1. Welcome to the Muppet Central Forum!
    You are viewing our forum as a guest. Join our free community to post topics and start private conversations. Please contact us if you need help with registration or your account login.

  2. "Muppet Guys Talking" Debuts On-line
    Watch the inspiring documentary "Muppet Guys Talking", read fan reactions and let us know your thoughts on the Muppet release of the year.

  3. Sesame Street Season 48
    Sesame Street's 48th season officially began Saturday November 18 on HBO. After you see the new episodes, post here and let us know your thoughts.

Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby

Discussion in 'Family Worlds' started by GelflingWaldo, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo New Member

    The Jim Henson Company is launching a new series of direct-to-DVD movies entitled "Unstable Fables". These brand-new computer-animated films feature irreverent retellings of classic stories with a modern twist. The first wave of titles will be hitting store shelves this spring. This first set of films will tackle the tales of "The Three Little Pigs", "Goldilocks and 3 Bears", and "The Tortoise and the Hare".

    The films will feature an impressive vocal cast including Brad Garrett, Steve Zahn, John Cryer, Jesse McCartney, Tom Arnold, Brooke Shields, Jamie Lynn Spears, Jay Leno and Steve Harvey, among others. Howard Baker is directing the series while such writers as Craig Bartlett, Tom Martin, Chris Parrish and Joseph Purdy are providing the screenplays. The titles will be distributed by The Weinstein Co. through Genius Products.

    The first title, "3 Pigs and a Baby", will be out in March.
  2. BobThePizzaBoy

    BobThePizzaBoy Well-Known Member

    I'll rent it. Henson really needs to go back to puppetry, this dependency on CG is really getting annoying and Hensons need to get back to their roots. This looks like standard DreamWorks crap than it does Henson.
  3. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo New Member

    What do you mean "go back"? Henson is working on a lot of puppet projects - Puppet Up! Tinseltown, Alt-Reality, S.U.D.S., the Fraggle film, Power of the Dark Crystal, plus numerous Creature Shop projects. Plus they have their digital puppetry too - such as The Skrumps, Frances, Sid the Science Kid, and TJ Bearytales. I like that the company is doing more than just puppet shows. I like the variety of audiences and mediums they are working in. I don't want to see the Henson Company become a one-trick-pony. I don't think Jim Henson did either, in the later part of his career he was developing many non-puppet projects (animation, CG-based, and even pure live-action).

    I don't care if it's puppets, animatronics, computer animation, cel animation, stop-motion, live actors or something else - as long as it has good characters, a good (and coherent) story that engages you emotionally, and has some originality (of plot, characters, design, humor, message...) then I'll watch it.

    I am excited for these. The designs look great. The concept sounds very Henson-esque. I hope the writters, director and animators haven't drop the ball. But given the great track record of the people involved, I have a lot of faith in these being great films. And can't wait to see them.
  4. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I like this idea, however prefer puppetry from Henson. Maybe the advertising tags on this release will inspire new viewers to check out Henson's puppetry.

    I haven't felt the Henson Company has been playing to their strengths even pre-Muppet sale. There is a definite need for a guiding hand over there that appears to be lacking at the moment.

    Diversifying their projects and styles is important not just for growth but for maintenance, but the foundations of puppetry should not be forsaken in the process and I don't think they are being.

    I keep saying it, but it's true. Henson should have focused their majority of resources on the Fraggle Movie before the rest of this. That's what could easily pay for Dark Crystal projects and experimental pieces. There’s really a gap in entertainment that the Fraggles can naturally fill, but nobody is noticing. Too much foot-dragging on that.

    I'm still excited about this current Fables and will reserve judgement until release. :excited:
  5. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    I think you've answered your own question there really Greg. Yeah all that, and name a single project thats looking to be majorly succesful or high profile. Henson's used to have a lot more recognition in the business and when they made something you could be guaranteed everyone would know about it. Now, simply, they've got way too much on their plate, there's a big lack of interest in any and it's a mish mash of projects from different genres that they seem to jump back and forth between. I can see they are stuck a bit as they have little of the post Disney Muppet work they were expecting and backing hasn't been strong for the big brand name relaunches they had planned. They need to be stay way more focused for the moment, just on a few things and get them going big style. I'm not so fussed over whether its puppets, cgi or whatever - but the Henson name needs to be back where it belongs so i would prefer them to do something seriously stunning or ground breaking with puppetry.

