Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 6/22/00
1985 (2000) - Warner Bros.
review by Greg Suarez of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
90 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch 1:01:30 in chapter
21), Snapper case packaging, commentary by director Tim Burton and
star Paul Reubens, isolated film score with commentary by composer
Danny Elfman, deleted scenes with text-based intros, cast and crew
biographies/filmographies, production notes, theatrical trailer,
animated film-themed menu screens with music, scene access (28
chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD Mono),
subtitles: English and French, Closed Captioned
"I know you are
but what am I?"
A boy and his bike - can you think of anything cuter? Yeah, I can
too, but Pee-wee's Big Adventure
is still an entertaining little film, that is as intriguing as it is
wonderfully bizarre. With such an unusual aura about it, this story
was perfect for first-time feature director Tim Burton to hone his
unique skill. He manages to create a kind of world normally only
seen when we shut our eyes very tightly, and then open them to see
our surroundings in a reverse-polarized, perverse light.
Happy-go-lucky, eccentric man-child Pee-wee Herman (played by Paul
Reubens) loves his bike more than anything else in the world. After
a day of shopping for boomerang bow ties and trick gum (yes, this is
the kind of guy we're talking about here), Pee-wee discovers that
his precious bike has been stolen. A brief stint of hysteria sets
into Pee-wee's mind, and at the guidance of a phony psychic, our
hero travels to the Alamo - more specifically, the Alamo's basement
- to find his stolen bike. Uh-oh, I smell a road trip! Me also
thinks a fish-out-of-water plot is brewing as well.
Along the way Pee-wee encounters an escaped con with a real bad
temper and a hatred for mattress tags, Large Marge the phantom
trucker, a rodeo, and a surprisingly supportive biker gang. Will
Pee-wee make it in one piece, and will he ever be reunited with the
neatest bike in the world? If you're enough of a loner and a rebel,
you might just find out.
When you get right down to it, Pee-wee's
Big Adventure is a pretty simple film. The plot is
lightweight, and the characters are much more cartoonish than actual
human beings. But that's just Tim Burton. For me, this film has
always been about curiosity. I mean, it really is a pretty dopey
movie, but you can't help but to be taken in by it's childish
shenanigans. This flick is about effective mood setting, completely
original characters, and yes... even artful execution. But that's
just Tim Burton.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture on this DVD is pleasant.
Colors are bold and striking without oversaturation. Fleshtones are
natural, and the transfer exhibits a pleasing black level with good
picture detail. The disc does contain a noticeable amount of
compression pixelization and slight edge enhancement. Darker scenes
appear somewhat muddy, like chapter 21 in the biker bar. The newly
remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack sports smooth dialog and
nice sound effect integration, but is a bit on the thin side -
nothing too distracting, though. The real star of the soundtrack is
the deliciously playful score by Danny Elfman. The music is
dispersed throughout the listening environment and boasts excellent
fidelity and range.
Fans of Pee-wee's Big Adventure
are treated to a full-length screen-specific commentary track by Tim
Burton and Paul Reubens. While not exploding with enthusiasm and
laughter (these guys are pretty low-key and soft-spoken), it is an
interesting track hi-lighting the origins of the Pee-wee Herman
character, the genesis of the film, and many other fun anecdotes
about the making of this wacky movie. It's definitely worth a
listen. Danny Elfman fanatics (like myself) will find the isolated
score with commentary by Mr. Elfman himself a real pleasure. During
breaks in the music, Elfman discusses his personal history and
contributions to this film. A set of three deleted scenes and an
extension of the ending chase scene also appear on this disc. If you
think the movie is kinda weird and wacky, just wait until you see
these scenes - they're even more extreme than the film. Finally, the
requisite cast and crew biographies/filmographies are available
(even for the writers), along with production notes and the
If you're up for a little childish rambunctiousness, look no
further than Pee-wee's Big Adventure.
It will amuse and annoy at the same time, but in a good way. I dare
you not to be at least a little bit entertained. Don't hesitate to
pick this one up - just tell 'em Large Marge sent ya...