Picks and Pans Review: Jack and the Beanstalk
CBS (Sun. and Tues., Dec. 2 and 4, 9 p.m. ET)
"I'm ashamed to say that we've been telling the story wrong for many years," says the hero in this revisionist fairy tale produced by Jim Henson Television. After four long, confusing hours, his guilt is expiated and our patience is exhausted.
American mogul Jack Robinson (Matthew Modine) is a direct descendant of the English Jack who long ago grabbed the gold, cut down the beanstalk and killed the giant. Ondine (Mia Sara), a visitor from the giant's now desolate realm, helps Jack understand that his forebear was a villain whose misdeeds brought a curse on the Robinson family. So Jack climbs a new beanstalk to Ondine's world and attempts to make amends.
The two-parter takes all this much too seriously. Richard Attenborough, Vanessa Redgrave and Daryl Hannah are among the supporting players, but the only one who appears to be having fun is Jon Voight, in the role of Jack's scheming, German-accented adviser. The most personable character is the gabby goose that lays the golden eggs.
Bottom Line: Fee-fi-ho-hum