The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina (2002)

“Trying to find their way in a great big world, Tom Thumb and Thumbelina join forces and face towering odds in a remarkable journey to find their true home. It’s nonstop laughs and thrills as Tom and Thumbelina find excitement around every corner in their search for family and others like them”

– The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina DVD Description.

The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina is brought to us by Miramax, through their Miramax Family Films line. Miramax Family films also brought us Ella Enchanted, The Never Ending Story III, and Tom and Jerry: The Movie. The film stars Jennifer Love-Hewitt as Thumbelina, and Elijah Wood as Tom Thumb. Also appearing in the film are Peter Gallagher as the Mole King, Jon Stewart as one of the Mole King’s flunkies, and Michael Chiklis as the evil circus Ring Leader Roman. Tom Thumb & Thumbelina was the first film directed by Glenn Chaika, who previously worked as a visual effects artist on films such a Disney’s The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Although the film was released in 2002, it the first copyright for the film was filed in 1991.

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
This film was yet another Youtube find. I stumbled upon clips of some of the songs from the film and it looked suitably terrible. There’s just something about terrible songs that endears a film to me. I think I have Disney to thank for making every studio think that they have to include songs in their animated films. 

This film has an odd quality to it. It reminds me a lot of 90s era computer games like Wily Beamish and King’s Quest 7, which heavily featured 2D animation. It’s hard to pin-point what exactly gives me this feeling. The animation itself is alright, but there’s just something about the line quality and the way the animation moves that makes it feel almost like I’m watching a cutscene in a game, vs scenes in an animated film.

Not helping things is that sometimes the movie gets very pixellated. Interestingly, the DVD actually plays a disclaimer before the film starts that says:

“The quality of the audio and video on this DVD may reflect the age of the source materials”. 

I imagine this disclaimer might also have something to do with that aformentioned early copyright date, which suggests the film was actually completed in 1999 and shelved for several years before it was released. It might be worth mentioning that the first Lord of the Rings movie, starring Elijah Wood, was released in 2001.

There’s a small thing that happens in some of these bad films that feels especially prevalent in Tom Thumb & Thumbelina. The scene changes come so abruptly that they’re comical (Especially when the scene change means an emotional moment is cut short before it has a chance to sink in). Instead of emphasizing with the characters, I instead usually feel prompted to chuckle at the sudden emotional whiplash.

Another thing worth noting, Thumbelina and Tom Thumb’s proportions are all over the place. Sometimes their heads are so big you question how their tiny bodies could support the weight. Other times they seem to have average proportions (For cartoon characters at least). Consistency is definitely not this movie’s strong point.

This one is a movie that is a bit spoiled just by being on this blog. Thumbelina turns out to be the long-lost Princess of a race of tiny people. What’s more, Tom Thumb just so happens to also be long-lost Prince, conveniently with no blood relation to Thumbelina (Which, of course, leads the two to getting married at the end of the film). It’s a very convenient wrap up that comes completely out of nowhere, aside from some very early shots of Thumbelina playing with a regal-looking necklace that she’s had since she was a child.

This one isn’t the funniest Bad Princess Movie, but I do think it’s worth a look. I always find these low-budget attempts to mimic Disney fun to watch. I also appreciate the attempt to cover the Thumbelina story, which doesn’t seem to get as much love as some of the other classic fairy tales for some reason. This is yet another movie that I recommend watching and discussing what they could’ve done differently (Aside from the obvious animation improvements, of course).

References

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