direction also shone in their civilian outfits and especially in the design of Ogron and his black circle wizards.  They made solid and overpowering enemies.  So when they started resorting to subtle (and lame) half-hour TV plot tricks in order to beat the Winx girls instead of just taking them head on we shook our heads.

"Hahaha!  Look how evil and powerful I am.  You know what I'm going to do next?  Sneak into your cutsie pet business at night and make the furballs go bad when they get hungry.  Ha ha - hmmm, wait.  That does not really sound so dasterdly."

"Hahaha! Look how evil and powerful I am. You know what I'm going to do next? Sneak into your cutesy pet business at night and make the fur-balls go bad when they get hungry. Ha ha- wait. That doesn't really sound so dastardly..."

Most of Gantlos' offensive powers were shockwave based.  He also had a magical tracking ability -and a cool hat.  Unlike Musa, he really won this season's cool lottery.

Most of Gantlos' offensive powers were shockwave based. He also had a magical tracking ability -and a cool hat. He really won this season's "cool attributes" dispersion lottery.

We liked the fact that Ogron and his goons had distinct, interesting powers.  The Winx girls do too.  However until the later episodes they were just flinging colored balls of light and beams.  You can call a colored ball of light “fury of the dragon”, morphix, statix or anything-ix -it is still a colored ball of light!  Later they finally started to manifest powers along their specialties.

fury

"Fury of the Dragon" our a$$. We have seen Bloom's dragon's fury a few times before, like in the final showdown with Icy in season 1. These were just more colored balls of light.

winx_season_4_roxy_believix

The boyfriends/specialists continued to get short shrift and only occasionally showed that they are warriors trained to fight magic types.

winx_season_4_specialists

That's what we're talking about.

That's what we're talking about.

Additionally, they were sent on the thankless mission to watch the girl’s backs and were treated rudely and without compassion by their flirty alleged girlfriends -especially Stella.

winx_season_4_stella_brandon_bi@tch

"Next 'Cheaters':  Bloom gets extra close to her ex."  Honestly, the girls displayed many characteristics of the exact type of which girls should not

"Next 'Cheaters': Bloom gets extra close to her ex." Call us old fashioned, but this goes past flirting -especially with an ex-boyfriend showing interest. Duplicity 1, Credibility 0.

We hear ya' dude.  In your case it just may not be worth it...

We hear ya' dude. In your case it just may not be worth it...

winx_season_4_mitzi

The animation was computer smoothed in episode 1, after that the overall quality lowered, was unclear and garish.  Yet some of the still drawings in freeze frame are quite pretty.  Some producer must have really stuck it to the staff to get improvement on characterization, story and animation fronts around episode 8.

They got it right with Musa's hair...

They got it right with Musa's hair...

On the other hand, when we look to the left upon the wtetched spider-landed-on-his-head cut that they inflicted upon Helia...  Well, like Nancy Kerrigan after her knee was clubbed we can only yell, "Why? Why?"

On the other hand... Helia's new 'spider-landed-on-my-head' cut (left) replaced his fitting longer locks. Well, like Nancy Kerrigan after her knee was clubbed we can only ask, "Why? Why?"

The fairies’ “dust” powers were a little creepy.  They actually seemed to alter the minds of people against their will, though that is not how they spun it. Especially the pawn shop owner.

THe specialists came in and pawned a ring.  I gave them money.  Now becuase of your mind-bending spell I am out my money AND the ring.  Thanks 'good guys'!"

"The specialists pawned a ring. I gave them money. Now because of your mind-bending spell I am out my money AND the ring. We call that robbery here on Earth. Thanks 'good guys'!"

The producers wisely chose Earth as an interesting new setting, and seemed to have overcome early stumbles. Season 4 could now live up to past potential.


Winx_season_4_black_circle_flames

Why so glum chum?  We've still got 13 episodes to go this season.

"Remember when there were only 5 of us?" "Yep, those were the days."