    As for Fables, it's an idea thats been done a few times before but the backing they've managed to get for it looks quite good and i'm looking forward to it. I wish they'd get TV distribution for it rather than just go direct to DVD though as that kinda stuff just seems to go un-noticed.
  6. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo New Member

    Well right now Henson is in a period of transition, development and growth. They don't have any real television shows on the air right now and they don’t have a any films to planned hit theaters real soon (at least not in the next 12 months). Right now they just have some small projects (mainly web projects) which are keeping the creative juices flowing, nurturing talent, letting them have some fun and are really only reaching for small/cult/niche audiences. However I feel that by 2009-2010 the company will have a re-birth of sorts with a whole batch of high-profile and high-quality things finally coming out of development/production and reaching audiences.

    "Sid the Science Kid" and "Frances" both have the potential of being big hits once they hit TV in '08-'09. And The Fraggle film and Power of the Dark Crystal will surely gain a lot of attention when they hit theaters in '09-'10. There are a bunch of other projects that should be coming to fruition in the next 1-3 years (The Skrumps, The Boggart, The Doubtful Guest, Varjak Paw, TJ Bearytales, Farscape webisodes…) that will surely be successful and get lots of positive attention.

    "Unstable Fables" is, in my opinion, the start of Henson's rebirth. It is the first real non-"Henson Alternative" title to come out of the company since the sale of the Muppets. The company has been nurturing talent over the past 3 years and refocusing themselves. They have a lot of stuff in the works right now (some of which we’ve already seen bits of) and this is just one of the first projects to actually come out. The company has a lot of exciting stuff planned which should be coming out over the next two years.

    I am a bit surprised these are coming out of Henson before other projects (they entered production in September) while other projects that have been in development for a year or so (Dark Crystal, Fraggles, Frances, Skrumps) are still months away debut. However the business world (particularly in the entertainment arena) is fickle and it would be silly for Henson to sit on these because of the relative status of some unrelated projects.

    I'm looking forward to these. I don't think these are un-Henson projects or that the company should not be making these. They look like they will be fun and entertaining. I think it is good Henson is doing stuff like this. However it is just a shame that some of the other projects Henson has in development aren't here too, because that would make the release of these much sweeter.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    On one side, I say the CGI market is way too full as it is. I love Pixar, and I think blue Sky has great animation (though the movie scripts aren't much to write back home about), and Dreamworks is alright... but then we have a bunch of random thrid and fourth party companies with shoddy work.

    But I do think that this is a make or break move for Henson. It would have been great to see these movies in conjunction with a WALDO system or something, but other than that it still looks like a fun project.

    If I'm not mistake, this is the same Craig Bartlett that created Hey Arnold. I am looking forward to seeing his writing among other things. I think I may just rent them. If I'm really impressed, I'll tend to collect the series. Here's hoping this project helps them move forward to other projects. Especially the Fraggle movie.
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    o, this has been out for a few days. Anyone see it yet? I'm going to wait to hear a few opinions before I rent it or buy it.
  9. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo New Member

    My Thoughts

    I got the DVD, I watched it...here are my thoughts/rambelings/feeling...

    This retelling of the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf will appeal to children and adults alike. A special-ops team of wolves is out to get the three little pigs. The Big Bad Wolf huffs and puffs and takes out the straw house and the wood house, but the brick house remains standing. So the Evil Scientist comes up with a plan to gain access to the house. A baby wolf is left in a basket on the pig’s doorstep, and the pigs take him in. The plan is that when the wolf baby grows up he will make sure the wolves have a key to get into the house.

