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THUMBTANIC

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:  27 Minutes
Release Date:  April 9, 2002

“Does this life jacket make me look fat?”

Film ***

Now that 90 years have passed since the sinking of the once proud Titanic, that ship couldn’t have asked for a better, more heartfelt tribute than Steve Oedekerk’s Thumbtanic.

Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch.  But come on…these Thumbation movies are damn funny.  I’ve been collecting them ever since Oedekerk launched the careers of his appendages in Thumb Wars, and they keep delivering.  As a sometimes cynical critic, I have to confess, I’m waiting for the inevitable entry to come out and prove that the gag just doesn’t work anymore.  It hasn’t happened yet.

This spoof of James Cameron’s sprawling, Oscar winning epic puts Oedekerk’s thumbs into the story of two young lovers on a poorly steered ship.  Jake is the poor but vibrant boy who wins his ticket to board by…actually, you should see that for yourself.  And Geranium is the rich girl who just wants to be poor!

They meet, fall in love, learn to spit, and even consummate their passion in a specially marked car.  But fate deals them a nasty hand in the form of a big floating chunk of ice.  Soon chaos abounds, as the passengers realize that there are only two lifeboats (!)…a couple of enterprising capitalists even start selling services to help men get one of the coveted lifeboat spots.  You’ll see.

Everything you loved (or hated) about the epic movie is spoofed here, including the Celine Dion song and video (now called “My Heart is a Thumb”).  The computer animation is very obvious, which adds to the amusement, and the script itself is sharp and funny.  The rich folks’ dinner sequence will have you laughing out loud…it did me.  Twice.

With each film, Steve Oedekerk’s thumb characters get funnier and funnier…both in appearance and in delivery.  “I’m the king of the globe!” gets a new spin, as does the liner’s lone company representative (“I want this ship to sink faster!”).  Even the lookouts in the crow’s nest are a scream (“Doctor says I’m legally blind in the left eye and totally blind in the right.”)

Oh, and the movie even gets a happy ending this time.  How, did you say?  Again, you have to see it to believe.  These thumbs have magic.

Video ***

As usual, these Oedekerk offerings from Image look quite good.  Generally, colors are very bright and well presented and images are sharp and clear.  There is a slight amount of noticeable grain apparent against black colors, but it’s nothing distracting.  Overall, it remains a quality effort.

Audio ***

The 5.1 soundtrack is not a bad offering, with a fair amount of special effects to open up the listening experience a little and give it some dynamic range.  For a modestly budgeted comedy, it fits the bill very nicely.

Features ***

The disc includes a funny commentary track with Oedekerk and his collaborators…I’ve always wanted to know how the Thumbation process worked; here, Oedekerk volunteers:  “we could explain it to you, but then we’d have to kill you.”  Damn.  In addition, there are trailers for The Blair Thumb, Bat Thumb, Thumbtanic and Frankenthumb, plus some storyboards.  Titanic fans will appreciate how some of the menu screens are modeled after its DVD release!

Summary:

It’s thumbs up for Steve Oedekerk’s latest creation, as he takes his spirited opposables onto the ship of death…er, the grandest ship in history, for a little romance, a little action, and a whole lot of comedy.  This continues to be a fun series of short films from a man with a warped sense of humor…my thumbs are already crossed in anticipation of the next one!