My Thoughts: THUMBELINA (1994)

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Let me just get it out there: I’m not a fan of Don Bluth and his films! None of his films ever captivated me like how a Disney film would and I consider some of his films to be quite bores. With that in mind, you can already get an idea of how I found his film, “Thumbelina” to be. Well, let’s dive in!

What’s the story? Based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, the film is about a girl who grows from a plant and is about the size of one’s thumb. She dreams of meeting other people her size, falls in love with a fairy prince in 5 minutes, gets kidnapped, and tries to find her way back home (well, not really). On this journey she meets many characters including an “An American Tail” French bird rip-off with an extremely annoying song, a Spanish frog singing group, a pointless beetle voiced by Gilbert Gottfried, Carol Channing as a mouse (need I say more), and a blind marriage-minded mole. Oh boy, where to begin? Let’s look at the characters one at a time.

First, we have Thumbelina voiced by Jodi Benson. I honestly hate this character! She’s so inconsistent in her desires and wants and her ways of dealing with the various positions she’s put in. In another scene, after she’s rescued, she decides to go home; but changes her mind after thinking,  “Where could her mom possibly be?”! Where else would her mom be besides at home?! There was no indication given to Thumbelina that her mom had vacated the premises or anything like that, so the most logical thing for her to do would be to go home. Maybe she could hop onto the back of Jacquimo, the singing French swallow, and together they could fly back to her house?

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But, no!!! Jacquimo instead persuades her to go find “The Vale of the Fairies” instead! Does he offer his help and assistance? Well, yes he offers to go find the place as well. But, he then leaves her to go find the place by “following her heart”! Why doesn’t he take her on his back and then they both can fly together looking for this place and find it much quicker and more efficiently?! Arrgh! Enough of those two!

The fairy prince and the fairies themselves are quite bland and forgettable!

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Gilbert Gottfried’s beetle is honestly quite pointless! The movie could have gone on definitely without him! I’ve not read the original story, so I’m not sure whether the beetle is part of the story of just made up by Don Bluth. But, his character can be easily written out and his character design doesn’t match Gilbert Gottfried’s voice at all!

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Now we have those two minor “antagonistic” roles voiced by Charo and Carol Channing! What else can I say?

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So do I hate everybody in this movie? Well no! The one character that I quite like is the Mole! Voiced by John Hurt, the Mole is a character seeking companionship in a wife and prefers darkness over light! I honestly don’t see him as antagonistic at all, but that’s just me!

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What about the songs? With Barry Manilow as the composer, I admit that they can be catchy. But they’re so bland! The “Follow Your Heart” song gets soooo annoying especially after Jacquimo keeps singing it! I’m not a fan of any of the songs that Jodi Benson sings in this movie! The beetle song was pointless! The “Marry the Mole” song deservedly won the Razzie for “Worst Original Song”. The only song I admit to liking is the “On the Road” song sung by Charo and the Spanish frogs! That is my guilty pleasure!

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And the animation? One thing I have to give credit to Don Bluth for is that he and his team are AMAZING animators! But we all have to agree that this film showcases some lesser quality work than normal! But, otherwise I really have no problems with it!

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Now, time for the ranking! This time I compared it with other animated films involving fairies:

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19 thoughts on “My Thoughts: THUMBELINA (1994)”

    1. Thank you very much! I didn’t grow up on this film. I actually just watched it for the first (and most likely, only) time; so I have no nostalgic feelings about it.

      But in the end, this is just my opinion and musings on a blog, lol! Thanks for following me and feel free to comment whenever!

    1. Thank you for enjoying it! I’m trying to watch a new (by new, I mean one that I’ve never seen before) animated film each week and give my take on it. So that way I have something else to work on besides my Disney Canon: Forgotten/Minor Characters Project!

  1. I think that Cornelius is a play boy, he tries to kiss her after they just met, sings a love song, wants her to meet his parents, and then he says he will be back tomorrow to marry her, they should have spent more time developing their relation ship rather than add all the people who either kidnap her, try to marry her, or get her to do something for them. Also Thumbelina is too naive and doesn’t know what she wants. How old is Thumbelina any way because she looks like she is the same age when she was born, does she never age or did she only spend a little time living with her mother?

  2. I loved this film…I still do. It may have some plot holes, but as a child, that really doesn’t matter. It instils great values such as ‘follow your heart’, ‘never wish to be anything other that what you are’, and ‘love is the most important thing’. Love it.

  3. I pretty much agree with you. This is a really bad movie. While the story is contrived and riddled with plot holes. And the characters are either bland, useless or annoying. There are other problems with this movie that I’m suprised you didn’t even mention. For starters this movie blatantly rips off the Disney Renaissance movies. Not only do they get Ariel’s voice actor Jodi Benson to voice Thumbelina, but the ending cuts to stained glass like in Beauty and the Beast. Even the song Let Me Be Your Wings is a blatant rip-off of A Whole New World. While the animation is nice, it is kind of a downgrade compared to some of Don Bluth’s other films. Also the CGI in this film has aged horribly. This is definetly one on Don Bluth’s worst films.

      1. The thing is, Don Bluth early films were like Disney films, but they had something extra that made them stand out. With Thumbelina on the other hand it emulated Disney films so much that it felt desperate to cash in on the success that Disney was having with their films in the 90s.

        Also, I’ve been watching all of Don Bluth’s films for the first time in chronological order. Which is I’m posting my thoughts on your reviews on Don Bluth’s films and I am absolutely dreading tomorrow. Since I’ll be watching A Troll in Central Park and I’ve heard a lot of bad things about that film.

  4. I agree this film is terrible. It rips off all other Disney films before this and anyone who can’t see this is blind as a bat. Thumbelina is a mix between Ariel (which is blantly obvious considering she’s voiced by Jodi Benson and has the striking appearance of Ariel as well) Alice, Wendy and Aurora. Cornelius rips off Peter Pan, Eric and Philip. Jaquimo is a French Scuttle. The songs are insulting compared to Disney films, as well as the animation, it has a lot of hidden innuendos and sexual counterparts, also it really strayed away from it’s original source material as well. I only like one song in Thumbelina and that’s “Soon” It strongly reminds me of Snow White’s “Someday My Prince Will Come” except that Thumbelina is not 100% sure that there are other people like her but she hopes for it. I like Don Bluth’s early films like The Secret of Nimh, Land Before Time, American Tail and funny enough, I even liked All Dogs Go to Heaven. Thumbelina was just a contrived mess. I know there are far worse animated films out there, but this is still a film not worth re-watching several times. It’s not a classic and it never will be. Even Disney’s worst films which are The Black Cauldron and Oliver and Co never sunk this low and I despise those two films with a burning passion because they were the last standing point for Disney. Oliver and Co should be wiped out of existence purely for that. I’m shocked it even got an anniversary edition. A film that nearly put Disney in financial trouble gets given an anniversary edition?? WHY?!! Thank God for The Little Mermaid!

  5. I actually grew up watching this, and although I may have potentially viewed at as a favorite non-Disney animated feature, I’ve come to view this in exactly the same way as you do.

    One thing about Jacquimo: I agree with your allusions to Scuttle in terms of his clumsiness and dim wit, though I should also add that his voice (provided by Gino Conforti) sounds a little too similar to Francisco Flamingo (a character from the GEOKIDS video series from National Geographic) for my liking.

  6. This movie became scary to me when I learned what happens on ones wedding night. If she had married the Toad, Beetle, or Mole she would have had to sleep with one of them….a truly terrifying situation.

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