Just in time for Earth Day 2010, Lionsgate is releasing some environmentally-conscious blasts from the past in Jim Henson’s The Song of the Cloud Forest and Other Earth Stories. The DVD features four unique programs produced by the Jim Henson Company all centered on the interconnected nature of animals and the environment from the late 1980s and mid-1990s.
“The Song of the Cloud Forest” originally aired in 1989 as part of The Jim Henson Hour on NBC and focuses on Milton, a golden toad in the rain forest, who can’t find a date. Using a variety of very colorful Muppets and backgrounds, Milton discovers from two humans (called “uprights” by the animals) that he’s an endangered species and worries that he’ll never find his mate. When he and his friends discover that the uprights have a female golden toad in a cage they’re using to lure Milton out, he has to figure out what to do… Will he try to free her or will he run away to avoid capture himself?
The whole premise of this segment is that we (humans) don’t understand that everything is interconnected and the animals must somehow express this sentiment to save the rain forest. Though the uprights in this instance see the light in the end, I’m not convinced that the rest of the world understands this simple idea even after 20 years. We can only hope that the growing awareness of concerned people around the world will eventually find ways to get the message across that we must stop destroying our planet or we will be killing more than a few trees or frogs – we’ll be committing species suicide.
The only negative comment I have about “The Song of the Rain Forest” is that it looks like someone designed it while on an acid trip. The colors are far too bright in just about every scene, which distracts the viewer from the message and enjoying the story and songs. But if you wear sunglasses during those “too bright” bits, you’ll probably be just fine.
Next on the DVD are two episodes of Jim Henson’s Animal Show with Stinky and Jake – “Owl & Frog” and “Kangaroo & Frog”. “Owl & Frog” originally aired in 1996 on Animal Planet during season 3 of the series and “Kangaroo & Frog” aired on Fox Kids in 1994. The Animal Show is set up in a talk-show format with Stinky the skunk and Jake the polar bear interviewing different animals and sharing fun facts.
And lastly is an episode of Fraggle Rock – “River of Life”, from season five of the show that aired on HBO the mid-1980s. Something has gone terribly wrong with the Fraggle’s water supply and contaminated it, making the Fraggles who drank it very sick and killing the vegetable garden of the Gorgs. What they don’t know is that Doc, a human inventor living outside the Fraggle’s cave with his dog Sprocket, is making a deal to test a waste disposal technique in the caves. The waste is polluting the water and once Doc figures that out, he pulls the plug on the experiment and flushes the system with fresh spring water, which makes everything better.
All in all, this is a fun collection of Jim Henson classics that directly relate to the world we live in. Even now, these shows are relevant and provide a good message to the youth of today. So if you’re looking for some environmentally-related, but fun programs for your kids, be sure to check out Jim Henson’s The Song of the Cloud Forest and Other Earth Stories on DVD today!
For more information about this and other Jim Henson productions, check out their website at Henson.com.
This message originally appeared here at BlogCritics.org.
p.s. Pick up this and other great Jim Henson DVDs at Barnes & Noble below!