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Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby

1 rating: 3.0
A 2008 animated feature film from Jim Henson Productions and the Weinstein Company
1 review about Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby

A Fable More Mediocre than Unstable

  • Oct 16, 2010

You really have to hand it to the Jim Henson Company for showing incredible adaptability throughout the years.  From legendary beginnings in the realm of puppets, it seems only natural for the company to be making use of the current red-hot trend of computer generated animated feature films.  While the big boys like Disney/ Pixar and DreamWorks have proven just how incredible this medium can actually be.  The Henson Group (wisely) isn’t attempting to go toe-to-toe with these juggernauts, but rather entertain audiences of all ages with a direct-to-DVD series they call the Unstable Fables- which essentially spoof classic fairy tales with contemporary references.

Yes this is the formula we’ve witnessed countless times in the past (Shrek, Hoodwinked, Happily Never After) but the Unstable Fables really capitalizes on the concept by combining just enough of the original fairy tale to retain the names and locations with a whole lot of pop culture.

Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby was the first animated film in the trilogy and reached the DVD market March 4, 2008.

In this new version of "The Three Little Pigs", the three pigs of various housing material fame become the target of a special-ops team of wolves. When huffing and puffing results in all three pigs cowering in the brick home, the wolves are forced to devise a plan to finally infiltrate the impenetrable house of bricks.  What results is the idea to leave a tiny wolf cub on the unassuming pigs' doorstep. The pigs take the baby in and raise him as their own.

The cub grows up among an all-pig society naturally and isn’t made aware of the wolves and their grand scheme until he’s old enough to decide for himself whether he should be loyal to his genetic family or the one that raised him.

Even with the type of low expectations that typically accompany straight-to-DVD releases, this one comes up pretty short. The humor never fully develops to the potential demonstrated and the pacing is just askew enough to make this one feel much longer than its 76-minute runtime.

The Unstable Fables make it a priority to retain enough of the original fairy tale source material to be relevant despite abundant puns, pop culture references, and heavy-handed moral lessons.

Make no mistake, there are a few cute moments and bright visuals will surely hold the interest of the kiddies (for which this film was probably written).  Perhaps my criticisms are overly harsh in taking that fact into consideration but the trouble with this one is that DreamWorks and Pixar have shown us just how well the formula can work.  As such the dry dialog, mediocre animation, and unclear target age group all come off as a bit more glaring than they would otherwise.

Many of the pop culture reference attempts here must certainly have been included to provide a little comic relief for the adults stuck watching this with the younglings, as surely many of the references will be lost on them.

In all, I found this one a slight improvement over the franchise’s take on Goldilocks and the 3-Bears but it is still a full tier below the better entries of the big animated studio houses.  There’s potential here and some genuine creativity sprinkled about but the overall delivery of all of the pieces comes off as an entirely mediocre effort.

A Fable More Mediocre than Unstable A Fable More Mediocre than Unstable A Fable More Mediocre than Unstable

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October 18, 2010
Ok, Jason...you need to review HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (the Blu-ray is gorgeous!)for us now! you are just so deep into the animated kick LOL!
October 19, 2010
William: You got it my man! I'm hoping it gets here tomorrow!! Come on USPS!
October 16, 2010
So it could have been better, oh well man at least it wasn't horrible. Great review.
October 17, 2010
Exactly, FM_A, one would think with the Jim Henson Company's backing, these Unstable Fables would be top tier efforts but of the two I've done so far, they are sadly mediocre. Little kids might like em because they are pretty to look at and easy to follow but Pixar and DreamWorks, they ain't!! Thanks for the feedback.
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