The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb By Mike White. Sounds like a porn title, doesn’t it? Almost like it could play with a double feature of Autobiography of a Flea...
Sounds like a porn title, doesn’t it? Almost like it could play with a double feature of Autobiography of a Flea. But, no. It’s a nearly wordless, unique-looking, BBC produced adaptation of the story of Tom Thumb set in a dark, industrial wasteland that one might call "Kafka-esque" if one were prone to such over-used words.
I had the same kind of feeling watching this that Fantastic Planet gave me years ago when I stayed up too late and got really freaked out by its matter-of-fact narrative about "tiny" people living as slaves to "giants" (it’s all a matter of perspective, now, isn’t it? Remember that "Twilight Zone" where the guy had the little people build a statue in tribute to him but later he’s crushed to death by that giant’s hand? If not, trust me, it was cool).
This time around, though, we have real people who are as animated the latex Tom Thumb and the other tiny people he finds. Tom is born to two normal sized parents who quickly accept him for what he is; about five inches tall and kind of weird looking. But soon, Tom is taken away buy scientists who lock him in a laboratory with some other strange creatures that appear to be half-human and half-machine. The lab’s overly sterile and ordered surroundings provide quite a contrast to the grimy and insect-infested outside world.
Director Dave Borthwick did a really fine job and I'd put his work up there with that of the Brothers Quay, Jan Svankmeyer, and Henry Selick. The sets remind me of something out of a Terry Gilliam film. It’s really cool and John Paul Jones’ score is perfectly suited to the film’s eerie atmosphere. This is definitely a movie that would be best watched alone and with the lights off.
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