In 1993, my children and I were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the full-length animated film Thumbelina produced by Don Bluth based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen. We had seen the trailer and had ordered a picture book from my daughter’s book club at school. Sadly, the picture book didn’t arrive as the release of the film was put on hold due to Bluth’s filing bankruptcy and loosing his funding. We were disappointed. Then, in 1994 the film was released after Warner Bros bought the rights in 1993.
When we received our VHS copy, I sat down with my three year old daughter Brittany to watch it. Like all of Don Bluth’s films, the animation is beautifully done as if it was filmed through a soft-focus lens. There are wonderful truths in Bluth’s version such as ‘Don’t ever wish to be anything than what you are.’ One of the most captivating scenes in the film is the romantic flight scene in which Thumbelina is being held aloft by the Fairy Prince as he sings to her the song, “Let me be your wings”. It is probably the most romantic scene in any animated movie.
I watched the movie and I watched my daughter Brittany watching the movie completely enthralled. At the end of all of Thumbelina’s adventures….adventures which tested her courage, wisdom and confidence, she suddenly sprouts wings.
Brittany’s mouth dropped open and her eyes widened. “She got wings?!”
“Yes, she got wings. Isn’t that wonderful?”
“She got wings!” Brittany exclaimed and stood up with a look of pure joy on her face and began to twirl around the living-room repeating over and over, “She got wings! She got wings!”
It is one of my happiest memories of Brittany. I am also a romantic. The idea that the Prince was willing to be her wings but then his love caused her to sprout her own is more than silly sentiment to me. Isn’t real love like this? We hold the person we love aloft when they cannot take flight on their own but we only do it while encouraging them to sprout their own wings and when they do, we allow them to fly. It’s what parents do for their children and what partners sometimes do for the person they love.
Now Brittany is engaged to be married. I am hopeful that she has found someone who will allow her to use her wings and soar.
Note: The swallow in Don Bluth’s film is called Jaquimo. It was this name that my daughter Tara chose for the bird she found. See: The Story Of Jaquimo