Blue Beetle gets his very own movie this weekend, which might be surprising to some, since he’s often considered to be an obscure character. Who is “Blue Beetle” anyway? Not to worry, non-nerds. To help get you ready for the film, and with absolutely zero research required on my end, I am here to tell you all about Blue Beetle’s first appearance.
Blue Beetle made his big debut in 1994’s Thumbelina. Well, actually, the real title is Hans Christian Anderson’s Thumbelina, but let’s be real, no one calls it that, just as no one calls him “Blue Beetle” in the movie, but hey, I guess that’s what the fans call him now. “Blue Beetle” is usually referred to as “The Beetle” which isn’t really a name, but this is a world where characters are called “Toad” and “Mama Toad” and “Mr. Mole” and crap like that, so I guess his name is pretty normal? Of course, the internet tells me his real name is “Berkeley,” which I think might get mentioned in the film like once? Also, “Toad” apparently has a name too, so I’m not sure where I was going with this.
Anyway, Blue Beetle is kind of a jerk. Some fan wikis class him as a villain, but really, he’s more of a neutral evil if even that. Initially he just wants to make Thumbelina into a pop star (I think? When does this movie take place anyway?), but that doesn’t go well because his target audience of bugs consider her to be ugly. Then again, pretty much every character in this film wants to not only bang but marry Thumbelina, including a toad and a mole, so those insects must be in a minority. In any case, Blue Beetle gets his oh so precious wings stolen by the aforementioned horny toad, who I guess has like mafia-level power over him and forces him to become his henchman.
So how did Blue Beetle become popular enough to get his own spin-off film? And why is he called “Blue Beetle” by his fans? Well, I suppose that’s because he’s blue, and also a beetle. Makes sense. Also, he was voiced by Gilbert Gottfried in what I’m assuming was the only movie in which he got credited alongside John Hurt (Hurt played the aforementioned horny mole). And he has a big musical number (which Gottfried didn’t perform), with some truly…odd lyrics. “Every chance to dance with you puts the ants back in my pants!” What does that even mean? Is it a sex thing? A boner reference? I’m making myself so confused here…
Still, Blue Beetle’s cult following is unexpected, since Thumbelina came from the “dark days” of Don Bluth’s career, meaning it didn’t make any money. Want to know just how bad I’m talking? If you combine the total grosses of Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park, and The Pebble and the Penguin (which all opened within thirteen months of each other, so I’m not sure if Bluth actually slept during that time), you get less than notable animated bombs like The Iron Giant and Quest for Camelot (I bring it up out of habit at this point, okay?) earned during their runs. Hell, you get less than Titan A.E. made! (But hey, it did out-gross Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, so take that however you will) That being said, it was a reasonable success on home video, and frequently aired on Disney Channel back in the day, so it did eventually find an audience.
But whatever the reason for its existence, the movie Blue Beetle seems to be taking some extreme liberties with the character. For one thing, he seems to be a superhero now? I guess that was inevitable since they did the same thing with the Venom films. But that still doesn’t explain how Susan Sarandon (insert your own PT joke here!) ended up in a Thumbelina spin-off. I bet she’s a non-nerd and doesn’t even know where “Blue Beetle” came from. But now you know. And knowing is half the battle. Hopefully this will lead to a live-action Thumbelina cinematic universe and we’ll get a French Singing Bird from Thumbelina film next.
Have a great day, y’all!