The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina
By Brian Costello,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Disney remake with classic characters has stronger heroine.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Not specifically educational, though kids might be encouraged to check out the original fairy tales that inspired this story.
Strong messages about the importance of family and friendship, as well as being yourself (Thumbelina proclaims that it is "better to be an original than a copy.").
Positive Role Models
Unlike fairy tale heroines from the past, this version of Thumbelina makes her own decisions and thinks for herself. She works together with Tom Thumb to solve their problems, and choose to celebrate their uniqueness rather than hide it.
Violence & Scariness
Some standard cartoon violence -- chases, spills, falls. Early in the film, a monkey bites the hand of the circus ringleader, which requires him to wear gauze.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some of the romantic references may go over the heads of younger viewers, as various bugs develop crushes on Tom, to say nothing of the Mole King's desire to marry Thumbelina.
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Negative characters in the film throw around names like "morons," "freaks," and "rejects."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this modern-day reinterpretation of these two classic characters makes Thumbelina far less of a "damsel in distress" and more of a take-charge woman on an equal partnership with Tom. There's some cartoonish violence throughout their adventure, but unlike many kids' films, the snappy dialogue and all-star cast should keep both parents and kids engaged through repeat viewings.
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Where to Watch
Based on 4 parent reviews
A Waste of Time
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What's the Story?
As babies, Tom Thumb (Elijah Wood) and Thumbelina (Jennifer Love Hewitt) were taken from their village by a giant. While Tom ended up with a kindly man named Ben, Thumbelina is held captive by a wicked circus ringmaster who runs a traveling freakshow. While Ben sends Tom off to find others like him, Thumbelina makes her escape. They meet, but encounter difficulties with lovelorn beetles, an inquisitive aspiring boy etymologist, and, worst of all, the Mole King (Peter Gallagher), who wants to force Thumbelina to marry him.
Is It Any Good?
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM THUMB AND THUMBELINA is a fun tale with enough constant action and snappy dialogue to keep both children and adults entertained. The animation looks like something from a Tim Burton movie, and with a cast of familiar names lending their talents (besides Wood and Hewitt, there's also Jon Stewart, Robert Guillaume, and Bebe Neuwirth), the acting is above average for children's fare.
Fairy tale purists may scoff at this modern-day reinterpretation of these two beloved characters, and while the musical numbers don't always shine, for those wearied of female characters in this genre being typically weak, helpless, and unable to fend for themselves, this version of Thumbelina is a refreshing evolution away from centuries-long archetypes.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about home, and why it is important for Tom and Thumbelina to try and find where they come from. Before meeting each other, why do Tom and Thumbelina feel like the only ones who look like they do?
Thumbelina says that it is "better to be original than a copy." What does that mean?
How are these versions of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina different than and similar to versions of these two characters in other movies and stories? Why do you think they changed them compared to how they've been in the past?
- On DVD or streaming: August 6, 2002
- Cast: Elijah Wood, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Peter Gallagher
- Director: Glenn Chaika
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Fairy Tales
- Run time: 75 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: February 25, 2023
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