L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars
R0 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (16th July 2018).
The Film

"L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars" (2017)

Anne Shirley (played by Ella Ballentine) is turning thirteen and her quaint life in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia is turning into a series of little complexities. She is looking to her first sleep over with her best friend Diana Barry and classmate (played by Julia Lalonde), is in a constant rivalry with classmate Gilbert (played by Drew Haytaoglu), and she is having many insecure moments throughout. Her guardians, elderly siblings Matthew (played by Martin Sheen) and Marilla (played by Sara Botsford) are in constant disagreement on raising Anne, with Marilla treating her strictly while Matthew looks at a more free spirited look.

Anne is all about helping others and doing good deeds, but it sometimes ends up in a minor mishap. Whether it is forgetting about a pie in the oven, running into the wrong room and scaring an elderly woman half to death, or mucking up ingredients to a cake, fumbles always seem to follow her. But whatever the happening, Anne is always strong enough to face up to apologies and learn from the mistakes not to repeat them again. But with Anne continuing to brush off Gilbert's advances, is there something she is not realizing about him...?

Lucy Maude Montgomery first published "Anne of Green Gables" in 1908, chronicling the young orphan's life from eleven to sixteen years old, with many of the episodes based on autobiographical happenings. Rather than a straightforward narrative, it was a collection of situations, moral tales, adolescent mishaps, and community. The series continued on with a series of books being published over the years that chronicled Anne as she grew older, became an adult, and even becoming a grandmother, but for most readers the image of Anne Shirley is the redhead youth full of imagination in the first book. There have been many films and television series over the century featuring Anne, and in 2016 Breakthrough Entertainment Canada produced the television film "Anne of Green Gables" in 2016, with the story of titular character being adopted by the Cuthbert siblings and adjusting to life in Bolingbroke. "Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars" is the second television film, with director John Kent Harrison returning as well as the principal cast.

With adaptations of "Anne of Green Gables" in the past, television series (especially the Japanese anime series of "Anne of Green Gables") worked best due to the stories being simple vignettes rather than a full story with conflict, climax, and resolution. Anne messes up, Anne cries, Anne apologizes, learns her lesson, and so does everyone else. Rinse, wash, repeat. When adapting to a feature film, Anne's stories have not fared as well due to time and structure. With "The Good Stars" the film is more or less a series of vignettes tethered together. There are certain points that are loosely ongoing - the Alzheimer's symptoms showing with Matthew that is concerning Anne, Gilbert's taunts suddenly turning more towards affection for Anne. For many of the scenes, they don't seem to have a clear rhyme or reason to be strung together and as a feature film it doesn't work like the television series or books have done. While it seems like a mess, it is somehow faithful to the source. Interestingly the initial idea for the production was to have thirteen episodes rather than features.

Not to say "The Good Stars" is bad at all. The performances are fair and the countryside shot in Canada looks gorgeous throughout visually. Plus this is "Anne of Green Gables". Any person with a heart will feel their innocence return to simpler times in their lives and this television film is no different. There are definite laughs, some cringes of embarrassment, and drama as well. The television films are continuing on, with "Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew" first broadcast from July 2017 with the principal cast and crew returning. This new "Anne of Green Gables" television film series plays well for a look back at innocence, but ones looking for standard standalone narrative stories of Anne and her little misadventures might be looking in the wrong place. It's all about various random happenings and here they are.

Note this is a region 0 NTSC DVD


Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement in the NTSC format. Considering it is a new production there is little to fault with the transfer, with the HD shot image looking crisp with bright colors. The overall production does have a fairly flat look so there should not be much expected with innovative visuals, but the rural Canadian vistas look great here.

The film's runtime is 88:00.


English Dolby Digital 5.1
The 5.1 track is not a very powerful one as it is a dialogue heavy production with mostly coming from the center speaker. The left and right channels are there for music and effects while the surrounds handle the ambiance, though do not expect much of a workout for the speakers for this production for the most part. There are no issues with the audio track in terms of dropouts or errors with dialogue sounding clean and clear throughout.

There are no subtitles offered.


There are no extras offered. The film plays once the disc is inserted and the disc stops once the film ends.


The package states the disc is "region 4 only" though it is in fact a region 0 disc, playable anywhere.


"Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars" is a trip to the innocent times of adolescence in the late 1800s through the eyes of the young dreamer the world knows over. While it has it's good moments, bridging a series of unrelated vignettes into a feature film does have its flaws in structure and pacing.

The Film: C+ Video: A- Audio: B+ Extras: F- Overall: C+


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