Thumbelina (1994 film)

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This article is about the 1994 Don Bluth film. For the 1992 Golden Films version, see Thumbelina (1992 film). For this film's soundtrack, see Thumbelina (soundtrack).
Thumbelina
DonBluthThumbelina.jpg
Theatrical poster.
Directed by Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
Produced by Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
John Pomeroy
Screenplay by Don Bluth
Based on Thumbelina 
by Hans Christian Andersen
Starring Jodi Benson
Gary Imhoff
Barbara Cook
Carol Channing
Charo
Gino Conforti
Gilbert Gottfried
John Hurt
Joe Lynch
Music by Barry Manilow
Bruce Sussman (lyrics)
Jack Feldman (lyrics)
William Ross (score)
Edited by Fiona Trayler
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
Release dates
  • March 30, 1994 (1994-03-30)
Running time
86 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $28,000,000[1]
Box office $11,373,501

Thumbelina is a 1994 American animated film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman from a screenplay by Bluth based on Hans Christian Andersen's "Thumbelina". The film was produced by Don Bluth Entertainment and was released to movie theaters by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment on March 30, 1994. The film's distribution rights are now owned by 20th Century Fox.

Plot[edit]

A lonely old woman longs for a child, and is given a seed by a good fairy. When planted, the seed grows into a flower, and inside the blossom is a tiny girl the size of the old woman's thumb. The old woman names the girl Thumbelina and raises her as her own.

Although Thumbelina loves her Mother, she craves companionship from someone her own size. One night, Cornelius the fairy prince stumbles upon Thumbelina after hearing her beautiful singing. The two take a ride on Cornelius' bumblebee, and fall in love; during this ride Mrs. Toad and her son Grundel are enchanted by Thumbelina's singing. Cornelius promises to return the next day, but after he's gone, Mrs. Toad kidnaps Thumbelina from her bed and takes her away.

Thumbelina awakens on Mrs. Toad's show boat. Mrs. Toad wants Thumbelina to join their troupe and marry Grundel, who is in love with her. They leave Thumbelina alone on a lily pad in order to fetch a priest, but a friendly swallow, Jacquimo (the narrator of the film), overhears Thumbelina's cries for help and frees her. Jacquimo's friends, the jitterbugs, promise to help Thumbelina get home safely while Jacquimo sets off to find Cornelius. Meanwhile, Cornelius learns of Thumbelina's kidnapping and ventures out to find her.

While trying to get home, Thumbelina is ambushed by Berkeley Beetle, who scares the jitterbugs away. He is enamoured with her singing, and promises to show her the way home if she sings at his Beetle Ball first. Thumbelina agrees, but when she's received poorly at the Beetle Ball, Beetle kicks her out without helping her.

Winter is approaching. Jacquimo accidentally impales his wing on a thorn and is knocked out by the cold, while Cornelius falls into a lake and is frozen in ice. Grundel, who is still searching for Thumbelina, finds Beetle and forces him to help find Thumbelina.

Thumbelina is taken in by Miss Fieldmouse, who tells her that Cornelius has died. The two visit Miss Fieldmouse's neighbor, Mr. Mole who tells them about a dead bird he found in his tunnel earlier that day. It turns out to be Jacquimo, who Thumbelina discovers to be only unconscious. Mr. Mole wishes to marry Thumbelina; heartbroken over Cornelius's death, Thumbelina accepts. Jacquimo awakens under Thumbelina's care and leaves to find Cornelius, refusing to believe that he is dead. Meanwhile, Beetle brings Cornelius's frozen body to Grundel and informs him that Thumbelina is going to marry the Mole. After the two leave to stop the wedding, the young jitterbugs thaw Cornelius's body out.

At the wedding, Thumbelina realizes at the last moment that she can't marry someone she does not love and refuses to take the vows. Grundel and Beetle crash the wedding, but Thumbelina flees from them and Mr. Mole. Once outside and free, Thumbelina is reunited with Jacquimo, who takes her to Cornelius' kingdom, the Vale of the Fairies. Cornelius appears, the pair are reunited, and Thumbelina accepts his proposal of marriage. The two kiss, and Thumbelina is granted her own wings.

