April 25th, 2009
Nostalgia Chick: Hi, I'm your Nostalgia Chick and- (looks at an imaginary watch) Oh! Is it Don Bluth time again already?
NCh (voiceover): I'd like to propose a theory. (A chart showing the quality of Disney movies and Don Bluth films is shown.) The profitability and quality of any given Don Bluth movie is an inverse proportion to how well the Disney company is doing. This includes Pixar.
NCh: Think about it...
NCh (vo): ...Don Bluth peaked pretty early. His first feature, The Secret of NIMH, is not only widely considered his opus, but came out in 1982, when the Disney animation studio was in the pits.
NCh: They were making nothing. So not only was Don Bluth in the bank, he actually got to make movies that didn't suck. There were even some of them that were...good. So what happened?
(Footage from The Little Mermaid is shown as music from Young Frankenstein plays in the background.)
NCh: Oh... mermaid.
NCh (vo): I'm gonna get on a small pedestal and say my piece. It was not The Little Mermaid that caused the Disney Renaissance. Not really. That honor belongs to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The Little Mermaid just put that godforsaken Disney musical 90s formula in place.
NCh: So, what does this have to do with Don Bluth?
NCh (vo): "And hey," you say, "that proof isn't totally true." After all, Anastasia made money, right? Not as much as a Disney movie, but it did make money.
NCh: Yes, but let's be real here. This was Don Bluth throwing in the towel. This was him saying, "All right, Disney, you win...
NCh (vo): ..."With your princesses and your musicals and your coming-of-age stories with sweeping, snarky romances. You win." If you can't beat them, join them. Copy the Disney formula and marketing strategy and you will make money.
NCh: And they did. But by God, Anastasia wasn't the first time he tried. There's a teeny tiny little tweed little blip on his radar a few years before with much more unfortunate results.
(Opening for Thumbelina plays)
NCh (vo): There it is: Thumbelina, that saucy little whore.
Thumbelina: That's me!
NCh: And in a lot of ways, this one is a much more blatant Disney ripoff than Anastasia.
NCh (vo): What was the first big success of the so-called renaissance? Based on a Hans Christian Anderson story, so let's do a Hans Christian Anderson story. About, I don't know, wanting to be something you're not. And let's make her a redhead. They even had the balls to use the same voice actress as the titular character and goddamn if she doesn't have the same little quirk that made everyone like her in that other movie.
Ursula: Your voice!
Ariel: My voice?
Thumbelina: My voice!
Mr. Beetle: Don't talk. Sing!
NCh (vo): And here, we get the poor man's...everything. Can't afford Elton John? Well, there's always...Barry Manilow.
NCh: Come on, is that really the best you...? (Trails off as she hears and listens to Barry Manilow sing "Can't Smile Without You".)
Barry Manilow: (singing)...I'm finding it hard, to do anything / You see, I feel sad when you're sad / Feel glad when you're glad...
NCh: But for serious, the songs in the movie sound nothing like that.
Goose: (singing) Who is the girl no bigger than a bumblebee? (Squawks)
(Nostalgia Chick cringes during the song.)
Chickens: (singing) Thumbelina!
Goat: (singing) She's a funny little squirt.
NCh (vo): The movie starts in Paris for no accountable reason, as none of the story proper has anything to do with Paris and apparently during the plaque years as the population has been wiped out-Jesus Christ!
(Jacquimo flies towards the camera and sings as Nostalgia Chick speaks.)
Jacquimo: (singing) La, la-la-la la la-LA-la-la.../ Hello, welcome to Paris.
NCh: You're gonna be in the whole movie, aren't you?
Jacquimo: Hoo, hoo, hoo! I love the sound of my voice! (gives an air kiss.)
NCh (vo): Well, this guy's name is Jacquimo, who I guess is our asexual codependent who thrives on the relationships of others, I don't know. He gives us our theme which seems to be about impossibility and overcoming it, and proceeds to give us some really bad examples.
Jacquimo: Samson loved Delilah.
NCh: That...ended kinda bad.
Jacquimo: Romeo and Juliet, oh, impossible.
NCh: Also somewhat unfortunate.
NCh (vo): So he tells the story of our tiny titular, eh, twit about how an old spinster's biological clock went off, so she gets a special seed which blossoms into a flower out of which boom, fully clothed, sixteen year old, self aware and English speaking.
Thumbelina's mother: I will call you Thumbelina.
NCh: (as Thumbelina's mother) I hate you enough to name you Thumbelina.
NCh (vo): I think mother's a little bit bitter that she got the short end of the stick, so to speak, 'cause during another musical number, she just lets Thumbelina run around with the livestock and do whatever careless thing.
Thumbelina: (singing) But I get out in the nick...
NCh: That would be an awkward dinner party. "So Beverly, you have any luck finding- GAHHH!!!"
