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Details At A Glance

Category Animation Main Menu Audio
Year Released 1993
Running Time 83:00 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Don Bluth
Gary Goldman

Warner Home Video
Starring Jodi Benson
Gary Imhoff
Gino Conforti
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Barry Manilow
Jack Feldman
Bruce Sussman
William Ross

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Dutch (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles Arabic
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Back in the 1980s, animation was in a bit of a rut. The Disney corporation ruled the roost, and any non-Disney animation really struggled to get a theatrical release. Don Bluth changed all of that with An American Tail in 1986. Here was Disney-quality animation from a non-Disney studio. Thumbelina is from the same creator some 8 years later. Whilst not the classic that An American Tail was, it is nonetheless an enjoyable enough adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale of the same name.

    Thumbelina (Jodie Benson) is, as her name suggests, a tiny girl the size of an ordinary mortal's thumb. Whilst happy enough, she would love to meet someone her own size, which she duly does in the form of Prince Cornelius (Gary Imhoff), a fairy prince. They fall in love, but there are problems. A travelling sideshow of gringo toads kidnaps Thumbelina, leading to a big adventure where she and the prince seek out each other, assisted by Jacquimo (Gino Conforti), a heavily-accented sparrow.

    There are more than a few continuity faults in the telling of this story, but I don't think that the target audience will care overly how Thumbelina came to be in the mouse's house nor how the prince miraculously appears near the end of the story.

Transfer Quality


    This is a reasonable transfer mostly marred by minor source material issues.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is reasonably sharp except for the opening sequence, which is deliberately dull and soft. The opening sequence is also somewhat grainy. Thankfully, when we enter the story proper, the transfer rapidly improves in appearance to a more traditional animated look. Occasionally, the brightness level of the background varied slightly up and down, but I felt that this was inherent in the source material rather than being a transfer problem. Likewise, the background image occasionally skipped slightly, but again I thought that this was a source material problem rather than a transfer problem  Shadow detail was not an issue and neither was low level noise.

    The colours are presented nicely, with the typical appearance of 2D animation - bright, vibrant and well-delineated colours are the order of the day. Once again, the early part of the transfer takes on a deliberately dirty appearance that may concern you at first - rest assured that the transfer soon adopts the traditional vibrancy of children's animation.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen and aliasing was absent. Film artefacts were present to a greater extent than I am used to seeing, and tended to occur in bursts, but they were generally unobtrusive.

    Note that the packaging claims that English, French, Italian and Dutch subtitles are present on this DVD in addition to others. They are not. The packaging also claims that the disc is dual-layered. It is not.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are four audio tracks on this DVD, all Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded; English, French, Italian and Dutch. I listened to the English soundtrack.

    The dialogue was easy to understand most of the time, with the sole proviso being that some of the strongly-accented voices needed quite a deal of concentration to understand what they were saying at times. Audio sync was more of a problem than I am used to seeing in modern animation, with some fairly lazy animated mouth movements accompanying dialogue at times, such as during the song at 11:00.

    The score is credited to a series of composers; Barry Manilow, Jack Feldman, Bruce Sussman and William Ross. It is virtually omnipresent throughout the feature, and at times takes on almost a clichéd sound, with frequent reprises of the main themes. It has the sound of 60 minutes of actual music being stretched to fit into 83 minutes of movie.

    The surround channel was used merely to contain musical ambience. Because the music was present so frequently, subtle surround channel use was also subsequently frequently present, making this soundtrack sound more immersive than it really deserved to. Dialogue and other sound effects were more or less confined to the front soundstage, with no wrap-around to the rear at all.

    The .1 channel was not specifically encoded, but my subwoofer was kept busy enough lightly supporting the music. The very end of the end credits features Barry Manilow singing one of the songs from the movie. This is the only time the subwoofer really calls attention to itself, as the mix of this particular version of the song is extremely bass-heavy, to the point of distraction.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The packaging makes reference to a theatrical trailer being present on this disc. It is not. Additionally, the menu screenshot on the rear of the packaging is not from the R4 version, but presumably from the R1 version, as it shows an option that does not exist on the R4 menu.


Main Menu Audio

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this DVD are identically featured save for the Theatrical Trailer, which is present on the R1 version. There is nothing compelling to recommend one version over the other.


    Thumbelina is a passable children's animation feature without being anything special. The same can be said of the transfer.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
19th September 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Philips 711, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer