Faerie Tale Theatre: “Rip Van Winkle” (1987)

Despite direction by Francis Ford Coppola, this adaptation of the Washington Irving tale never seems to come alive. The sets are imaginative and well-used, if a little on the economic side, and they manage to brand the episode with a certain visual flair, but overall the story itself is minor and there’s very little happening from beginning to end. Harry Dean Stanton plays the title role, and while he’s a terrific character actor he’s definitely not leading man material, which is reinforced here as he seems unwilling to abandon himself to the silliness of the material. Faerie Tale Theatre is always at its best when adapting richer, layered fairy tales like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Snow White,” and this episode serves as an unfortunate reminder of the show’s occasional troubles with shorter narratives.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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