NCh (vo): So how is Thumbelina's plot driven? What is her motivation? Well, smallness, she's not a huge fan of this being baked into pies, but more than that, she's more eager to find a guy who won't pummel her into a greasy little smear with the sheer size of his...well...
(Thumbelina climbs under a magnifying glass.)
Thumbelina: I suppose it works best if...if two people are about the same size.
NCh: It's not the size of the boat, it's the motion of the ocean.
NCh (vo): Alright, so in the requisite " what I want from this movie" song, aside from being less small, she expresses a desire for one true love. But who should be conveniently listening but her one true love who sneaks into her room and precedes his condescending courtship. She's charmed enough by his breaking and entering to go on a ride with him, which pans out in a strangely familiar way.
(Let Me Be Your Wings plays.)
Cornelius: (singing) Let me be your wings / Let me be your only love...
NCh: I have this weird sense of deja...Disney...
(Shows A Whole New World from Aladdin and keeps cutting back to Thumbelina)
Aladdin: (singing) I can show you the world...
Cornelius: (singing) Let me take you far beyond the stars...
Jasmine: (singing) It's where we'll be...
NCh (vo): By way of musical number, the two are instantly in love as you do.
Thumbelina: (to Cornelius) We'll live happily ever after.
Cornelius: Oh, much longer.
(Cuts to clip from Enchanted)
Prince Edward: And you are...?
Prince Edward: We shall be married in the morning!
NCh (vo): But romance notwithstanding, we have to have a plot, so despite the best efforts of the useless doggy, Thumbelina is stolen in the night, and like all animated heroines, she has a bit of tendency towards fainting. Boom, unconscious. But Prince Cornelius is on the job.
Cornelius: What? What happened?
NCh: Quick, boy, tell us who took her!
(The dog, named Hero, puffs his face out and croaks like a toad.)
NCh: A Mexican?
Mrs. Toad: Buenos dias. I hope you sleep very, very good.
(Nostalgia Chick screams.)
Mrs. Toad: We are very happy family Singers de Espana.
NCh (vo): Okay, Spaniard frogs with tits.
NCh: I mean, really now...
(Zooms in to Mrs. Toad's high heels.)
NCh (vo): ...frogs should not be in heels!
NCh: And for reference, this is her voice actress.
(Shows picture of Charo with dramatic music playing.)
NCh (vo): I just think it is a new trajectory for the rest of this movie. Thumbelina keeps getting kidnapped and used by people. Well, despite having been kidnapped by a real doll cooing amphibian, Thumbelina makes the mistake of revealing her new motivation.
Thumbelina: Cornelius loves me already. I think I'm gonna marry him.
NCh: (as Thumbelina) I mean, I've known him for all of twelve hours.
NCh (vo): But Madame Frog starts us on our weird moral of the movie, that is, the people who want to use Thumbelina want her not to get married...for love, anyway, because marrying for love is what naive and stupid people do.
Mrs. Toad (singing): The scrubbings and the washings and the noses and the drippings and the sopa's always boiling.
Mrs.Toad's sons: Si, si!
Mrs. Toad (singing): The panes and the windows falling with the diaper's changing...
NCh: I think-I can't really understand her...
NCh (vo): Momma frog drops the bomb that she's (Thumbelina) gonna marry her frog son, which also starts us on the weird bestial turn this movie takes.
Mrs. Toad: You are going to marry my son, Grundel.
NCh: Everybody wants to get into Thumbelina's tiny little cotton panties!
NCh (vo): Fairies, frogs, beetles, fleas (Shows picture of P.T. Flea from A Bug's Life), lichen (Picture of lichen on a tree trunk is shown.), the Dark Lord Xenu (Shows his picture), dark matter.
NCh: Everyone. And she's a pretty passive player in all of this.
Thumbelina: Doesn't anybody care what I think?!
NCh: (scoffs) People care what a woman thinks?
NCh (vo): So the frog marriage ritual apparently entails leaving the future bride on a lily pad and going off somewhere, I don't know, we have to isolate her somehow and-aw, goddammit.
Jacquimo: He (Cornelius) loves you?
Jacquimo: (Shakes her hands) Congratulations!
NCh: How many antidepressants are you on?
NCh (vo): Well, Mr.Talking Mime Bird is back and with him comes that theme of overcoming impossible things.
Thumbelina: I must get off this lily pad, but...that's impossible.
NCh: It's not exactly like you're trying to build a faster than light hyperspace vehicle with nothing but particle boards and doll hair.
NCh (vo): And here's also the problem with having a movie about a tiny person whose main sidekick is a goddamn bird.
(Jacquimo dives under the water and cuts the root of the lily pad off, sending it floating.)
NCh: Get on the bird.
Thumbelina: What waterfall?
Jacquimo: Zat one!
