Speaking of filling in gaps in our knowledge, yesterday we decided to watch Thumbelina again. You know, the animated one from 1994. Part of this was because there are some really cute Thumbelina (Motochika) scenes in Ouji to Majo to Himegimi to (aka Ouji Thing Thing Thing or, more reasonably, Omahime), and we don't really know the Thumbelina story. In fact, when we thought about watching the movie, we realized that neither of us could really remember a single thing that happened in it. Athena remembered an image from the scene where she's standing on the music box singing, but that was pretty much it. I also figured it was about time, because we're starting to think we need to be informed about more animated movies than just Disney.
Pretty much every animated film we've seen that wasn't Disney since 1989 had us judging it a little extra harshly, because of the whole rivalry mentality. We never really gave Anastasia or The Road to El Dorado a fair chance. We weren't as hard on Thumbelina or Ferngully, not sure why with Ferngully (probably because of Robin Williams), but with Thumbelina it was definitely because that's how we got to see the "I'm Mad" Animaniacs short. Obviously that's the main thing we remembered from the whole experience.
On the other hand, when we watched the movie again, we could almost sing along with all the songs. I don't think we got the soundtrack, so maybe that was one of the movies that we watched the songs over and over in an attempt to learn them. It's also possible that we played the movie while we were going to sleep, and so we learned them subconsciously or something, because come to think of it, I didn't really recognize any of the animation from "Let Me Be Your Wings." But Athena knew almost all the words. Go figure.
Aaaanyway. My main impression of the movie from watching it last night is that the animation team was trying to recreate the successful Disney formula, and incorporate a bunch of stuff they remembered from, like, the Nine Old Men's work or something. Seriously, I feel like almost every Thumbelina moment is something you can find in a Disney movie somewhere. (Although it's entirely possible that some of the gestures that seemed so familiar only seemed that way because of the memories of this very movie, stored deeply in my brain.) The "Let Me Be Your Wings" sequence was like a mashup of Cinderella's "So This Is Love" and Peter Pan's "You Can Fly," with some dancing on clouds from Sleeping Beauty and A Whole New World. The Jitterbugs seemed like they came straight out of a Silly Symphony. There just seemed to be very little originality...or maybe I'm just making connections where there weren't meant to be any.
And then they just tried to fit too much story into one movie, so in the end, there's just a long sequence of events with no depth behind them, and we end up thinking Thumbelina (the character) is annoying. They had so many great ideas, too! Thumbelina made one comment, almost in passing, to her mother about how she doesn't have wings, and then Cornelius has this great song where he's like, "I'll be your wings!" like he's providing some deep psychological need of hers, but as far as we know about her need for it, she was like, "What are those things fairies have on their backs?" and her mom was like, "Those are wings." And maybe she was like, "Oh, I don't have those." But if they had come up with some way to discuss how wings would make it a lot easier to be so tiny or something... I don't know. Why am I critiquing a twenty-year-old movie anyway?
Today I'm thankful for remembering that we have cinnamon donuts, having more free time than expected, Thumbelina being available on Netflix, package tracking that lets us know our manga is in the office, and being sort of close to Hans Christian Andersen stories in our Disney Reading Project.