For those who missed it on TV and given its ratings, that means most people in America Amazing Stories was Steven Spielberg's attempted Twilight Zone for the '80s, a slick sci-fi and fantasy anthology series featuring the best talent that Spielberg's post-E.T. clout could attract. Given the pedigrees of the directors connected with it (including Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and Joe Dante), it's something of a puzzle that the show never caught on and rarely worked very well.
The two episodes here The Mission, directed by Spielberg (from his own story), and The Wedding Ring, directed by Danny DeVito (from another Spielberg story) are not without their pleasures. In the former, those pleasures are mostly derived from an ace cast, including the pre-stardom Kevin Costner and Kiefer Sutherland. A quasi-inspirational World War II fantasy that looks and feels like the work of people whose ideas about war derive strictly from bad old movies, it's ultimately sunk by a (literally) cartoonish ending, but the actors are never less than fascinating. So is DeVito's segment, albeit with the benefit of hindsight. Basically, it's a harmless bit of supernatural whimsy (dead murderess' ring turns mousy wife Rhea Perlman into a seductive tigress). But DeVito stages it with the same gleeful cynicism he would display in the more substantial The War of the Roses a few years later. You can sense the birth of a genuine comic auteur here. Amazing Stories: Book One is a fitfully interesting rental, if nothing amazing.