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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Pee-wee's Big Adventure [Blu-ray]


(Tim Burton, 1985)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures

Video: Warner Home Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:31:26.522

Disc Size: 19,055,110,716 bytes

Feature Size: 17,237,004,288 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.91 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 4th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4119 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4119 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), Finnish, French, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, none



• Commentary by Tim Burton and Paul Reubens

Production Sketches and Storyboards (11:25 in 480i)

• Music-Only Track with Commentary by Danny Elfman

• 4 Deleted Scenes (11:10 in 480i)

• Trailer (1:26 in 480i)





Description: Two of the most original talents in recent decades – Pee-wee Herman and director Tim Burton – teamed on what was to be their major breakthrough in this riotously funny movie about Pee-wee’s cross-country search for his stolen bike. As Pee-wee encounters bikers, cowboys, crooks and a phantom trucker and passes through the Alamo and Warner Bros. Studios, any resistance is futile: unstoppable laughter always follows. Celebrate the one-of-a-kind magic that this mirthful, colorful, bountiful movie still packs.



The Film:

Shaggy-haired dark prince Tim Burton is one of the only geniuses working in American cinema today. He is one of a handful of visionary directors whose style is instantly recognisable (has anyone ever said "Hey, this looks like it must be a Ron Howard movie!"?) and who is not afraid to make his films works of art. The bigger budgets granted him following his Batman success have allowed him to (perhaps self-indulgently) bring us some of the most lavish and beautiful films of recent years.

He started out, however, with this deliciously kitsch road movie. Using the considerable talents of comic Paul Reubens, Burton here explores one his favourite themes - that of the outsider. From Beetlejuice to Batman, from Edward Scissorhands to Ed Wood, his characters are all outcasts of some description, and Reubens's Pee-Wee is no exception. From his ill-fitting suit to his glittery bow-tie, from his ruby-red lips to his nasal, child-like voice, Pee-Wee Herman is like nothing you have ever seen before.

Excerpt from Ben Stephens at the Edinburghh Film Socity located HERE

Fed by comic tributaries perhaps, but Pee-Wee Herman comes over as a delightful original. It's a balancing act, and he doesn't put a '50s preppy white buckskin wrong. He lives in a house which is a Heath Robinsonish turn in itself, and responds to his environment with all the restraint of a streaker in a carwash. A nasty boy steals his beloved bicycle. Pee-Wee gives chase, taking in a lot of America's tourist map and winding up in Hollywood (which buys his adventure, and we see their version too). Dreamlike situations hover on the edge of unease (a meeting with a waitress in the mouth of a model dinosaur, pursuit by her giant boyfriend waving a caveman's bone), and there's a wonderfully sustained gag in which Pee-Wee rescues animals from a burning pet shop, nervously stalling the snakes. The score works edgily against the comedy, and the dream sequences are just this side of Dali. Pee-Wee himself comes from the school of acting that usually sits under a bubble - Rage, Foiled, Idea - in a cartoon. Truly weird and wonderfully addictive.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Pee-wee's Big Adventure gets a modest transfer to Blu-ray from Warner with about 3 times the bitrate of SD.  It looks pretty good via the 1080P AVC.  This is only single-layered but colors are solid without being unnaturally bright. Some scenes are far grainier than others but the textures are welcome. There is some noise in the darkness but contrast is at the high-end bringing up detail a considerable amount. This Blu-ray's best attribute is that is improves upon the SD - by a notable amount. There is only a smattering of depth. The rest is the imaginative and playful art direction - that, along with Reuben's quirky rhythms, really elevates the film experience to a unique positive.

















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 4119 kbps is impressive with Elfman's addictive theme exporting some punchy bass. Effects exist and there was some separation although nothing I would state as overly remarkable but the depth is there with plenty of toe-tapping action including The Champs' Tequila!. This is a pretty crisp track and a strong highlight of the Blu-ray presentation. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

All the extras are here from the older DVD with the low-key commentary from Tim Burton and Paul Reubens. There are some worthy highlights and worth the indulgence for those keen. Danny Elfman fans may thoroughly enjoy his commentary via the music-track option, plus there is a 10-minut piece on Production Sketches and Storyboards with some neat examples and of similar length - 4 out-of-left-field deleted scenes and a trailer. Everything is in 480i.



This is an inventive film and filled with Burton's eclectic-touch genius. I may watch Pee-wee's Big Adventure about once a year and always love all the touches and Reuben who carries himself like a one-man facial-expression show - putting you in mind of Jerry Lewis or Jim Carrey with his expressive body languages. This is certainly superior to DVD and the type of visual film you want to see in the higher resolution. It's a simple package but the price seems reasonable for the value of the entertainment. Recommended to those who enjoy Pee-wee! 

Gary Tooze

September 28th, 2011



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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