Check out our other Winx Club takes:

Winx Club Season 1 – (The Trix)

Winx Club Season 2 – (Darkar)

Winx Club Season 3 – (Baltor/Valtor)

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 1)

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 2)

Winx Club 3D: Magica Avventura

Also By Iginio Straffi:

Huntik: Secrets & Seekers Season 1

Check out related takes:

W.I.T.C.H. Season One

W.I.T.C.H. Season TWO

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom (Il segreto del regno perduto) [2007]

winx_supp_movie_1

winxmovie011 floraIf you enjoyed Winx Club’s first three seasons, you owe it to yourself to find and see this movie.  I went in looking forward to Secret of the Lost Kingdom (SotLK).  One of the reasons was that the main story arc of the series, that is lead character Bloom finding her biological parents, had yet to be resolved.  SotLK resolves that and delivers much more in the process.

With that said, I still tried to keep my expectations moderated.  After all an arc three seasons in the making can easily be disappointing when finally resolved.

cvs

When a computer generated character looks into a computer generated mirror, what does she see?

Also, SotLK moved Winx into the world of computer generated imagery (CGI) from traditional animation.  When a show is as stylized as Winx Club, the transition from cels to 3D models can be daunting at best, and awful at worst.

No, this is not your high school math book.

No, this is not your high school math book.

Tecna get uprezzed.  Fitting.

Tecna gets uprezzed. Fitting.

Gladly, I can report that SotLK succeeded on all the mentioned fronts.  Especially in the tricky area of CGI where they managed to capture the spirit of the art direction in 3D.  However they went beyond just capturing, they enhanced it in some places and added whole new elements in others.  New locations, new outfits and new vehicles were all on display as SotLK went above and beyond the “necessary”.

Even the credits were artsy.

Even the credits were artsy.

A good word to describe SotLK is artsy.  Dramatic lighting, sparkles and translucent clothing/wings were all realized more easily and more often in this high quality feature.  Iginio Straffi kept a close eye on his popular creation and kept it from drifting away from its core.

Like the series the movie was at times serious and others fun.  There was even a pleasant musical scene flying through the clouds.

Alfea looked good rendered with CGI.

Alfea looked good rendered with CGI. (For some reason, in our "non-magical" dimension pinks and purples have never caught on as building colors.)

One of my interests in Winx Club lore has been the famed Company of Light.  We finally get to meet the remaining three members.  The old gruff weapon smith Hagen, and Bloom’s parents who have not aged since being trapped when Bloom was a baby.  It was interesting seeing them not much older than Bloom and much younger than the remaining un-trapped members.

The dark background in this lake scene highlighted Bloom in enchantix mode.

The dark background in this lake scene highlighted Bloom in Enchantix mode. (Enchantix lasted longer than "Charmix". The latter was a flash in the season 2 pan. I guess girls were more interested in buying whole new dolls than they were in small pocketbook-like accessories.)

Special props go to the costume designers.  They did a great job translating the known outfits into 3D as well as designing some elegant-in-their-simplicity jumpsuits.

winx_supp_movie_4

winxmovie03

The famed Company of Light.

The men were treated pretty well this time around.  They got some good screen time for supporting characters.  Both Hagen and Oritel were treated with respect.

Another supporting character, Faragonda was shown fittingly powerful.  Of the other two members of the company of light, Griffen is barely seen and Saladin not at all.

————————————————————

Intehr

In order to save water in the magical dimensions they have started to shower with light.

There is a great reveal in the beginning where the girls go enchantix and have a tough battle with a horde of robots.  This battle and the others in the film were well planned out and exciting.  The fight scenes moved along and the action was quick and snappy.

This library was a very rich scene and the jumpsuits on the girls were a lovely contrast.

Bloom & Flora: This library made for a rich scene and the jumpsuits on the girls were a lovely contrast. But are they readers?

