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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 10/9/01

Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle
1999 (2001) - O Entertainment (Image)

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle Program Rating: B

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/B/B-

Specs and Features

29 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), Amaray keep case packaging, single-sided, single-layered, audio commentary with creator Steve Oedekerk & Paul Marshal, video interview with Gabba the Butt, storyboards, trailers for Thumb Wars, Thumbtanic and The Blair Thumb), "thumbographies", animated program-themed menus with music and sound effects, scene access (12 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles: none

"Every hand has a thumb…"

Have you ever heard the expression: "He's all thumbs"? Well, Steve Oedekerk really is all thumbs. The mind and scribe behind such recent comedies as The Nutty Professor, Ace Venture: When Nature Calls and the upcoming Jimmy Neutron, Oedekerk has put his thumbs together (literally) and come up with this spoof of George Lucas' Star Wars saga - Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle. And my reaction to it is… well, there's only one reaction a sane person can really have to this thing: sheer bewilderment. Mixed, that is, with a healthy dose of laugher.

In case you missed it when it aired on TV (no kidding - this thing actually aired on the Fox network), Thumb Wars follows the adventures of young Loke Groundrunner and the beautiful Princess Bunhead, as they attempt to defeat the dreaded Black Helmet Man and his Evil Thumpire. The shtick here is that all the characters are thumbs. But not just any thumbs - oh, no! These thumbs have strange-looking, but decidedly human, eyes and mouths. They talk, they crack wise and they've even got tiny little costumes and props. And now those damn thumbs have arrived on DVD. Yes, that's right - Star Wars is probably years away from being released on our favorite format, but we've got Thumb Wars on disc!

Image Entertainment's spiffy new DVD looks and sounds great. The full frame video quality is about what you'd expect from a 29-minute program on DVD. That is to say, it's excellent. It's got a bit of a digital look to it, but that's a result of the production process that makes "Thumbation" possible - it's not a DVD issue. Color and contrast are excellent and detail is crisp without edginess. The audio is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. The 5.1 is atmospheric but doesn't take quite as much advantage of panning gimmicks as I would have liked. Still, it's clear and there's plenty of low frequency. What… you were expecting DTS?

The extras are also pretty good for a disc with a $9.98 SRP. You get full-length audio commentary by Oedekerk and producer Paul Marshal, a gag interview with Gabba the Butt (don't ask), storyboards for every major scene, "thumbographies" and trailers for Thumb Wars and other upcoming "Thumbation" productions (more on that in a minute).

You know, it's almost impossible to review Thumb Wars. Either you like it or you don't. I happen to think it's pretty funny. You have to at least give it props for originality. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Oedekerk came up with the idea for this thing. On second thought, scratch that. It's probably a moment best left to the imagination. In any case, Oedekerk's got big plans for those crazy thumbs - Thumb Wars is just the first entry in a whole series. Look for Thumbtanic, Bat Thumb, The Blair Thumb, Frankenthumb and The Godthumb on DVD in 2002. Oh, the humanity!

Bill Hunt
[email protected]

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