Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 10/9/01
Thumb Wars: The Phantom
1999 (2001) - O Entertainment
review by Bill Hunt, editor of
The Digital Bits
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