Friday, January 18, 2008

More Details on Henson's Unstable Fables

As reported earlier, the Jim Henson Company is producing 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 and will be hitting store shelves this spring.

The first title, "3 Pigs and a Baby", is currently set for release on March 4, 2008. The film, written by Craig Bartlett and Joseph Purdy, adds a twist to the tale of "The Three Little Pigs" when a team of wolves attempt to penetrate the infamous house of bricks by leaving a baby wolf on the pigs' doorstep. The pigs take the infant in, but will the young cub fulfill the wolves' plan and turn on the pigs after they've raise him as their own? Directed by Howard Baker, the 80-minute feature-length film will showcase the vocal talents of Brad Garrett, Steve Zahn, and John Cryer as the three pigs along with Jesse McCartney as the young wolf cub brought into their family. The DVD, which is now available for pre-ordering, will include a widescreen presentation of the film along with a special "making-of" featurette.

The second "Unstable Fable" feature, which is entitled "Tortoise vs. Hare". The film, written by Tom Martin, gives a unique follow-up to Aesop's classic fable "The Tortise and the Hare" and I've been told that Jay Leno and Danny Glover have been tapped to provide the voices of the titular roles.

Looking to the future of the brand, I've been told that the third "Unstable Fable" film, dubbed "The Goldilocks & the 3 Bears Show", will feature a reimagining of the story of "Goldilocks and the 3 Bears". This film is also said to feature an all-star cast, including Tom Arnold, Brooke Shields, and Jamie Lynn Spears, among others.

More installments in the "Unstable Fables" line are expected to follow, however the ultimate fate of the franchise depends on the success of this first wave of releases. So be sure to pick up these exciting Jim Henson company titles when they are released later this year. I will be sure to keep you posted as more information on releases in this exciting series becomes available.


Vaughn Michael said...

Henson really needs to stick to puppets........... ... ..

Brad said...


frogboy4 said...

I see potential in this project. I wonder about the quality, technique and design of the animation? Are the characters simply animated or is this motion-capture puppetry i.e. Waldo from the Henson Hour? Also, does anybody know what company Henson is releasing this through (HIT, Sony etc)?

I will support and purchase this release and reserve judgement until then. Henson has had some misses. MirrorMask was such a beautiful disappointment. Can't count the number of times I checked my watch in that film. That's a first for any Henson theatrical release. And I usually like Neil Gaiman.

My wish is that Henson would focus on a Fraggle feature more than these Puppet Up, Fable, Tinseltown, SUDS side projects - as entertaining as they can be.

Vaughn Michael said...

Because Hensons CGI has always been low grade rubbish while their puppets are and always will be top notch. That's why.
I live by the rule of do something right or don't do it at all.

Greg said...

These are being released through Genius Products. These will be "traditional" computer animation (not digital performance capture) and is being produced by Henson in association with Flame Ventures and Prana Studios.

Also, for anyone interested, here is some concept artwork of some of the characters in the upcoming films: 1 | 2 | 3

frogboy4 said...

I agree that the Henson Company doesn't seem to be focussed on their strengths right now. However I don't see these videos emarassing the company any more than those crummy kiddie vids Jim Henson himself produced with Fozzie, Rowlf and the Muppet Show characters. For some reason that project, while sweet-hearted, just kind of stings.

Jim liked to experiment and branch out. We'll see. It won't be Pixar - for certain - but the character design is attractive. I'd still rather see this with puppets in the mix! Maybe the ad tags on the vid will inspire the viewer to check out more classic Henson puppetry.

Nic Kramer said...

Crummy video line? Lok, I know it was not the best Muppet project, but don't consider the series anything but crummy. I mean this had some interesting things like Carol Spinney doing his early pre-Sesame Street character, Jim Lewis' first writting credit, and I thought the Rowlf tape was the best of all since Richard Hunt wrote it. Crummy line my eye! No wonder not many people comment here anymore thanks to Jump the reject members.

Brad said...

I have to agree with frogboy4, those videos are pretty bad productions. I can’t really bring myself to watch them with out wanting to bash my head in with a tire iron. They stink. People put-down decent films like "Kermit's Swamp Years" or "Muppets Wizard of Oz" for being crummy productions but are blinded by nostalgia and can’t see that things like the play-along videos or "Rocky Mountain Holiday" are really really bad productions. Maybe in 10-20 years people will look back at “Oz” and “Swamp Years” with nostalgic eyes and like them too, but I don’t get this undying love of the Play Along videos so many people have…they are a nice piece of history (as nic said) with people such as Spinney and Hunt and Lewis working on them. However they are not videos I like watching. They just to watered-down and “kiddie” for me – it’s like watching Barney or the Tellytubbies – and that’s not the way I like to see the Muppet Show family of characters.

frogboy4 said...

>>that’s not the way I like to see the Muppet Show family of characters.<<

Exactly. It's kind of like that Sesame Beginnings stuff. Just - why? Why is it needed? The current characters doing that job do it nicely.

>>reject members<<

That's not a very Muppety, Jim Henson sort of attitude. May you watch a classic Muppet project and may it put you in a better mood. ;)

jenn said...

just got the first installment, love it. my 7 month old son loves it. can't wait for the rest!

Anonymous said...

Our children (ages 3, 2, and 7 months) love the film. We cannot wait for the future releases.

Anonymous said...

this is the only movie my 9 month son will sit and watch great job