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Faerie Tale Theatre: Magical Tales - family and children's DVD / fantasy DVD / television DVD review
Not rated by the MPAA curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Actors: Shelley Duvall, James Earl Jones, Leonard Nimoy, Susan Sarandon, Vanessa Redgrave
Creator: Shelley Duvall   Distributor: E1 Entertainment
DVD release: 20 October 2009   Runtime: 201 min. (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.33:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital Stereo), "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp," "Beauty and the Beast," "Puss-In-Boots," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre was an astoundingly popular series during its run in the '80s. Classic literary tales passed down through generations, were into mesmerizing theatrical episodes, combining the artistic aspects of theatre with the magic of modern-day cinema. Through its phenomenal storytelling and theatre magic, children can experience imagination, theatre art, and classic literature.

E1 Entertainment is rereleasing these episodes on DVD more than twenty years after their original debut. Faerie Tale Theatre: Magical Tales collects four episodes: "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp" (Robert Carradine, James Earl Jones and Leonard Nimoy); "Beauty and the Beast" (Susan Sarandon, Angelica Huston and Klaus Kinski), "Puss-in-Boots" (Ben Vereen, Brock Peters and Gregory Hines), and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (Vanessa Redgrave, Elizabeth McGovern and Rex Smith).

Unlike the commercialized versions of these four stories, Faerie Tale Theatre weaves these classics in different styles and versions. The diversity in storylines and settings unfolds unexpected magic. Theatre is already thrilling; for children inexperienced with such productions, delving into the unique artistic approach to presentation, simplicity in setting, demand in acting skills, projection of imagination, and overall magical quality of awe is fantastic.

"Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp" two well-known actors and provides a creative alternative to Disney's animated hit. "Beauty and the Beast" brings a more vivid perspective to the beastly half of this duo and the verity of the love contract that frees him from his animal form. "Puss-in-Boots" tangles with a mighty foe to win a daunting prize for his friend. He must call upon the skills and talents within him to face - and triumph over - the challenge before him. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" finds a great many valiant men battling for more than a woman's honor - it's her life they're trying to save! Love may not be enough to overcome the evil queen and her poisons.

While rich in fantasy, the Faerie Tale Theatre productions work best children old enough to attend school. The style of theatre dialogue and settings may make following the narrative more difficult for viewers any younger. The masterful storytelling and enticing mix of theatre arts and movie magic in Duvall's tales make for an enjoyable family night.

Faerie Tale Theatre is represented online at www.faerietaledvd.com.
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reviewed by Sonia R. Polinsky
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