Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

(vt Don Bluth's Thumbelina) Irish/US Animated Movie (1994). Warner Bros/Don Bluth Ltd/Don Bluth Ireland Ltd. Pr Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy. Dir Bluth, Goldman. Screenplay Bluth. Based on "Thumbelina" (1836) by Hans Christian Andersen. Voice actors Jodi Benson (Thumbelina), Charo (Ma Toad), Carol Channing (Miss Fieldmouse), Gino Conforti (Jacquimo), Barbara Cook (Mother), June Foray (Queen Tabitha), Gilbert Gottfried (Berkeley Beetle), John Hurt (Mr Mole), Gary Imhoff (Prince Cornelius), Joe Lynch (Grundel), Kenneth Mars (King Colbert). 87 mins. Colour.

A solitary woman asks a good Witch for a child, and is given a barleycorn seed. This flowers, and from the flower emerges a tiny adolescent girl, whom Mother christens Thumbelina. Thumbelina is lonely, because on the wrong scale for the rest of the world; she dreams of meeting and marrying the Prince of the Fairies, as depicted in her Fairytale books. Soon Cornelius, Prince of the Fairies, does indeed discover her, and the two fall in love, despite Thumbelina's lack of Wings. The course of true Love, as usual, proves not untangled, but eventually they wed.

This somewhat underambitious movie tells its story effectively enough, but is marred by an overabundance of forgettable songs and some shoddy colour work: Thumbelina's hair is golden, orange and scarlet by turns, while her dress can be, from one moment to the next, white, mauve or blue. There are a few nice touches – e.g., in defiance of his parent's wishes Cornelius rides not a decorous butterfly but a loudly buzzing super-bee, equivalent to a Harley Davidson – but the overall standard is below what one expects from theatrically released animation. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.