Thumbelina (1994)

Thumbelina Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………………….

Thumbelina Movie Review

Thumbelina is a 1994 animated musical film directed by Don Bluth. It is one of the most unoriginal films of the director.

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Don’t worry, you’ll get over me

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Thumbelina Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………………….

Yes, Thumbelina’s major problem is its derivative nature. Everything in it feels borrowed and reused. It is a fairy tale and I love fairy tales which is why I overall liked this film to some degree as it really is a passable diversion, certainly not as bad as critics make it out to be. But it still isn’t particularly good either mainly because it is so frustratingly unoriginal.

I liked the beginning quite a bit, but again everything about it including the animal narrator and the book opening is borrowed from Disney. I know that Disney is most famous for adapting fairy tales to the big screen and it’s hard not to be influenced by them as they really set the standard for decades to come, but this is still far from being influenced as it crosses the line of stealing at times. What am I talking about? Well, just look at the sequence where Thumbelina and the fairy prince first meet. That is basically¬† the scene from ‘Sleeping Beauty‘, stolen almost entirely in its concept and execution with the interruption of the song and dialogue almost being identical. The final kiss is reminiscent to ‘The Little Mermaid’ and that flying sequence is oddly similar to the one in Aladdin. Yes, the stealing is that bad here.

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Thumbelina Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………………….

But it is still an entertaining and somewhat satisfying movie in other areas, mostly its animation. I just loved Thumbelina’s animation. As expected, Don Bluth’s movies never have bad animation and this one continues that trend. The animation is so fluid, so colorful and pleasant that I just loved watching the natural landscapes in particular. And the character design is quite solid. The humans and fairies look typical, but at least the animals are different with the frogs being the most interesting of the bunch.

Let’s talk about those characters. I loved that Jodi Benson voiced Thumbelina, but unfortunately she is never as good here as she was in the role of Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid‘. In fact, she was quite annoying at times thanks to the filmmakers’ frustrating decision to have her talk in such an annoying, loud and ridiculous way. And her character isn’t weak, but isn’t particularly strong either. Prince Cornelius was insufferable somehow, at least to me. His voice and his mannerisms were so annoying. But I liked Grundel as well as Beetle and their interactions were amusing. Every animal character is somewhat different and interesting here and they certainly are much more memorable than the main fairy characters.

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Thumbelina Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………………….

Thumbelina is a musical and one of those that have countless songs, coming in at about every five minutes or so. And that was annoying as the songs weren’t that good. I wouldn’t call them bad as some were pretty catchy or at least fun, but they definitely felt uninspired and again derivative of Disney works, but with much weaker and much more simplistic lyrics. Thumbelina is one of the catchier ones, Soon is very uninspired and forgettable and Let Me Be Your Wings is such a mediocre rendition of A Whole New World, very badly written and annoying. But at least the movie has one good song and that is Follow Your Heart which is really good. It is well sung, well composed and it is not only catchy, but also fun and a perfect opening for the movie. Not to mention that it has a nice French feel to it and that it’s sung by Jacquimo who is easily one of the most likable characters in the film.

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Thumbelina Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………………….

Thumbelina is well animated and solidly voiced and it’s also solidly paced as it is never boring and always pretty engaging. It is a fun little film that even has its charm at times, although slight. The romance at the center is so weak and dull, but the movie is much more memorable when dealing with animal characters and even hilariously weird at times, especially with those crazy frogs. It doesn’t succeed as a musical as most of the songs are bland, but it’s solid as a fantasy because it is magical at times. But because it’s so borrowed, it is definitely one of Don Bluth‘s weaker outings.

Thumbelina is a fun, passable diversion with some okay songs, an expectedly superb animation and some memorable characters, but it is mostly too uninspired with too many mediocre songs, a weak and dull romance at the center of it and the movie is just so frustratingly derivative of Disney works as some scenes are literally stolen from their movies.

My Rating – 3

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Posted in 1990s, 1994, Animated, Comedy, Fantasy, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , .

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