NCh: (Frustrated) Get on the bird!
(Jacquimo tries grabbing the lily pad from the waterfall.)
Jacquimo: I am slipping!
NCh: Get on the fucking bird!
Jacquimo: Can you swim?!
Thumbelina: No, I can't swim!
NCh: Get on the frickin' bird who can fly you to where you-oh.
(Two fish slap the lily pad with their tails towards shore.)
NCh: And now for her second bout of unconsciousness in this many minutes.
Little Jitterbug: Are you really gonna marry the fairy prince?
Thumbelina: If he asks me.
NCh: (as Thumbelina) I mean, that one time we met, he did seem pretty into me.
Jacquimo: Well, then, follow you heart! It will lead you home.
(Nostalgia Chick starts to say something, but just looks around in confusion.)
Thumbelina: It's impossible.
Jacquimo: Impossible? Nothing is impossible!
NCh: I'm sorry, we were talking about theories that would combine quantum mechanics and general relativity into a viable theory that would adequately explain gravity on an atomic lev...
NCh (vo): Oh, you're talking about your boyfriend. Alright, let's take inventory here: you have a bird, some bugs and a FUCKING BIRD!
NCh: You have twenty fucking birds...
NCh (vo): ...doing the can-can! Have the bird fly you home, is he really such a fucker that he won't give you a ride? Apparently, he is.
Thumbelina: He's wonderful.
NCh: Yeah, he's so helpful and full of useful advice.
NCh (vo): So Thumbelina, who at any given time seems to be about ten feet from her house and going the wrong way-AHH!
Mr. Beetle: (Laughs obnoxiously) Hiya, toots!
NCh: I want to know what studio head keeps proclaiming from on high, "needs more Gilbert Gottfried."
(Shows footage from Aladdin.)
NCh (vo): Only it has been known to actually work in other movies.
(Mr. Beetle kisses Thumbelina's arm repeatedly.)
Thumbelina: Oh, Mr. Beetle!
NCh: (as Thumbelina) You don't actually want to bone me, too, do you? Invertebrates don't even have bones!
NCh (vo): But the forest economy is apparently very entertainment industry-oriented and he wants her to sing at this beetle ball. So they dress her up like a Civil War-era Elton John and she of course just stands around, but promptly for reasons unknown, she ends up in her underwear where the beetles all start singing about how ugly she is, ending with Gilbert Gottfried smacking her on the ass.
NCh: But really, how many times in life do you get to say that?
NCh (vo): Well, all things considered, she takes it well.
Thumbelina: I'm ugly?
NCh (vo): And we're back out on our own again, feeling sorry for ourselves. See, this is the problem with having a movie with no singular antagonist, this thing has like twenty.
(Jacquimo flies up to Thumbelina on the tree branch.)
NCh: (Rubbing her eye in frustration) Oh, thank God, this movie was missing some more vague inspirational one liners.
Jacquimo: Does Prince Cornelius think you are ugly?
Thumbelina: (sniffs a couple of times) No...he thinks I'm beautiful.
Jacquimo: And so you are.
NCh: (with French accent) But if you did not have ze boyfriend thinking that you're hot, woof, the mirrors that your dog face would break!
NCh (vo): So for a while, we have a bunch of stuff mostly consisting of Jacquimo annoying random animals, but then the prince in his search gets conveniently removed from the equation by way of a block of ice. Things look hopeless for the prince until Gilbert Gottfried beetle finds him immediately, yay! There was a subplot where the frog made him do it. Anyway, Thumbelina is alone and afraid and uncharacteristically pessimistic.
Thumbelina: I will...never find my way home.
NCh: Say it for us, you haven't said it in at least 5 minutes.
Thumbelina: It's impossible.
(Nostalgia Chick claps joyfully with a chorus of cheering children. Then it shows Thumbelina saying impossible three times.)
NCh: Impossible and mildly inconvenient are not the same thing!
NCh (vo): Then boom, another bout of unconsciousness. But she's dragged into the kitchen of a saucy little drag queen called Ms. Fieldmouse. Ms. Fieldmouse is a bit of a sadist.
Ms. Fieldmouse: That he was found stone cold frozen dead in the snow.
Thumbelina: (Gasps) Cornelius, no!
NCh (vo): But we can't cry too much when we have things to do like...
Ms. Fieldmouse: We'll take these corn cakes to Mr. Mole.
NCh: Priorities, ladies!
NCh (vo): So she meets this mole guy who...(Mr. Mole looks her over.) Oh, c'mon, you, too?
NCh: She only gets hit on by frogs, moles, beetles and fairies. (Beat) I think I kinda relate to this girl.
NCh (vo): So Mr. Mole takes them on a tour of his cavern which today includes a dead bird.
NCh: Dead bird? But everyone knows there's only one bird in the whole forest!
