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FRANKENTHUMB

Review by Michael Jacobson

Creator:  Steve Oedekerk
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Image Entertainment
Features:  See Review
Length:  31 Minutes
Release Date:  September 24, 2002

“What should I do?”

“Kill him!”

“But I gave him life!”

“Take it BACK!!”

Film ***

Mary Shelley gets thumbed down, but Steve Oedekerk gets thumbs up.

Frankenthumb is Oedekerk’s latest all-thumb comedy spoof, and a return to form after the somewhat disappointing Bat Thumb.  Though his latest effort doesn’t approach Young Frankenstein territory, his take on all things that made the original James Whale Universal picture such a classic is filled with welcome touches.

For one thing, his thumbs are acting better than ever…half of the fun is watching these animated digits perform!  Everything you’d expect is here, from Dr. Frankenthumb to his twisted assistant Humpy, to the angry torch carrying mob just waiting for something to go after!

And of course, who could forget the monster himself…dubbed “Pepper” by his creator (don’t ask), his violent brain and brute strength soon wreak mayhem.  Will Dr. Frankenthumb come to his final rescue?  Or will he finally decide to destroy his own creature?  Or, will he resurrect another character from an earlier Oedekerk thumb film to save the day?  Let’s just say the finale is a little batty.

This film probably boasts the most production values of any of Oedekerk’s featurettes, including an intricate lab set and touches of animation (lightning, fire), so it’s clear that the man behind the thumbs takes creating laughter very seriously!  Fans of the original monster movie will appreciate the little touches, including hilarious send-offs of the opening “warning” and the graveyard scene…funny stuff!

I can’t quite place Frankenthumb at the same level of Thumb Wars or The Blair Thumb, but I can still call it an amusing half hour of diversion that’s definitely worth the price…frankly, I doubt if Boris Karloff’s thumbs could have done it better themselves.

Video **

For some reason, there seems to be a little more grain and texture associated with videotape in this transfer than in other Oedekerk featurettes.  Colors are extremely good, and lines are generally well rendered, but the smattering of grain here and there keep this from earning quite as good marks.

Audio ***

The 5.1 mixes on these films are all very satisfactory…Dr. Frankenthumb’s lighting storm makes for a lively sound offering, incorporating the rear stage here and there and emitting some kick through the subwoofer.  Dialogue is clean and clear, and dynamic range is formidable.

Features ***

There is an amusing commentary track with Steve Oedekerk and a large number of collaborators, including one on speaker phone from the other side of the country!  The disc also features storyboards, “outtakes”, “cast interviews” (both essentially more comedy hijinks), and a slew of thumb-related trailers to enjoy.

Summary:

Frankenthumb made the monster, but Steve Oedekerk made him funny.  This is a real treat for fans of either Frankenstein or the existing thumb featurettes.