If you do not think Flora is cute get back under your bridge, troll.

If you do not think Flora is cute get back under your bridge, troll.

Of course SotLK is not without its faults.  Occasionally the movie was a little slow.  Then again one man’s “slow” is another man’s peaceful pacing in a pretty scene.  The three bad witches from all three seasons of the series (the Trix) only made the briefest cameo appearance.  Additionally the Ancestral Witches who fought against the Company of Light did not get enough comeuppance.

SotLK leaves open the door for more action in the Winx Club universe.  With word of a fourth season and the possibility of another movie, we have not seen the last of Bloom, Stella, Flora, Tecna, Musa and Layla (Aisha).

"I'll be watching for them."

"I'll be waiting for them."

Check out our other Winx Club takes:

Winx Club Season 1 – (The Trix)

Winx Club Season 2 – (Darkar)

Winx Club Season 3 – (Baltor/Valtor)

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 1)

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 2)

Winx Club 3D: Magica Avventura

Also By Iginio Straffi:

Huntik: Secrets & Seekers Season 1

Check out related takes:

W.I.T.C.H. Season One

W.I.T.C.H. Season TWO

Winx Club [2006-2007] Season 3. 26 Episodes

winx1

There is a good argument for Tecna being the bravest of the Winx girls. Kind of like how Bumblebee was the bravest of the Autobots in the original Transformers show (for the 3 of you who will remember THAT).

There is a good argument for Tecna being the bravest of the Winx girls. Kind of like how Bumblebee was the bravest of the Autobots in the original Transformers (for the 3 of you who remember THAT).

After an entertaining but slightly disappointing season 2, Winx Club hits its stride in a big way for season 3.  The characters are a couple years older now, as are the viewers since season 1.  Perhaps this emboldened talented creator Iginio Straffi to go with more mature drama and subtler characters.  One  major key used to add that drama was cleverly tied to the third season’s magic power upgrade, enchantix.

In season 1 lead fairy Bloom gained her fairy powers.  In season 2 all six Winx Club fairies gained their marginally interesting charmix power add-on.  However season 3’s enchantix formed a whole new costume and higher order of power.  The drama was weaved in by only granting these powers after an act of sacrificial heroics.  This insured that there would be at least six cutom tailored dramatic scenes involving the upgrades.

—————————————————

winx_supp_se03_1

"Uh, where's my outfit?"

For example, Stella dove in front of her father to save him.  In that tense moment she gained her enchantix and kicked some serious butt.  Additionally in one of the season’s most dramatic events, Tecna achieved her enchantix and seemingly sacrificed herself to seal the icy Omega Dimension prison.  If you were not moved by Musa’s realization and scream of anguish for her lost friend, change the channel and watch the news.

winx_supp_se03_2

"I'm the kind of bad guy you love to hate... or just love.  Heh heh."

Baltor: "I'm the kind of bad guy you love to hate... or just love. Heh heh." Narcissism anyone?

Season 3 also introduced a new kind of master villain for Winx Club.  The suave, roguishly handsome Baltor eclipsed season 2’s Lord Darkar in power and scope of his evil designs.  He was conniving, arrogant and well voiced.  When faced with fighting half the original famed Company of Light (veteran headmasters Faragonda. Griffin, and Saladin) he instead tricked them into fighting each other.  Dastardly coward.

The season was very arc-driven, and episodes sometimes ended in cliffhangers.  The one where a disfigured Stella is thrown out of a high window was especially dramatic.  Winx Club restored to prominence its foundational arc revolving around Bloom’s search for her biological parents.  While it was not resolved, it was moved forward and Bloom learned much about herself and her family history.

Faragonda and Baltor have a no-holding-back 1 on 1 battle of the heavy hitters. It ends with a tremendous nuclear type blast.  It was an awesome and fun battle to behold.

Faragonda and Baltor have a no-holds-barred 1 on 1 duel of the heavy hitters. It ends with a tremendous nuclear-like blast. It was an awesome and fun battle to behold.

