"Personally, I think this is one of the best versions of Jack and the Beanstalk. While it strays from the "true" version of the fairy tale, the additions are bizarrely funny and don't detract from the story. In fact, they add a new fun element to it.
Jack's got a dog, and the magician who sells the beans is really weird. Up the beanstalk is probably the craziest part, and where the story strays the most. The giant is a huge ugly ogre, and instead of a nice wife who gets jack out of trouble, he has an insanely wicked witch for a mother. She has enchanted the entire "kingdom in the clouds" so that the beautiful (but anime looking) princess will marry her son (who's name is Tulip of all things), and turned the entire court into animals that cannot talk. They are the ones who help Jack defeat the giant.
This is beautifully animated, and has some great music along with it. I doubt you will be disapointed in this hard to find version. And trust me, once you've seen it, you'll never forget it! The only reason I gave it four, instead of five stars is because I realize it won't float everyone's boat. But, I think many kids would really love it. My little brother and I sure did when I was growing up."
A feature-length anime classic from the '70s!
Christopher Bubb | Saline, MI United States | 02/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, I did say "anime," because it is anime, although it dates from a time when Japanese animation wasn't "cool" in America yet. This film was originally released in Japan in 1974 under the title "Jack to Mame no Ki." (It was directed by renowned anime director Gisaburo Sugii, whose later work would include "The Tale of Genji," the "Street Fighter" anime movies, "Night on the Galactic Railroad," and the TV series "Touch.") The movie was dubbed into English and given a very limited release in the U.S., and unfortunately sank without a trace aside from being aired on HBO a few times over the years (which is how I was introduced to this film). I can remember waking up early in the morning just to watch this on HBO when I knew it would be on. The animation is quite good considering the film is now over thirty years old. The voices in the dubbed version are also very well done. I can also remember admiring Jack for what he did at the end of the movie... I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it. I think what made the movie most memorable for me, however, was the songs - they're catchy and well-sung, and I still remember bits and pieces of them after all these years, especially Princess Margaret's "No One is Happier Than I," which has all the makings of a pop standard (for some reason, it brings to mind the Carpenters' "Top Of The World"), and the song Jack sings to his mother when he brings all the treasures from the kingdom in the sky back home and promises her they'll be rich forevermore. It has been years since I've seen this film, but I would love to see it again, and I would advise you to pick it up if you're interested in an anime musical that can easily hold its own against the Disney catalogue. "Pokemon," "Yu-Gi-Oh" or "Evangelion" this is not, just pure and very well-done family entertainment that even anime-haters could enjoy. You won't regret it."
I loved this as a child!
D. J. Reed | Louisiana | 11/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The songs from this movie had been haunting me recently and so I did a random search for it by "movies watched in the 80's" because that's when I first saw this. I was so shocked when I got a hit on it! I didn't know that there were other people that had an attraction to this quirky, creepy movie like I did. I bought the VHS version and it shows just as good as anything else. Sorry to say, I tried get some of my younger neices to watch it...They just didn't get it, they thought I was crazy and obviously an "old timer". Well anyway, this was definetly worth my money for a walk down memory lane! "
Incredible film! Very memorable.
R.P. | 10/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like a lot of the reviewers here, I saw this film as a kid in a limited-release movie theater. I was familiar with the old fairy tale, and entranced with this slightly altered version. I recently acquired the DVD to watch with my grandson, and am even more impressed with it now than I was when I was a kid. The animation is cruder than I remembered. (I guess my memory enhanced the art over the years) But I was highly impressed with the story elements and, above all, the musical score. The songs leading up to the growing of the beanstalk are mediocre at best, but once Jack climbs the stalk, the songs take over, too. Someone else besides me noticed the uncanny resemblance between "No One Is Happier Than I" and The Carpenter's "Top Of The World". Crosby's paean to the full moon, and the creepy, sinister wedding song (Are You Happy-ee-ee-ee?, etc.) are marvelous. What is most impressive is the incongruous musical score. This film based on a fairy tale uses Rock-and-roll, jazz riffs, and the blues equally well. It takes guts to use music that is "out-of-genre", for lack of a better term; but when done right, with "Ladyhawk"'s rock score, and "The Sting"'s ragtime soundtrack for example, it can be astonishing. My sister, who obtained a DVD copy for her daughters, compared notes with me and agreed that the musical soundtrack, songs and all, is a pastiche of '70's-era rock operas. And all for an animated film based on an old fairy story."
My Childhood Cartoon
R.P. | 01/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"if there is one cartoon that will not get out of your head it is this one! last time I watched it was 15 years ago, and the music, the witch and Crosby the dog follow me wherever i go. this tape is a catch, and very difficult to get. It is beautifully done, and the storyboard is very funny. My kids wont grow up without this Chef-d'Oeuvre."