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BAT THUMB

Review by Michael Jacobson

Creator:  Steve Oedekerk
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Image Entertainment
Features:  See Review
Length:  28 Minutes
Release Date:  July 9, 2002

“I’m Vicky Nail.”

“What do you do?”

“Well, when I get scared, I scream a lot.”

Film **

There’s trouble in Gaaathumb City, and only one thumb brave enough to strike fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere…Bat Thumb.

Steve Oedekerk continues his string of all-thumbs comedy short films with Bat Thumb, a mini feature that spoofs not only the Tim Burton film, but the campy television series as well.  I actually appreciated the latter a little more, as Bat Thumb kicks cuticle with the flying word sound effects:  “SOCK!”  “SHOE!”

Living a dual life as mega-millionaire Wuce Bane, Bat Thumb soon finds himself up against the evil No Face, who wants to turn all of Gaaathumb into faceless entities just like himself!  Will Bat Thumb save his beloved city, woo the very blonde Vicky Nail, and manage to convince everyone that his flamboyant tag-along partner Blue Jay is really just an assistant?

Bat Thumb boasts Oedekerk’s highest production values to date, as evidenced by the Burton-esque opening shot that soars through the city at night (keep an eye out for the signs and you’ll get extra laughs).  But the comedy falls short of his previous efforts like Thumb Wars, The Blair Thumb and Thumbtanic.  Those were all worth their weight in laughter. 

Bat Thumb is less inspired, though his thumb creations are still an amusing sight and a bit of technical wonder in themselves.  A master of parody and a subject matter that begs to be spoofed should be a match made in heaven, but many of Oedekerk’s attempts at humor just don’t soar here.  Worse, some of the gags that aren’t funny to begin with get dragged out to the point of painfulness.

But all artists are entitled to an occasional miss, and as good as Oedekerk’s other thumb movies were, I’m perfectly willing to consider Bat Thumb an exception to the rule…especially considering the trailers show his next spoof to be of The Godfather.  THAT’S one I can’t wait to see.

Video ***

Image continues to offer quality presentations of Oedekerk’s filmettes with Bat Thumb, which is just as lively, clean and colorful as its predecessors.  Even darker scenes come across with integrity and clarity.  Thumbs up here…no pun intended.

Audio ***

The 5.1 audio is a fairly dynamic mix, where dialogue and music come across with punch and various action sound effects put both front and rear stages to good use.  High marks again.

Features ***

The features are mostly for fun, but they included deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, cast interviews and such (all obviously created for the DVD).  There are trailers to all the existing and coming thumb movies, plus a filmmaker commentary that surprisingly DOESN’T include Steve Oedekerk this time!

Summary:

After a string of wonderfully funny thumb comedies, Bat Thumb is the first offering from Steve Oedekerk that doesn’t quite fly.  But this won’t be the last we see of his amusing opposables, and I have faith that future offerings will be more in line with what we’ve come to expect from them.