The boys got better story treatment than they did in season 2.  One major arc revolves around the Baltor-aggravated political and romantic battle for power involving Prince Sky, Bloom, and Diaspro.  The latter was a non-Alfea trained fairy with a potent and interesting gem based power set.  She was a fine example of the quality character designs that went into season 3.

Diaspro's ring of gems style of magic battling added dimension to the Winx Club combat (and of course was ironic considering Diaspro's personality).

Diaspro's ring of gems style of magic battling added dimension to Winx Club combat (and of course was quite fitting considering Diaspro's personality).

Baltor uses the original three bad witches as his goons (like Darkar before him).  That seems to be their role in life.  The introduction between them was fun and interesting as they escaped the fearsome Omega Dimension together.  Baltor holds up as an imposing and nigh unbeatable villain until the last few episodes where he has a few uncharacteristic breakdowns.  I did not find them a fitting way for him to express his desperation.

After three years, you are finally on the doorstep of finding Blooms parents, leaders in the legendary Company of Light.

After three years, you are finally on the doorstep of finding Bloom's parents Oritel & Miriam, leaders in the legendary Company of Light. The season ends with their magical image in the night sky.

I believe they thought season 3 would be their last, although Iginio Straffi knew they were making a movie.  Bloom does not find her parents by the end, but after Baltor’s defeat the season ends on a hopeful note.  She is finally ready to mount a rescue.  Winx Club season 3 although “girlie” may surprise those who normally do not watch that kind of show.  The drama, friendship and good versus evil elements have broad appeal.

This picture does not have anything specifically to do with season 3, but it's cool.

Tecna: This picture does not have anything specifically to do with season 3, but it's cool.

Check out our other Winx Club takes:

Winx Club Season 1 – (The Trix)

Winx Club Season 2 – (Darkar)

Winx Club Season 3 – (Baltor/Valtor)

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 1)

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 2)

Winx Club 3D: Magica Avventura

Also By Iginio Straffi:

Huntik: Secrets & Seekers Season 1

Check out related takes:

W.I.T.C.H. Season One

W.I.T.C.H. Season TWO

Winx Club [2005-2006] Season 2. 26 Episodes

winx_supp_se02_31

If you do not like gentle Flora, place your hand on your wrist and check for a pulse.

If you do not like gentle Flora, place your hand on your wrist and check for a pulse.

Winx Club’s second season is unique. It does not have the “whole new magic world” quality of season one, nor the well executed villain and fairy power growth of season three. Yet it is compelling in a way different than any other season.

Compelling, however, does not mean that the full potential was reached. Some of Winx Club’s better plot ideas and new concepts, displayed here in season two, as entertaining as they were, seemed hindered by incomplete execution and annoying additions.*

winx_supp_se02_9

In season 1 lead fairy Bloom struggles to attain and then grows her new powers.  In season 2 all club fairies strive to attain this year’s power upgrade, charmix.  It is signified by an extra gem or handbag affixed to their fairy combat outfits.

Which of these three is not bad? It's a trick question, they all are.

Charmix was a good idea on paper, but the execution was average.  The extra powers were not well defined,  late to the game, and as a result harder to totally buy into by viewers.

(Author’s note: Since this post the oft slammed Charmix has grown us. In comparison, the Sophix and Lovix transformations of SEASON 4 are less significant to character development and seem more tacked on.)

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Lord Darkar completed the villain checklist. Scary appearance: check. Evil grin: Oh yeah. Powers that outclass the good guys: Yuppers. So he might ask, "Where did I go wrong?"

Dark Bloom. A good fairy gone bad is scarier than a always bad witch.

Dark Bloom. A good fairy gone bad is scarier than an always bad witch.

The season’s new villain was Lord Darkar, a creepy long-lived energy being.  He was a good design for a straight out evil antagonist.  He recruits the three evil witches from season 1 to do his bidding (and to get beat down by the fairies).

