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).
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.
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.
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.
However this movie experience is not without flaw. Someone over in the costume design department:
- got too cute
- got drunk
- passed the work off to an intern
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
- flying horses
- flying unicorns
- evening gowns
- forced marriages
- arch enemies
- big sisters
- garish clothing
- and amusing high school antics
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.