Thumbelina is one of those fairy tales that Disney didn’t make a movie for and yet oftentimes gets credit for. Maybe it’s because their Little Mermaid, Jodi Benson, voiced the titular character.
Thumbelina is a cute movie about a young girl who is the size of a thumb gifted to an old woman who wants nothing more than to have a child of her own. Born of a flower, Thumbelina is small, curious, and beautiful and loves nothing more than learning of the great big world out there around her. She is also an adept singer, and it is this voice which attracts the attention of several figures, most importantly Cornelius, a young fairy the same size as her. Unfortunately, another figure has heard her melodic voice, Mrs. Toad the vivacious toad who owns a river boat troupe and wants Thumbelina to perform for her and marry her son, Grundel.
Just as unfortunately for them, Cornelius has already promised to return for Thumbelina, having declared his unyielding love for her and he refuses to give up on this love for a young lady he literally met yesterday. No wonder people think it’s a Disney movie, that right there is like… a trope of theirs.
Having taken cues from her last animated adventure (the voice actress of course) Thumbelina steadfastly believes her fairy boyfriend will come and save her at some point but she takes the initiative and escapes captivity first. Along the way she meets the swallow, Jacquimo, who actually is the one to inspire her to escape by releasing her and sending her on her way. So while she had a man’s help to cross the raging river about her, she did go off on a long journey almost entirely on her own, which is more than most animated characters can say.
Thumbelina goes through many trials and tribulations, from the Berkeley Beetles who want her to perform at their Beetle Ball to the Mr. Mole, the blind rich mole who wants to marry her and solve all of her woes. Of course, he has the aid of his kindly housemaid, Miss Fieldmouse, but that’s beside the point.
All this time, of course, Cornelius is a gallant hero who will apparently stop at nothing to save a girl, as already established, he only met yesterday. But this is alright, because she returns his feelings.
Thumbelina is a cute, adorable movie and, in my opinion, is one of Don Bluth’s best pieces (A Troll in Central Park, of course, being one of my all-time favorites after this). One of these days I’ll have to introduce you to this other animated feature favorite of mine, The Princess and the Goblin.