But it’s not just an issue of being the wrong demographic. Winx Club: Mystery of the Abyss launches the viewer into an existing universe filled with existing characters and long, winding existing backstories that ensures it’s only for the most die-hard fans.
The eponymous Winx are fairies. Maybe. Or pop stars? Either way, they’re a group of teenage girls who attend a wizard/fairy/magic/witch school not unlike Hogwarts. When a group of evil fairies known as the Trix try to activate the Emperor’s Throne, they accidentally free the evil nymph and Sirenix fairy Politea. They kidnap a Prince(?) known as Sky to free Tritannus from Oblivion then gain a magic pearl from the Coral Wreath to help them use the power of the Emperor’s Throne. The Winx must then head into the depths of the Infinite Ocean to stop them and save Sky. They do this by using magic spells and transforming into fairies, while also being a pop group and coping with the daily struggle of things like school (ew) and boys (yuck).
See? Considerable homework is required before embarking on this journey.
Winx Club seems to take its inspiration from a huge number of familiar franchises, and it doesn’t take an eagle eye to spot the influence of Harry Potter, X-Men, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, PowerPuff Girls, Pokemon and a whole library of stuff like that. It certainly does not break any new ground or revolutionise the genre - or multitude of genres to which it belongs - and it’ll leave you asking more questions than it answers, such as “Who’s she?” “Who’s he?” “How can they breathe and talk underwater?” “Is that school in the clouds? Or in space?” “Where did those magic portals come from?” “Did these voice actors even go to drama school?” But the success of the TV series suggests they must be doing something right.
The story is terrible. The voices are terrible. The animation is iffy at best. Seven-year-olds would probably love it. Even though it pales in comparison with its influencers (give me an episode of Sailor Moon any day), the colours are garish, the girls have just the right amount of sass and it sends all the right messages about girl power, teamwork, gender equality, and will no doubt make kids around the world act out the fairy transformation scene for weeks to come.
So if you’re looking for something to entertain the youngsters for a couple of hours, Winx Club: Mystery of the Abyss will probably do. But there is plenty of better stuff out there.
WINX CLUB: MYSTERY OF THE ABYSS / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: IGINIO STRAFFI / SCREENPLAY: GIOVANNI MASI, IGINIO STRAFFI / STARRING: LETIZIA CIAMPA, PERLA LIBERATORI, ILLARIA LATINI, GEMMA DONATI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW