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on 14 February 2005
This film is a fascinating and moving look into the secret life of a social misfit - a child born a fraction the size of a normal human being, who is kidnapped from his parents and transported to a bizarre testing laboratory. The film's mix of claymation and real-life stop motion gives it a disturbing edge, where the grotesque seeps from every crack in the grime-filled settings. But not only is this film quite disturbing and dark, it also has some moments of bitter-sweet humour. It seems to me to be a very sensitive film that looks at how "freaks" are treated by society, and the vulnerabilty and innocence of childhood (as well as just having amazing visuals). You feel genuine protectiveness and fear for Tom, who doesn't yet understand the evils of the world he has been brought into. This is my favourite film, and I recommend it highly to anyone who loves dark stuff that makes you think. Just a warning though - don't show it to kids unless you want to disturb them for years! I first watched it when I was about 6 and I've never been able to get those freaky images out of my head since!
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on 19 July 2006
The only thing wrong with this film is that it is too short. On the plus side it means you can watch it twice as there is so much detail you will probably not pick up on the first time round.

I wasn't too sure about buying this when I first heard about it but I'm glad I did. Bizzare but unforgettable.
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on 23 July 2007
Yes 'thumbs up' is a tacky review title, yet I really do think this sweet little movie deserves it. The model animation is lovely, but it's the live action stop motion that really excels in this 60min gem. How the actors managed to stay still for such a long period is incredible.
You may find as I did that the plot is a bit of a mess at times.. and the music if rather undesirable.. Though the set design, makeup and costumes more than makes up for the films week points.
So if you like animation - this is an absolute must see.

P.S There is also a fun little short film as an extra, but I really wanted a 'making of' as this film more than some really deserves one.
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Startling film drawing on its influences; Eraserhead, Svankmajer and Vision On to create something nasty, surreal and comic. All neatly blended and morphed in a mirror world. Sharpened with a scalpel wielding British precison to scenes dispensing with Disney sentimentality. This beams an eye on the assault on the outsider, those who live on the margins; those not formed as others. It also casts a glance at animal testing, industrial manufacture, family bonds, the need for peers and alcoholism. All under 60 minutes.

The laboratory scenes, beautifully shot, provide a windowpane onto the lifeworks of science; breeding lips, eyes and hands. The creatures are a charge from nightmare worlds rushing to fore and aft in a fast forward schematic filmvision. This is an artistic visual treat.

The basis of using Tom Thumb brings European folk tales back to vibrant life after years of over sanitisation, whitewashed into oblivion. This illuminates the need to push the airbrushed canvas to the extreme. A film seemingly based on childhood concepts but adult themes.

A great film, speaks far louder than Citizen Kane. If it had been undertaken anywhere else these purveyors would be cultural icons. Instead it is word of mouth through the underground.
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on 8 September 2013
Rather than an endearing and charming fantasy, this version of the fairy tale takes a twisted stance on the characters and settings, evoking post-war depression in the hagged cobbled streets and dank infested interiors of this imaginative underworld; occupied by strange genetic creations, sewer life, and creepy crawlies, in a delightfully odd looking mix of claymation and perfectly animated live action characters, all of which are wonderfully suited for stop motion. This dark, hideous underworld is offset by the brightness (though perhaps darker with sentiment) of the sophisticated, factory-like labs of the isolated meddling scientists as they conduct their questionable genetic experiments which gave rise to Tom, among other creations.

The world portrayed really says much of the tone of the film, which is generally quite sombre and primitive, and although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it does make things a little harder in terms of getting to know and feel for the characters, especially given their muteness. Tom Thumb and his parents can sometimes appear more as figures of pity than empathy. Meanwhile, the real hero of the piece is Jack the Giant Killer, who really takes the lead on action and helps the story unravel as he aids Tom in his adventures.

In the truest sense of a fairy tale, this is dark and sinister, and in some cases abrupt and ambiguous, classic traits which can all too easily be forgotten given many a Disney adaptation of works by Grimm and others. While this may not seem a traditional tale, it is probably more traditional than you you might think, and the darker unsettling elements of the film are typically what make all fairy tales (this one included) a joy to indulge in, while always giving the sense there is a deeper subtext to be enjoyed as well. What might let it down however, is that it can feel a little short on pace and may be a little too peculiar; so perhaps not one for the impatient, weird-wary, or younger audiences.

As long as you go into this and don't expect to see handsome heroes, bold princesses, and cute characters, but instead prepare for a sinister, macabre, and ultimately saddening tale of some unsavoury and unsightly characters, then you have no reason not to enjoy it. An added bonus on the DVD is the short film 'Saint Inspector' (worth saving as a lighter hearted finish to the overall experience), which once again excels in the animated splendour of strange, yet endearing creations.
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on 20 November 2007
It's not your parents Tom Thumb. It's the BolexBrothers take on the fairy tale and it's not for children. This dark, disturbing animated feature is well worth viewing if you like David Lynch. The camera work and crafty animation is pure genius, as are the set backgounds and character creations, but be warned: this animated fair is not for everyone. Prepare to be amazed and perplexed. The film is still facinating even after all these years -- and maybe even moreso now. Beginning filmmakers NEED to watch this piece of animated art.

Meager Films 2007 *****
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on 6 June 2010
Dave Borthwick's reworking of the old folk tale about a boy of diminuitive height is a captivating blend of the grotesque, the charming and the wondrous, without any of the mawkish sentimentality of the Disney tradition. If you've enjoyed the surreal animations of Jan Svankmajer, Quay Brothers and David Lynch you'll love Borthwick's film. At 60 minutes, it's perfectly formed. But spare a thought for 'The Saint Inspector', a 5-minute piece of clay and puppet animation from Mike Booth which is included in the extras. Booth's truly magical film was BAFTA nominated. By a marvellous leap of the imagination he considers what might happen if a modern-day bureaucrat was assigned the task of checking up on those hermits of yesteryear who spent their days atop wooden platforms or stone pillars to focus their minds on heavenly things. Animation doesn't come any better than this fantastic little film. The last shot is out of this world.
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on 10 January 2014
One of my most treasured films and one of the finest works of art to feature on a DVD. Dark, Mysterious and emotional from the first shot to the closing credits. A raw take on the classic Tomb Thumb featuring a motley crew of strange and wonderful creatures and characters, friend and foe. There are some fantastically emotional moments in the film that will amaze and delight as much as the dastardly creatures will fright.

Must See!!!!
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on 2 May 2014
This would be interesting to students of annimation, the models have a strange character and the general atmosphere is intriging.
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on 2 August 2015
One of the best and interesting films ever !
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