The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993)
Genre: Experimental Fantasy Adventure Animation (UK)
Starring: Nick Upton, Deborah Collar
Directed By: Dave Borthwick
Overview: Tom Thumb is a puny boy, so small in fact that the G-Men take him away to their secret lab. When he escapes to find his way back home, he finds the world is a very big place.
Acting: It seems so much harder to act in silence than when delivering lines. This is all about the pantomime. Even the stop-motion clay people and creatures have the most expressive faces, you'll be astounded at the quality and effort. Without acting of this caliber, the particularly surreal scenes would have just seemed weak, but they're pulled off brilliantly.
Cinematography: This is some of the most original work you'll ever see, honestly. What gives this top score is that the stop motion editing extended also to the human players as well as the clay, which made for a well thought-out display, focused and original. As for the fantastical sets intermingled with the grimy mundane, no higher score could possibly be granted.
Script: I was a little disappointed with this. A couple more words could have explained this better, though I do realize that they kept the dialogue at a minimum for an effect that overall was wonderfully done. Sadly, just like in The Last Laugh, I felt that the film suffered for the art they tried to pigeonhole.
Plot: The story isn't that thickly plotted, but adventure stories rarely are. What you have to do it let the adventure take you and hope that the ride is fantastical enough to learn the occasional whos and whys. The whole trip is top-notch. To think that this group didn't go on to make films, becoming successes like The Brothers Quay or Jan Svankmajer, creator of Alice, Faust and Little Otik makes me wonder who made my world a little worse off.
Mood: Surreal yet comprehensible, fascinating yet vile, fantastical yet tragic, throughout, this story is a mix of hope and despair, rot and rebirth. This is deep, and though it's animated, I wouldn't be showing it to any young children anytime soon. Makes you think, makes you hate the G-Man, makes you glad you took the time to see this.
Aftertaste: What an amazing film. Here I am, studying the old repertoire, from Musicals to Westerns, Classic Silent Horror to Modern Foreign Drama, then a friend hands this to me and says, "Here, you'll appreciate this." The cover looks like a kids movie and I think, "I'll get around to it." Then I crack open the case and read words like 'adult' and 'sick'. Aside from having a film dark enough for my penchant, it's amazingly well made and completely artistic. Just goes to show you that sometimes wonderful film has to be found by getting on your hands and knees and looking for the little miracles. Wow. Mind-blowing. See this.