A Tale Dark and Grimm is an animated TV series directed by Simon Otto, Jamie Whitney, Meredith Layne and stars Raini Rodriguez, Andre Robinson, and Jonathan Banks, alongside other cast members. The series is based on the book by Adam Gidwitz and consists of 10 episodes, each around 30 minutes long.
Netflix describes the series as:
Follow Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story into a winding and wickedly witty tale full of strange — and scary — surprises.
– A Tale Dark and Grimm review does not contain spoilers –
We all know the Hansel and Gretel story, right? We are, at least, familiar with it. There have been several iterations of it, some good, some bad (can never forget 2020’s Gretel and Hansel). However, they have all mostly been very horrific versions. That’s acceptable since Hansel and Gretel isn’t a light-hearted story; honestly, it’s quite a morbid and horrifying tale.
The original story, Hansel and Gretel, was written by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. The German fairytale is in no way a light-hearted frothy thing. It focuses on how the brothers are abandoned in the forest and end up at a cannibalistic witch’s house who intends to fatten them up and then eat them. I mean, that’s what nightmares are made of. The Germans are not kidding around.
A Tale Dark and Grimm is (thankfully) a lighter version of the classic fairytale but still has some seriously dark undertones. For one, the cannibalistic witch angle is still added to the series in one of the episodes, and in the first moment, both the children’s heads are cut off by their parents. Oh, and a creepy man follows them around. Wrapped in a garb of humour that children will enjoy, adults will find the disturbing meanings behind what is being shown on-screen.
Each episode of A Tale Dark and Grimm follows specific stories in the children’s lives, all sewn together by their need to belong somewhere. It’s heartbreaking if you think about it – considering these kids were murdered by their parents and then left to fend for themselves. Either way, it’s still pretty self-aware and the three crows (or ravens?) constantly remind us of the fact that what we are seeing is, in fact, not the norm.
I am, however, thankful that the series uses humour to diffuse the extremely heavy subject matter. Thus, even moments that seem too much are made light of thanks to subtle comedic elements. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough. The crows constantly ask whether it is ok for the kids watching to be exposed to this content, and I caught myself asking the same question quite a few times.
A Tale Dark and Grimm is rife with colourful and fun adventures that obviously also provide lessons to the younger members of the audience. The stories are interesting to watch and there are moments that are truly funny and lively. Others are depressing but still, the lessons at the end are enough to make the little ones understand the dangers of the outside world. But then again, what do you do when your own parents cut your head off?
A Tale Dark and Grimm has great animation and everything looks clean, polished and very nice. It’s not hyper-realistic, but then again, it reminds me of the Barbie movie days which is always a great time to look back on. The voice actors are great too and bring out the desperation and sadness, as well as the happiness of the kids while they are out on their adventures.
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Summing up: A Tale Dark and Grimm
A Tale Dark and Grimm is a fun and somewhat light-hearted twist on the old German fairytale and will entertain the little ones as well as the older audience. It’s funny and has tons of adventure to get the kids hooked for 10 episodes.
A Tale Dark and Grimm is streaming on Netflix.