From the fantastical mind of Don Bluth, creator of films like The Land Before Time (1988), All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989), and Anastasia (1997), Thumbelina is another wonderful animated musical film about true love and happily ever after. As a childhood favourite of mine, rewatching this movie brought back so many fond memories and the warmth that comes with nostalgia. If you’re a fan of fairy tales, this is a classic that you just can’t miss.
While doing some quick research on Thumbelina, I was surprised to discover that this movie was not very well received. Not only does it only have a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie also won a Razzie (“a parody award show honouring the worst of cinematic under-achievements”) for Worst Original Song.
Look, I’ll openly admit that the plot to Thumbelina isn’t the greatest and it definitely has its fill of flaws. Having greedy and selfish “men” (in the form of bugs, frogs, and moles) chasing and forcing a young girl into marriage doesn’t really make for a great story. But what I’ve always appreciated about this movie isn’t necessarily the Thumbelina’s adventure, it’s the timelessness of its love at first sight fairy tale. There’s just something so innocently sweet about stories with true love and happy endings, and I love that this movie embraces that theme. Yes it’s cliché, but when I watch these kinds of films, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. I want to see that happily ever after at the end.
Backed with stunning hand-drawn visuals that come from the Golden Age of animation, Thumbelina is undoubtedly a gorgeous movie to watch. As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, there’s something about hand-drawn animations, with their softness and personal touch, that really hits the spot. All the movements were so fluid and having such tiny protagonists opened the door to some creative perspectives. As a former employee to Walt Disney Productions, Don Bluth really captured an art style that is somehow both distinct and reminiscent of Disney’s own animations.
My favourite element of this movie though is the music. If you’re thinking that Thumbelina’s singing voice sounds a tad familiar, you’re not wrong. Sung by the amazing Jodi Benson who also voices Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989), Thumbelina has some of my favourite songs from any movie ever. My favourites in particular are “Let Me Be Your Wings” and “Soon” which both sound so magical and fitting for a fairy tale movie. Benson’s voice is truly spectacular and when paired with Gary Imhoff who voices Prince Cornelius, the two create the best duet. Seriously, if there’s anything I want you to take away from this review, it’s to give those two songs a listen – I’ll even link you the YouTube video here 🙂
Although the plot is pretty generic and you know without a doubt that Thumbelina will end up with the fairy prince, the beauty is in the movie ending exactly the way you want it to. The message of following your heart and that true love will always prevail is what I find so charming in these types of films. Although it’s rated quite lowly on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m personally going to give Thumbelina a 7/10. It’s certainly not a perfect film and while there are better executed princess stories out there, I can’t deny that the animations and music are top notch. You can find Thumbelina streaming on Disney+ so go ahead and give it a go!
You enjoyed this film more than I did, lol. But I also haven’t seen it in many years, so maybe I’m due for a rewatch.
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