For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Animated Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Non-Disney/PIXAR) Movies, here’s a review of Thumbelina (1994) by Steven of Past Present Future TV and Film
Thanks again to S.G. Liput of Rhyme and Reason for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Kim of Tranquil Dreams. We will be reviewing our favorite teenage/high school romance movies. Please get me your submissions by 25th June by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Kim!
Let’s see what Steven thought of this movie:
On Second Thought: “Thumbelina”
Animated classics is what we call them. It’s just how it’s always been. No one really questions this and we move on. Perhaps we’re trying to preserve something. Maybe we’ve held onto a belief too long and should now rethink it, even if it’s painful.
The Warner Bros. Pictures film “Thumbelina”, is full of heart and music, but doesn’t excite me with its magic and wonder like it should or did.
This animated film features the voice talents of Jodie Benson (“Sofia the First”, “Secret of the Wings”), Barbara Cook (“The United States Steel Hour”, “The Dina Shore Chevy Show”), Carol Channing (“Family Guy”, “The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars”), Gilbert Gottfried (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas”), Charo (“Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23”, “The Suite Life on Deck”), John Hurt (“Hercules”, “Doctor Who (2005 TV series)”), Gino Conforti (“Angels & Demons”, “General Hospital”), Gary Imhoff (“The M Word”, “Queen of the Lot”), and Joe Lynch (“Glenroe”, “Eat the Peach”).
The film was directed by Don Bluth (“Rock-A-Doodle”, “All Dogs Go to Heaven”) and Gary Goldman (“Rock-A-Doodle”, “All Dogs Go to Heaven”). It was written by Bluth and is based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson.
The film originally opened in theaters on March 30, 1994. It would go on to win the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song, for the song “Marry the Mole”.
Just when you (and I) thought there couldn’t be more Bluth films to talk about, here comes Thumbelina. This one, like “Anastasia” and “Quest for Camelot”, hold a special place in my heart. Not simply because I grew up with this film and could watch it whenever, which I probably rarely did, but because it left an impression. Sometimes even, this impression would make me want to watch it at that moment, or I’d wish I knew the lyrics to the songs featured in the movie. One’s memory is a powerful thing.
As I’ve already hinted, the songs in this film are what stand out the most. They actually make this film so much more exciting and worth it than I previously thought. So many have remained with me, that I often find myself singing to them or getting the singers voice stuck in my head. It’s because of this, that “Follow Your Heart”, “Thumbelina”, “Let Me Be Your Wings”, “Soon (reprise)”, and “Soon” (although this one I don’t know many of the lyrics that well), are the ones like the most and can easily get me feeling something. What makes these songs, unlike the others, even more amazing, plus the film, is that the voice actors did all their own singing. What?! I didn’t think that happened in the ‘90s. To make things even more fascinating, the actress that voiced Thumbelina, also gave life to that Disney princess known as Ariel. You wouldn’t know it from this film. Okay, maybe I’m the only one that wouldn’t, whatever. That’s the power of voice over work! While some of the songs come off as dated, it’s okay. The effect that they can have on you is still very powerful. Before I move on I can’t forget some of the other songs. “On the Road” (didn’t realize it was called that) is just fun. Probably the only time Charo won’t drive you crazy, and as I wrote above, “Marry the Mole”, is a bad song. Listening to it made me want to cry. The lyrics were so weird.
This film, like so many other animated films I’ve now talked about, is very unique. It was fascinating to stare at all the lines and see how they came together to create a given character or location. What’s also fascinating is the animation from the standpoint of age. Released over 20 years ago,, it looks incredible! Of course, it wouldn’t be fair, to some extent, to compare it to today’s animated films. I feel that the only way you can compare it is video quality. Things will at some point begin to look old. You can say the same about old TV shows.
Character. What does one say? Other than Thumbelina, Cornelius and Thumbelina’s mother, you never really spend any lengthy amount of time with the others. I’m okay with this. I like them from a plot progression view, but they don’t do anything beyond that. With Thumbelina, there’s just something about her that’s so lively. I don’t feel I can describe it. It’s because of this that I did find myself able to quickly love it again, well, until I started to check out from it. The ability to really like Thumbelina is what made the “Soon (reprise)” song and scene even more heartbreaking. I feel that it made me even sadder than watching Little Foots mother die. It was that strong.
Other than not really finding much interesting in her journey home, the only thing that truly bugged me was the bizarre timeframe of this entire story. First it’s, what? Fall and then it’s all of a sudden Winter. By the end of the film it’s Spring. In the real world that’s a long time, but they never really gave an indicator as to how long she was really gone. I guess I was always under the impression that it was mere days. I guess it wasn’t.
I won’t deny this film has a story, even if it is a fairly simple one, but it just didn’t get me giddy with excitement. That being said, this film and viewing experience was… something else. The songs and character of Thumbelina allowed me to find some enjoyment, so it wasn’t all a complete waste. I did learn something from this film too. Maybe I don’t really have an inner child after all. This would certainly explain my inability to fully get into this film.