With Thumbelina's mother and the fairy court in attendance, Thumbelina and Cornelius are wed.

Voice cast[edit]

Music[edit]

Barry Manilow agreed to compose the songs for three Don Bluth pictures. Thumbelina was the first, followed by The Pebble and the Penguin, and the third was canceled. The film's soundtrack was released for a limited time and has since gone out of print. "Marry the Mole" won a Razzie for Worst Original Song.

  • "Follow Your Heart" (Intro) - Jacquimo
  • "Thumbelina" - Thumbelina, Farm Animals
  • "Soon" - Thumbelina
  • "Let Me Be Your Wings" - Cornelius, Thumbelina
  • "On the Road" - Mrs. Toad, Thumbelina, Singers de Espana (Los Sapos Guapos)
  • "Follow Your Heart" - Jacquimo, Jitterbugs, Birds
  • "Yer Beautiful, Baby"- Berkeley Beetle, Beetle Chorus
  • "Soon (Reprise)" - Thumbelina's Mother
  • "Let Me Be Your Wings (Sun Reprise)" - Thumbelina
  • "Marry the Mole" - Ms. Fieldmouse
  • "Let Me Be Your Wings (Wedding Reprise)" - Cornelius
  • "Let Me Be Your Wings" (Reprise) - Thumbelina, Cornelius, Jacquimo
  • "Let Me Be Your Wings" - Barry Manilow & Debra Byrd

Production and release[edit]

Thumbelina was in production from February 1991 to May 1993. The film was completed with funds from filmmaker John Boorman and Hong Kong-based Media Assets after Don Bluth Entertainment filed for bankruptcy.[2]

It was originally scheduled to be distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the United States and J&M Entertainment overseas, and was also originally slated for a Thanksgiving 1993 release. By the time it was completed, both companies dropped the arrangement due to concerns about the bankruptcy of Bluth's studio. Warner Bros. subsequently bought the distribution rights in March 1993, and Thumbelina was released the following year.[3] When released, it was preceded by the Animaniacs short, I'm Mad.

Since December 2001, the film's rights ownership, along with A Troll in Central Park and the non-US rights to The Pebble and the Penguin are currently held by Fox (although since 2006 and until 2016, Fox is handling home video distribution of the MGM library including the The Pebble and the Penguin).

Reception[edit]

Thumbelina received mostly negative reviews from critics, with Roger Ebert giving the film a middling two stars out of four, concluding his review "It is difficult to imagine anyone over the age of 12 finding much to enjoy in Thumbelina."[4] As of 2013, 25% of critics give it positive reviews at review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes (based on eight reviews) with an average rating of 5.2 out of 10.

The film did poorly commercially; it budgeted at $28 million but only made $11,373,501 at the US box office.

It also won a Razzie in the category of "Worst Original Song" for "Marry the Mole", sung by Carol Channing.[5] Thumbelina was the first animated film to be nominated for any Razzie award and, at the time, the only one to get a nomination until The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It remained the only animated film to win a Razzie award until 2015 when Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return won Worst Supporting Actor for Kelsey Grammer.

Despite the box office bomb, this film has developed a cult following. Some fans call it one of Don Bluth's better 90s films.

Home media releases[edit]

Warner Home Video released Thumbelina on VHS and LaserDisc on July 26, 1994 in the United States and Canada, and many other countries per continent between 1994 and 1995. The film was re-released on VHS in the United Kingdom in 1995. Throughout the 1990s until 2001, Warner Home Video continued to sell many VHS and first-time DVD copies of Thumbelina in stores, especially for its catalog promotions on many other video and DVD releases like the Warner Bros. 75th Anniversary Celebration (1998), Century Collection (1999), Century 2000 (2000) and finally Warner Spotlight (2001).

In December 2001, Thumbelina was re-released once again on VHS and DVD; by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. On March 6, 2012, Thumbelina was released for the first time on Blu-ray and was rendered in high-definition.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gary Goldman at donbluth.com
  2. ^ Dawtrey, Merlin's magic may animate DBE.
  3. ^ Ayscough, Bluth's toons drawn to WB
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  5. ^ "1994 RAZZIE Nominees & "Winners"". Razzies.com. The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. 2005-12-04. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 

External links[edit]