Everything about Darkar’s look and powers spoke to a more cataclysmic showdown that never occurred.  Because he was one dimensional, he needed to hit his one note harder at the end.

A great (and classic) idea well executed was Dark Bloom.  Take the lead girl and turn her bad.  Since she had grown to be the strongest of the Winx Club, it made for some tough battles and heartbreaking decisions.

For a show so light and good, the transformation of Bloom eventually ending at an all black outfit and evil cat eyes was intense.  It is one of the single best reasons to watch season 2.

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As for the group, they added Layla.  Probably to round out the group’s ethnic diversity for politically correct and marketing reasons, and partially to sell more dolls.  She does little for me, and I find her attitude annoying.  Of other group interest, the selfless and sweet Flora finally gets a hero boyfriend.  The sweetest of the girls, she was due as all the others seem to have a hero to date.  It made for a nice, feel good sub-plot.

Story disguises herself as good.  Just like in real life, it is all in the eyes.

The single biggest mistake of season 2 was the introduction of pixies.  They are doll-sized magical creatures that more or less act like 5 year olds.  They were annoying, uninteresting and sucked the resources out of the main plot.  They seemed a shameless way to cash in with toys.  I am surprised the intelligent and creative man behind Winx CLub, Igninio Straffi allowed them to interfere that much.  I guess even Straffi cannot hit a home run with every decision.

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Dark Bloom: "What are you talking about? I like pixies. They are delicious. Heh heh."

The men (heroes) got shorter shrift in season 2, probably because their time was absorbed by the dippy pixies.  They need more anti-magic weaponry to be effective fighters and well-rounded characters in the Winx universe.  Flora’s new romantic interest used some magic to augment his hero skills and it worked well.

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Combined Trix: Take distinctive features of three bad witches and combine them into one cool looking being. Now THAT power has possibilities.

Another great idea and well done was the finale merging of the three witches by Darkar.  He combines them into a being of black energy.  It was great art direction, and fun to watch in action.  Schoolmasters Faragonda and Griffin team up their heavy hitting powers.  It was a nice hint of their former alliance (the Company of Light) later fleshed out in season 3 and the 1st movie.  Despite some drawbacks Winx Club season 2 is punctuated by good scenes and dramatic moments.

"That's all."

"That's all."

* Editors Note: First and second paragraphs modified 02/26/2012

Check out our other Winx Club takes:

Winx Club Season 1 – (The Trix)

Winx Club Season 2 – (Darkar)

Winx Club Season 3 – (Baltor/Valtor)

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 1)

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 2)

Winx Club 3D: Magica Avventura

Also By Iginio Straffi:

Huntik: Secrets & Seekers Season 1

Check out related takes:

W.I.T.C.H. Season One

W.I.T.C.H. Season TWO

Winx Club [2004] Season 1. 26 Episodes

Winx_bloom_flora_stella

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Italian producer/writer/creator Iginio Straffi put together a unique television show with international appeal. Two key reasons for this success were timeless themes and classic story elements.

With all the darkness threatening our world these days, it was great to see people overcoming evil and their own weaknesses to triumph.  Other themes like finding one’s true self and real friendship are hallmarks of not only Winx Club, but many of today’s most popular shows.

All geeks are not as good looking as Tecna. You only see that in animated shows, ...and Hollywood movies.

All geeks are not as good looking as Tecna. You only see that in animated shows, …and Hollywood movies.

Another reason for its wild success was its consistent art direction and visual flair.  Winx Club did not try to be less edgy anime, nor Disney fare.  Instead it took its own path with stylized fashions, character designs, vehicles and environments.  Undoubtedly Winx Club’s first targeted audience is young girls.  To that end the focus is primarily on the lead female characters.  However Winx Club can also be appreciated by anyone who likes a show with a ton of heart.

