Thumbelina (1994)

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Thumbelina (1994)
Hans christian andersens thumbelina.jpg
Genre: Musical
Fantasy
Directed By: Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
Produced By: Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
John Pomeroy
Written By: Don Bluth
Based On: Thumbelina
by Hans Christian Andersen
Starring: Jodi Benson
Barbara Cook
Carol Channing
Gilbert Gottfried
Charo
John Hurt
Gino Conforti
Gary Imhoff
Joe Lynch
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Release Date: March 30, 1994
Runtime: 86 Minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $28 million
Box Office: $11.3 million

Thumbelina is a 1994 American animated movie based on the Hans Christian Anderson book of the same name, it was directed by Gary Oldman and Don Bluth, originally distributed by Warner Bros, but later 20th Century Fox got the rights.

Plot

Thumbelina, a thumb-sized girl, yearns for the company of someone her own size. Her life is changed forever after she meets and falls in love with Cornelius, a fairy prince. But along the way, she encounters lovesick toads, beetles and moles whom are attracted to her as well as a romantic French swallow and a bunch of jitterbugs before reuniting with her true love.

Bad Qualities

  1. Annoying voice acting, especially from Gilbert Gottfried, who voices Berkelley Beetle, and even Jodi Benson as the titular character, who was best known for her role as Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid.
  2. There are so many problems with the characters, as most of them are either total dim-wits or utterly pointless:
    • Thumbelina is a very weak, whiny and unlikable female protagonist in this movie, as she is too much of a dumb damsel-in-distress whom is far too weak to stand up for herself and often gets easily demotivated when something goes wrong in her life, and has no personality other than to be with her love interest Prince Cornelius.
    • Speaking of which, Prince Cornelius, is nothing more than a bland "prince charming" archetype love interest.
    • Jacquimo, the bird who helps Thumbelina, is an extremely annoying and unlikable comic relief sidekick, and comes of as pointless for the most part.
    • Most of the film's male antagonists such as Grundel Toad, Berkelley Beetle and Mr. Mole have very flat characterizations as they all come off as nothing more than sleazy, lustful perverts whom are attracted to Thumbelina for only either her attractive looks and her beautiful singing voice and not her personality, and aren't that interesting in the slightest either.
    • Thumbelina's mother is pointless as she's barely in the film; she even gave up on trying to find her daughter Thumbelina once winter comes.
  3. Some screen-testing showed the Disney logo despite being a Warner Bros. film (at the time) and not a Disney film.
  4. While the animation is good, sometimes the animation is reused in some of the scenes, and the CGI transition scenes are poor.
  5. Forgettable songs, especially: Thumbelina, You're Beautiful Baby, in which the beetle's voices are extremely annoying and ear-grating, and Marry The Mole which caused this movie to be the first animated movie to be nominated for Razzies in any category.
  6. Some scenes mention Romeo & Juliet which may be creepy for younger viewers, since the Romeo & Juliet story is basically about two young star-crossed lovers whose strong mutual romantic attraction towards each other ultimately results to their deaths.
  7. The film doesn't follow the book correctly.
    • Thumbelina was born in a tulip in the book in here she was born in a different flower.
    • The Toad has three sons while in the book she had only one.
    • The bumble that the prince has wasn't in the book.
    • The prince didn't meet Thumbelina until at the end in the book.
  8. The movie was released around the same time as other better animated movies like: The Lion King, Batman Mask Of The Phantasm and Street Fighter II The Animated Movie, which is a big reason why this movie bombed at the box office.
  9. Loads of plot-holes, filler and poor pacing.
  10. Mrs. Toad looks more like her voice actress (Charo) than a toad. In addition, her oversized breasts makes her character design inappropriate for a family film.
  11. At times, it feels like a rip-off of various Disney movies (eg. a book opening intro at the beginning).
  12. The scene where the camera is zoomed in Thumbelina's face holds on for too long for no reason looks blurred and ugly.
  13. The story is very confusing and you will never know who the main villain is. For example it may be Mrs. Toad because she kidnapped Thumbelina, or maybe Beetle, or the mole, the movie doesn't give you any proper explanation.
  14. Lame attempts at humor.
  15. The film can't decide if it wants to be the same or different from the books.
  16. Since most of the film is entirely focused on Thumbelina becoming miserable over getting lost far from home and being unable to be with her love interest Prince Cornelius, it can get too dark and depressing for younger children, despite being rated G. Not helping is the fact that Thumbelina's constant whining and crying over her predicaments throughout the film makes things even worse.
  17. Poor dialogue.
  18. The wedding dress Thumbellina wears to marry Mr. Mole near the ending looks very laughable.
  19. The scene where Thumbellina and Prince Cornelius fly with the bumble to show her the world, rips off the scene from Aladdin.
  20. Two particular characters from this film, Mr. Mole and Ms. Fieldmouse, are named after the animals that they resemble to, which is utterly lazy.

Good Qualities

  1. The animation (despite being re-used at times) is a great step up from previous Don Bluth animated movies despite the ugly CGI effects.
  2. The voice acting is good at times, even if it can be annoying.
  3. There are some decent songs like: Soon, Follow Your Heart and Let Me Be Your Wings, the most iconic song in the film.
  4. While annoying, Jacquimo does help Thumbelina at one point.
  5. For the most part, it does follow the book right and stays true to the source material, except for a few modifications (as mentioned in BQ #7)
  6. The ending was very nice.
  7. It's one of those so bad it's good films.

Reception

The movie was both a critical and commercial failure. The film currently holds a 30% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Although it did slightly better than other Don Bluth movies at the time, like Rock-a-Doodle and A Troll In Central Park.

Awards and nominations

The song Marry The Mole won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song making it the first animated film to be nominated for a Razzie in any category as well as the only one at the time until Eight Crazy Nights was released in 2002.

Trivia

  • There is a Thumbelina film from Soviet/Russian animation studio Soyuzmultfilm. It is from 1964, and is way better than this version.
  • Mrs Toad is voiced and based on the famous Spanish singer: Charo.

Videos

The Movie