By: Alex Phuong (Four Beers) –
Hans Christian Andersen remains one of the most beloved storytellers of all time. His timeless fairy tales have enchanted readers as well as inspired some of the greatest family films of all time. Perhaps the two most famous films based on Andersen’s work are Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989) and Frozen (2013). However, some people might not know that Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel) actually did another animated fairy tale adaptation of Andersen’s work. That is because she played the title role of Thumbelina a few years after voicing the famed Disney princess. Thumbelina is actually a very unique film because it offers a different take on what an animated fairy tale could be outside of the iconic films that made Walt Disney famous.
Jodi Benson actually does remarkable voice work here. She is able to give Thumbelina her own distinct voice without sounding too much like Ariel. Not only that, but the voice of Cornelius (the fairy prince) sounds exactly like a sixteen-year-old even though the actor (Gary Imhoff) was in his early forties during this film’s production. The two lovers also share a really romantic duet called “Let Me Be Your Wings,” which is truly a joy to the watch. This couple really is the star of this film!
The human-like characters might be the stars of this film, but the talking animals are a nuisance. The villainous animals (like the frogs and Mr. Beetle) are not really that menacing. Instead, they are just really annoying. It seems bizarre that a frog would kidnap Thumbelina just so that Thumbelina can try to make it big as a singer. Mr. Beetle is also much like Iago from Disney’s Aladdin because both of them are somewhat annoying (but also comedic) roles for voice actor Gilbert Gottfried. It also seems bizarre that a lot of the male animals keep on trying to flirt with Thumbelina just because she is beautiful. This film openly displays the hardships of inappropriate displays of affection (which is really disturbing since this is supposed to be a family film).
The frogs speak Spanish at certain points, which might make it hard for viewers to understand what is going on during those particular scenes. The frog family’s home also contains Spanish words written on the walls, and neither the dialogue nor the painted words have any English translations. That might leave a plot hole for viewers who don’t understand that particular language.
This film won the Razzie for the Worst Original Song, “Marry the Mole!” That “victory” is strong enough to give this film another beer in this film review.
This might not be the best animated film of all time, but it was still a nice attempt to bring one of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories to the screen. Like many animated fairy tales, there is some sort of life lesson that viewers can take away after the film ends. Perhaps this film teaches viewers that there is no shame in being yourself. Thumbelina might be a small person, but she is still larger than life (and yes, there is a lot of wordplay being used in this concluding paragraph). Being small does not mean that people are unable to dream big!
Thumbelina (1994) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: during every musical number (which are either delightful or might make you want to gag)
Take a Drink: whenever the fairies emit fairy dust when they fly
Drink a Shot: every time the male animals have inappropriate displays of affection toward Thumbelina