Flora was the sweetest of the girls, although her powers over plant life could squash you like a grape.

Flora was the sweetest of the girls, although her powers over plant life could squash you like a grape.

winx_supp_se01_41The story is about a young girl who comes of age to learn she has magic powers and (after a time) is a princess.  Her biological parents are believed dead, but her search for them will form the longest arc.  She goes off into another realm to learn about her powers and heritage and makes 4 friends who will be her allies throughout the series.  Classic elements seen in many old stories and modern fiction.

This first season sets the stage and builds the foundation for seasons 2, 3 and the first movie.  It sets in motion a welcome arc weaved throughout many of the episodes.  As a result you always felt like you were going someplace beyond a single episode’s goal as the lead character Bloom learned more about and grew in her powers.

What ever happened to Stella's Solarian Sun Staff that turned into a ring and allowed her to travel across dimensions?  Forgotten in the realm of diused plot devices along with second season's "Charmix".

What ever happened to Stella’s Solarian Sun Staff that turned into a ring and allowed her to travel across dimensions? Forgotten in the realm of disused plot devices along with season two’s “Charmix”.

Like many a superhero show, when it came time to fight the baddies the girls transformed into their magical outfits.  These were pretty and dare I say a little racy, but hey, it’s Italian.  They can get away with it.

Bloom:  Okay, it is not the most practical combat wear, but it is easy on the eyes.

Bloom: Okay, it is not the most practical combat wear, but it is easy on the eyes.

winx_supp_se01_5Three main schools exist for the teaching of youngsters in this dimension.  Alfea is where the girl leads go (fairies) and is for “lawful good” magical girls if you will pardon the D&D alignment.  The not-so-good magical girls (witches) go to Cloud Tower. They are anything from lawful evil to chaotic good.  The mostly non-magical guys go to Red Fountain where they use special weapons and vehicles training to be “heroes”.

“Sky, you are so manly.” — “I know. It’s this pose.”

The three main villains for season 1 are (later) expelled witches with bad attitudes.  They went all the way chaotic evil.  The English dubbing for these three and all the characters really is a bit over the top, but it worked.  The drama was sometimes quite serious.  More so than would be in a similarly targeted recent American release.  Likely the differing Italian standards.  There were historical deaths, real danger, and permanent disfigurement (life as a pumpkin) to deal with.  The seriousness added to the drama for sure.

Stormy, Darcy, and Icey could electrocute you, burn your mind, and/or freeze you solid... in that order.

Stormy, Darcy, and Icey could electrocute you, burn your mind, and/or freeze you solid… in that order.

Each fairy fought with unique powers.

  • Bloom  –   dragon flame
  • Flora    –   plants
  • Tecna   –   technology (no surprise)
  • Stella    –   sun power
  • Musa    –   music

Note to bad guys:  If you ever see this look in your show's lead character, exit immediately.

Note to bad guys: If you ever see this look in your show’s lead character (Bloom), exit immediately.

The multi-episode finale of the first season got pretty intense with an all out army sized battle at Alfea and a desperate showdown between Bloom and the head witch baddie Icy.  You see the final blow only from a great distance as a huge emission of dragon flame.  A fitting dramatic device that makes you imagine the final hit.

Winx Cub is a feel good gem with clearly defined good guys and bad guys that should appeal to young girls.  You might also like it if you like pretty designs, stories about friendship and overcoming adversity themes.

“Would I lie?”

Special Thanks to Zhanneel for the extra caps.

Check out our other Winx Club takes:

Winx Club Season 1 – (The Trix)

Winx Club Season 2 – (Darkar)

Winx Club Season 3 – (Baltor/Valtor)

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 1)

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 2)

Winx Club 3D: Magica Avventura

Also By Iginio Straffi:

Huntik: Secrets & Seekers Season 1

Check out related takes:

W.I.T.C.H. Season One

W.I.T.C.H. Season Two