As said many times, have always had a lifelong love of animation, old and new. Disney, Studio Ghibli, Hanna Barbera, Tom and Jerry, Hanna Barbera, Looney Tunes and also the works of Tex Avery and Fleischer. With a broader knowledge of animation styles, directors, studios and how it was all done actually love it even more now.
It's not just animation held in very high regard by me. Have also had an undying lifelong love of Hans Christian Andersen's classic stories, they're beautifully written and full of magic, emotion and memorable characters. His timeless appeal is more than justified and there is a reason why his name is so commonly associated with fairy tales, along with the darker stories of the Grimm Brothers. Would see any adaptation of his work, animation or live-action, and there have been numerous times where his work has lent well to animation.
To me this Danish animated series 'The Fairytaler' is one of the best examples and should be more widely known. For good animation, characters that have lost none of what made them so great in the first place and wonderful storytelling that has its own spin yet treats the stories with respect. This is obvious once again in 'The Tinderbox'.
For me, 'The Tinderbox' is a great episode, if not quite one of my favourites of the series like 'The Little Mermaid, 'The Ugly Ducking' and 'The Snow Queen'. It is such a great story, one of Andersen's most famous for very good reason, and this episode adapts it like it knows it.
In terms of animation, 'The Tinderbox' is simple but doesn't go overboard with this. It is still beautifully coloured and meticulously detailed with characters that are remarkably life-like and a lot of smoothness and crispness, for me it's one of the best-looking episodes. The music is whimsical at times, haunting in others and poignant in others. The intro is magical and impossible to forget and loved how Andersen himself is briefly written in.
Here, 'The Tinderbox' is told with elegant style, emotion and entertaining wit, the energy never wavering while never being rushed. The dialogue is never too complicated and not too simple. Yet the spirit and essence of 'The Tinderbox' are captured well, with no effort to dumb down or make it too saccharine. The storytelling charms, entertains and moves and nothing is juvenile or complicated.
'The Tinderbox' is beautifully paced and absorbing with not too much padding, complete with a lot of elements that traditionalists will happily recognise. Nothing will traumatise younger viewers (even with the gallows and the witch's demise) and adults should feel nostalgic, traditionalists will find a lot to admire still and making it accessible to present day viewers is handled with intelligence and no awkwardness at all.
Characters are all round endearing, without being too cutesy, the soldier is likeable, the witch on the right side of creepy, with a slightly more expanded role that makes her more evil, and the dogs (the dog guarding the gold making the most impression) serve their vital purpose in the story very well. The voice acting is dynamic and well suited for the characters. Any narration never falls into the trap of telling/explaining too much, actually only really introducing the story.
In summary, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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