    The film is very fun idea and is executed in a very fun way, however the overall structure basically follows the standard clichés of the three single guys trying to raise a kid, the teenager that just doesn't fit in, and the "what makes a family?" types of plots. As a result, to someone overly familiar with these classic plot structures, the depth and development may feel somewhat superficial at times. And so the main characters are somewhat forced into the basic archetypes of the stories. Children (and even most adults) probably won't notice or mind the sometimes familiar nature of the plot and will love the characters and story all the same.

    There are some excellent secondary characters in the film as well -- like the cow construction workers and all the different wolves (I particularly loved Musical Comedy Wolf, a member of the wolf pack obsessed with starting up a musical number). The pigs are cute and have some funny lines. And the Evil Scientist Worf, who is nothing short of over the top, is exactly what one would want in a comical evil scientist character. I just loved the Evil Scientist and his obsession with getting the pigs.

    The film is presented in wide-screen, which gives it a cinematic feel. The animation is done in an artistically beautiful manner. The character and set designs are simple yet beautiful. The animation and acting is wonderful and the lighting, composition, and cinematography are superb. The characters emit a refreshing simplicity not often seen in the overly-detailed world of computer-animation, and the designs and movement are reminiscent of some of the greatest characters of the classic hand-drawn animation heyday. While the computer animation on this direct-to-DVD feature is not as detailed or advanced as some of the big-budget theatrical films (such as the films of Pixar or Dreamworks), it is gorgeous and artistic in a unique and refreshing manner and it is superior to most of the computer-animated television productions (and even many theatrical features too).

    The bonus features are great too! There are 3 behind the scenes featurettes - 1 on the animation process, 1 on the voice recording session and 1 on the writing. These are fun and insightful featuettes. Sadly so many "kids" videos don't have any real bonus features or are simply padded with pointless special features (like trivia games that reuse clips from the film, or sing-along features that just play the songs from the film) but these are three great behind the scenes looks at the making of the film. I wish more DVDs had special features like this. They are fun and feature wonderful interviews with many of the people behind the film.

    Now "3 Pigs and a Baby" is not going to be the best movie you see this year (let's be honest), but it is still a very good film. I've seen a lot of the direct-to-video titles out there, and have watched a lot of the current "family"/"kids" animated projects out there. So while this is probally not going to be the best film you've ever seen, but it might be among the best "direct-to-video"/"made-for-TV" project that you'll see. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but was surprised with what I got - It had a great heartwarming message. And it wasn't watered down for kids, it didn't talk down to the audience, it wasn't overly edgy, it wasn't filled with excessive pop-culture references and puns, it wasn't full of fart jokes. It was sweet and funny and fun to watch.

    Now I didn't watch it alone. My home-viewing audience included a young boy (age 8), his mom and myself. There was laughter, from all of us, throughout. The kid loved it. In fact, as soon as it ended he wanted to watch it again. And he's still quoting lines from it. His mom said it was "cute" and "funny" and admitted she wouldn't mind watching it again (something she wouldn't say about a lot of the other videos her son enjoys). And I, as a fan of Henson and animation, throughly enjoyed it too.

    Overall, if you are looking for a quality family film that will entertain children and adults, or if you're just a fan of animation, or if you are a fan of the Jim Henson Company, or if you are a fan of any of the talented voice actors involved... then I suggest picking up this DVD today. With a sale price of just a little over $10, it is a great investment, especially if you have kids between 6-12 (and sure beats paying $100+ to take the whole family to the cinema for fresh family entertainment).
  10. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    After seeing this last night here is my take. Well, everything is there in fine form - animation, characters, art design, concept, voice talent etc, but the writers fail the rest of the team. It simply doesn't have enough stamina to justify the running length and there aren't many gags. It's not a bad project. I'm sure kids will like it, but aside from a couple jokes and some truly great visuals, there's little in it for the over twelve set. The film plays best when muting it while listening to the stereo. Sharp writing doesn’t have mean or blue, but the artistic talent deserved a better screenplay. C

Share This Page