Pee-Wee's Big Adventure [Blu-Ray] Tim Burton

It's nice that enough time has finally passed since Paul Reubens' porno theatre incident that we can finally enjoy Pee-Wee Herman again without feeling the need to apologize. Reubens' creepily cheerful, endogenous man-child was one of the most endearing comedy creations of the '80s and made just before the popular Saturday morning TV series, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure is the best vehicle ever created for the character. Scripted by Reubens, along with a pre-SNL Phil Hartman, and directed by Tim Burton (when he was just a Disney reject with a few short films to his name), this movie was the product of budding young talent able to slip something weird and slightly subversive through the studio system. Though obviously dated, the film holds up and should be appreciated by children and repressed adults alike. The story concerns the inexplicably childish Pee-Wee's often fruitless attempts to retrieve his stolen (and possibly magical) bicycle from an evil fat kid. That's honestly it, in terms of plot, with the movie almost playing like a series of sketches that place the odd character into the centre of Reubens and Burton's lifelong obsessions, which run the gamut from B-movies and magic shop tricks to stop motion animation and Mr. T cereal. Made on a shoestring budget (by studio standards), some of the effects and sets can look a little cheap, but that only serves to add to the childish atmosphere of the movie. The surreal tone, at times, is inexplicably hilarious, guaranteed to put a smile on the face of even the most depressed viewer. In the new Blu-Ray edition, the bright and deliberately garish film pops off the screen as well as any catalogue title from the '80s can. The increased definition does make some of the cheap effects look a little worse than the DVD version, but this only adds to the charmingly handmade quality of the flick. The minimal special features are carried over from the DVD, but fortunately the fun and nostalgic commentary track from Burton and Reubens is included. The film clearly has a special place in the hearts of its creators, as it should for anyone whose inner child hasn't been eroded by cynicism. (Warner)