(Thumbelina gasps and we see an unconscious Jacquimo with dramatic music.)
Thumbelina: You're not dead at all!
NCh: (Smiles sarcastically) Thank God.
NCh (vo): Well, despite her really unconscious friend, she goes back with the mouse who has been bought off to try to persuade her to marry that mole while the frog and Gilbert Gottfried talk.
Mr. Beetle: Right?
NCh: And talk.
Mr. Beetle: My sources tell me...
NCh: And talk.
Mr. Beetle: Why don't you just go home and marry a toad, you ever think about that?
(Nostalgia Chick looks on in bored bewilderment as he keeps talking)
Mr. Beetle (vo): You find yourself a pretty toad with warts and you marry her.
Mr. Beetle: Toads, toads, I gotta be stuck with toads.
NCh (vo): Back to Mr. / Ms. Fieldmouse who makes her case against marrying for love like all other old harpies in this movie.
NCh: With what may well be the worst song in any movie.
(Marry the Mole plays.)
Mrs. Fieldmouse (singing): 'Cause love won't pay the mortgage or put porridge in your bowl / Dearie, marry the mole.
NCh: Barry Manilow, you went to Julliard, for fuck's sake!
Mrs. Fieldmouse (singing): His breath may be alarming, but he's charming for a troll / Dearie, marry the mole
NCh: You wrote Copacabana, what the hell is this shit?!
Mrs. Fieldmouse (singing): Romeo and Juliet, were very much in love when they were wed...
(During the song, Nostalgia Chick tilts her head back and forth to the song with a look of confusion.)
Mrs. Fieldmouse (singing): They honored every vow, so where are they now? They're dead...
(Nostalgia Chick recoils in confusion)
Mrs. Fieldmouse (singing): Dead
(Nostalgia Chick recoils again with a look of horror.)
Mrs. Fieldmouse (singing): Very, very dead
NCh (vo): Okay, so the mouse's argument marrying for love is analogous to terminal illness.
Mrs. Fieldmouse (singing): Marry the mole!
NCh (vo): So anyway, back to the self pity party.
Thumbelina: We cannot do impossible things.
NCh: Like get off lily pads, rollerblade or make Rice Krispie Treats.
Jacquimo: Get on my back, get on my back, I will take you to the prince!
NCh: Oh, now he figured that out.
NCh (vo): So he peaces out and Thumbelina decides to quote unquote "marry the mole". Nice hair. But during the ceremony, she gets assaulted by enough flashbacks to make her realize that she can't just marry the mole, she needs a man. Well, the fairy prince has been thawed by some bugs and a fight scene ensues. The prince is once again conveniently put aside for a few more minutes and Thumbelina manages to get out-Oh.
Jacquimo (singing):...Your heart!
NCh: Seriously, who kept inviting you into the movie?
NCh (vo): But at long last, he gives her a fucking ride to what is supposed to be the Vale of the Fairies, and how do we get the fairies to come out?
Jacquimo: Sing, Thumbelina, sing!
NCh: Of course.
NCh (vo): Her singing makes the spring come. Nice winter, it only lasted about a day and a half.
Thumbelina: Let's be practical, this isn't the Vale of the Fairies, and Cornelius is never coming back!
Cornelius: (singing) And I'll never let-
NCh: (as Thumbelina) Things are impossible, things are-Oh, hi, dead boyfriend, thanks for coming along and proving my pessimism wrong and not making me work for that happy ending.
Cornelius: Will you marry me?
Thumbelina: I will.
NCh: The cumulative amount of time we spent together is about 5 minutes and 26 seconds, I will.
NCh (vo): Oh, and you know what else?
(Thumbelina sprouts wings.)
NCh: Why? (Pause) Because!
NCh (vo): Oh, Jesus fuck, we even end fading into stained glass.
(Shows stained glass of Belle and the prince from Beauty and the Beast)
NCh (vo): C'mon! That is just not allowed!
NCh: Disney's paranoid ass has my blessing to sue for plagiarism for this one.
NCh (vo): And that's about it. And really, I think why is the big term for this movie. Aside from the big whys and plot holes, why bother?
(Shows footage from Disney movies.)
NCh (vo): Say what you want about the Disney movies at the time, but at least they were better thought out, better written and less written with gaping plot holes. Well, some of them.
(Shows footage from Thumbelina and Don Bluth's other movies.)
NCh (vo): But the real irony here is the message of the movie. Don't marry the mole, honey, don't marry for money, honey, marry for love. But Don Bluth's real strength was always how he differed from Disney, so what, I ask does he think he's doing here?
Mrs. Fieldmouse: (singing) Marry the mole!
NCh: Marry the mole.
Mrs. Fieldmouse: (singing) Marry that mole! M is for Money, O-L-E!
NCh: I'm your Nostalgia Chick and I need a new catchphrase.