Don Bluth, you've sold out, man. This is a fairy tale musical that follows the Disney formula. The complete opposite of The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, and All Dogs Go to Heaven. Your previous film, Rock-a-Doodle, sucked hard. But this... if someone made a white flag into a movie, this would be it. You should have just given up after this one, Don. Then the world would have been spared from the atrocity known as A Troll in Central Park. Dammit, why didn't you just give up?
But not for a lack of trying, I suppose. You've got Barry Manilow writing the songs, Jodi Benson in the leading role, the only thing missing is the slightest pinch of effort! If you want to copy Disney, you have to make your film and everything related to it look the part. Thumbelina and Cornelius look like your standard princess and prince, that's alright. But Grundel, the main villain, lacks any of the presence or stature of a Disney villain. Mr. Mole looks more like a Disney villain, but he doesn't act much like one. Jacquimo is too over-designed to pass as a Disney sidekick. Not even the music works, usually being really dry and/or corny. "Let Me Be Your Wings" is the only track that even comes close. In short, Bluth, not only did you fail to make a good movie, you couldn't even effectively trick people into thinking it was Disney. Not to worry, though. Now that you've had some practice, you're bound to do better the next time you copy the Disney formula.
We begin with Jacquimo singing about following your heart, and how nothing is impossible. He then proceeds to list off some of his favorite romances, like Samson and Delilah, or Romeo and Juliet. Because they lived happily ever after in the face of adversity, right?
Once upon a time, there was a poor woman who wanted a daughter. So, she went to her local good witch (just go with it), bought a barleycorn, planted it, and when it bloomed, there was a tiny girl inside the blossom. An English-speaking, fully-clothed girl in her teens or early twenties. The barnyard animals seem to like her, and she doesn't seem to mind at all that every day of her life could be her last.
One night, Thumbelina's mother reads her some fairy tales, but Thumbelina wants to hear stories about people like her. When her mother tells her about fairies, she starts dreaming of someday meeting one. She even sings a whole song about how she'll definitely meet one soon. Which turns out to be completely accurate. The fairy prince Cornelius comes in through the window, and takes Thumbelina on a romantic flight through the countryside. They pass a couple toads, and one of them immediately falls in love with Thumbelina. Cornelius drops Thumbelina off at her house, leaving Thumbelina looking forward to their wedding. Yes, they're in love. After one meeting. Love is an open window, and Thumbelina had been dreaming of a true love's kiss.
And then the toad's mother kidnaps Thumbelina. She promises Thumbelina a life of fame and music, but our heroine has already imprinted on the first man she met, and isn't interested. The toads don't care, leave her on a lily pad, and go off to find a priest. Luckily, Jacquimo comes along to lend a hand. Instead of just having Thumbelina climb on his back and taking her home, the swallow cuts the lily pad free, and Thumbelina almost falls down a waterfall. And then Jacquimo sends Thumbelina on her way with a song about how nothing is impossible if you follow your heart. That's helpful.
Cornelius finds out that Thumbelina is missing, and returns home to tell his parents. But, for whatever reason, the fairies can't delay the frost long enough for Cornelius to find her. Meanwhile, Thumbelina comes across Berkeley Beetle, who takes her to the Beetle Ball to... wear a stupid outfit while bugs harp on her appearance. They start out thinking she's pretty, then they decide she's ugly when the costume randomly falls off. Even Berkeley does a complete 180. Thumbelina becomes insecure about her looks, then Jacquimo tells her she's pretty, and then everything's okay again.
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Awards and Accolades
Don't panic, don't panic. Though the movie certainly doesn't deserve any accolades, there is one award it does deserve.
- 15th Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Original Song, for "Marry the Mole"
- This is the first animated film to ever receive a Razzie