COLUMBIA TRISTAR has released the entire series(9 episodes) of the short-lived JIM HENSON’S THE STORYTELLER”.
Each episode runs under 30 minutes, and all are included on a single disc. Adaptations of various folktales, each offers some lesson or moral, within a creative story, and all are so well crafted, without ever being patronizing, that children and adults will enjoy them alike!
Our favorite episode, “THE SOLDIER AND DEATH” involves a soldier and what happens upon finding a magic bag. There’s a lesson about death that’s truly insightful, and helps make this one that shouldn’t be missed!
Other episodes include:
“HANS MY HEDGEHOG” a terrific, enchanting tale about a woman so desirous of a child, she’s willing to raise a hedgehog as her own. When the hedgehog grows up and helps a King, he’s promised the first thing he sees when returning to his kingdom,…the king’s beautiful daughter!
“FEARNOT” a boy named “FEARNOT” learns a lesson about being brave, and what things one truly needs to fear and prioritize.
“A SHORT STORY” actually involves John Hurt, the “Storyteller” of the series, as the character, explaining his role as a storyteller to the king after being caught stealing.
“THE LUCK CHILD-A king decides to raise a child who has been predicted to assume the crown, in order to control the child’s destiny. Of course, the king’s plans may very well backfire!
”THE TRUE BRIDE” is one of the most fantasy-like tales of the lot. It involves an evil troll, a brave white lion and a magical spell.
“THE THREE RAVENS” – After a witch puts a curse on a king’s sons, his only daughter escapes, hoping to break the curse. Part of breaking the spell requires her silence for over three years, and this feat is put to the test once she’s accused of witchcraft, and about to be burned at the stake!
“SAPSORROW” is an inventive retelling of Cinderella.
“THE HEARTLESS GIANT” is a terrific tale about a giant whom has been jailed by a king. When a young prince reaches out to befriend the giant, the giant uses him to escape. The prince still attempts to find goodness in the giant, leading up to an unpredictable, surprising ending.
While we’re happy to find COLUMBIA TRISTAR releasing such titles, we’re disappointed that they neglected to take care in its presentation. Presented in their full-frame ratio, artifacting runs amok here! The image is often grainy, and it’s far darker than we recall in any of its original television airings. The fantastical world of Jim Henson really deserves better than what’s presented here. Colors are almost muted at times.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has presented a Dolby 2.0 mix. It’s not aggressive, but fares better than the video, with generally decent fidelity and limited separation. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
Two trailers to other Jim Henson films are included.