We All Have Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk Eric Metaxas has written a garrulously funny adaptation of the old story about Jack, his poor mother, their dry cow, the magic beans, and the… We All Have Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk Eric Metaxas has written a garrulously funny adaptation of the old story about Jack, his poor mother, their dry cow, the magic beans, and the… Cartoons/Animation Kids and Family Showtime Networks Inc.
TV Review

We All Have Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk (1991)

EW's GRADE
A

Details Genres: Cartoons/Animation, Kids and Family; Network: Showtime Networks Inc.

Eric Metaxas has written a garrulously funny adaptation of the old story about Jack, his poor mother, their dry cow, the magic beans, and the giant — or the ogre, as the malevolent, strapping fellow is called here.

Jack and the Beanstalk is narrated by Michael Palin (Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda), with illustrations by Edward Sorel. Palin pulls off the neat trick of making it seem as if he's the first person who has ever told this story — and that he's making it up as he goes along.

Jack climbs the beanstalk and finds his way into the home of an ogre who holds captive a goose that lays golden eggs. Well, this ogre is also married. The wife hates her husband, and she tries to help Jack hide from the ogre.

Thus, after this meanie yells the standard warning, ''Fee, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!,'' Palin reverts to the screeching, old-harpy voice he used to employ when dressed in drag during his Monty Python days. ''Nonsense, dearie,'' Palin-as-wife natters, ''unless of course it's the scraps of that English boy you had for yesterday's dinner.''

Jack and the Beanstalk does without animation; instead, the camera pans across Sorel's drawings. Grown-ups familiar with the artist's advertising work or his regular cartoon in The Nation will recognize his marvelously intricate yet rough-edged style.

Decorated with pretty folk music strummed on electric guitar by the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, Jack and the Beanstalk is a video fairy tale that's just about perfect. A

Sign up for EW.com's What to Watch Newsletter!

What to watch on TV. Hear what's on tap for the night ahead and get witty, morning after recaps of top shows (sent weekday mornings).
Originally posted May 31, 1991 Published in issue #68 May 31, 1991 Order article reprints