on May 3, 2000
Pee-wee's Big Adventure is undoubtedly one of the funniest movies ever made. From the Rube Goldberg-esque breakfast machine to the Hollywood re-make of PW's life story, the laughs do not stop from start to finish. For months, I counted the days till the release of this DVD, and (with the exception of the cheesy cardboard "snap case") Warner Bros. has certainly done it right this time! The anamorphic widescreen picture is perfect; Danny Elfman's excellent score sounds incredible in Dolby digital stereo; and the extras exceeded my highest expectations. There's a commentary track with Paul Reubens (Pee-wee himself) and director Tim Burton; a music-only track with commentary by composer, Danny Elfman (timed so as not to interfere with the music); and a compilation of story boards and sketches with yet a third commentary by the production designer! In the deleted scenes, you'll learn the origin of "Amazing Larry", meet Boone the Bear, and see Pee-wee fling that (red) boomerang bowtie he bought at the magic shop. This is a disc you'll watch over and over again. Order it now...and be sure and tell `em Large Marge sent ya!
on April 6, 2013
I've always wanted this movie for home viewing, but I've realized that the previous versions released on DVD are not the best quality. I waited for years for a "deluxe edition" DVD or a Blu-ray version to be released. Turns out this Blu-ray version is very good quality.
Some of the cinematographic "errors" I remember from the original theatrical version were cropped out of previous DVD releases.
As a kid, I remember seeing Pee-Wee pulling the super-long chain out of the bike's storage compartment that would never fit in real life, but originally the film shot was composed in a way so you could see the long chain entering the compartment through an opening in the bottom. Like the DVD versions, this version DOES crop that shot so you can't see below the bike compartment where the extra chain is being fed.
On the other hand, in the scene where Pee-Wee is falling asleep driving at night where the road signs keep warning about twistier and twistier curves ahead, I remember seeing the dolly track for these signs in the bottom of the shots when I saw the movie in the '80s. Again, I noticed the DVD versions cropped this out or digitally erased the views of the track. This Blu-ray version actually left those "mistakes" in the shots of the signs. I was happy to see this, because I hate seeing movies altered from the way they were released. I'm a big fan of keeping movies original--mistakes or not.
on May 8, 2000
Tim Burton's directoral debut is so chock full of interesting bits and vision that a running commentary by Burton and creator/star Paul Reubens should have resulted in one of the best alternate tracks available on DVD. Unfortunately, their commentary becomes instead The Mutual Admiration Society, with long stories about how they came across each other, how great each thinks the other is, and who else was in the room when they met. Reubens and Burton spend too much time telling stories that ramble and don't go anywhere, and too little time commenting on the film itself.
When they DO manage to discuss the film, they are as interesting as you would expect, but these instances are few and far between. Burton for the most part sounds like he just woke up, and Reubens spends a lot of the film saying, "Uh-huh, yeah."
It's also rather appalling that Reubens can hardly bring himself to say the name of fellow screenwriter Phil Hartman (Reubens early on says "me and the other two guys who wrote the film...") -- in fact, you won't hear him mention Hartman by name until the very end of the film when Hartman makes his cameo.
Some gentle prodding during the taping of this sequence would have produced something that I think more fans were looking for and expecting.
Like some other reviewers, I too couldn't find some of the knick-knacks promised in the pre-release. However, the one real prize on this disc is the alternate track isolating the music, with commentary by Danny Elfman. Elfman's insights into the film and its music are first-rate, and while I'm pleased Elfman does NOT talk over his music, it might have made it even more interesting had he discussed some of the nuances of his work while the tracks were playing.
The film quality on the DVD is top-notch, and the menu screens are clever (when you make a selection, Pee-wee goes speeding over to the new menu on his bike). The film itself is brilliant -- no need on my part to give you a summary -- and the widescreen format and new sound for this film alone would make the DVD worth owning. But with the exception of the Elfman alternative track, many of the first-rate extras viewers are coming to expect in these packages are, sadly, missing here.
Five stars for the film itself, but a low two for the extras, bringing this one to a soft three. Darn it.
on July 2, 1999
Leonard Maltin's just saying what he's supposed to say about a movie like this -- it's a skit stretched thin -- because that's what we've come to expect from the sorry run of the SNL mill turning hot characters into all-but-unwatchable films to make a quick buck. This is different. Just how different becomes clear upon repeat viewings. *Pee-Wee* is packed with liberatingly amusing incident. The film has its share of gags, but it's no *Airplane*-esque joke-a-thon -- the humor is character-driven, and the characters themselves (there's a lot more to this tale than Pee-Wee) are so marvelously strange yet at home in the odd America Burton et. al. have fashioned for them that the whole gloriously artificial enterprise takes on the air of an alternate pop-culture universe into which we are allowed to peer. It's as though everyone connected with the project were running on their own loopy fumes; see it once, and you'll want to breathe that rarified atmosphere again and again.
on December 30, 2013
Pee-wee Herman isn't for everybody and neither is this oddball little comedy movie from waaay back in 1985. You're either gonna LOVE this film and watch it over & over, laughing until your sides hurt, or you'll shut it off minutes after you start watching it, thinking it's absolutely the stupidest thing you've ever seen. Not much middle ground here. You can tell by my rating that I'm a fan who loves this movie. Director Tim Burton really proved his unique talents with this bizarre effort early in his career, crafting a pretty amazing movie with very little prep time & practically zero budget. Everything works somehow, and that's saying something since it's essentially a bunch of little comedy snippets loosely sewn together into a surreal, demented "road film." The music is a real treat, too. Composer Danny Elfman also seems to be one of those polarizing movie talents that folks either love to death or hate with a passion. Here, he seems so perfectly suited to the work that I cannot imagine this film without his musical contributions. This film wouldn't be half as much fun without Elfman's light, circus-like themes complimenting Burton's cotton-candy, fever-dream visuals. Fans know all the great scenes: Pee-wee's crazy house & opening Rube Goldberg breakfast scene, Large Marge, the biker bar, the studio chase finale... and they can probably quote most of the goofy dialogue, too. This movie is silly fun, never fails to put a smile on my face and makes me laugh out loud. That's comedy's job and this comedy does it like few others can. :-)
on November 2, 2004
This is one of the greatest films ever made. Not just comedies, but movies in general. Pee Wee Herman deserves to be remembered forever for this movie, because it was a stroke of pure genious. From Large Marge to Paris, Texas, this movie is a pure joy to watch that I cannot live without!
Paul Reubens does such an amazing job of playing an innocent child-like adult. His house is a kids dream house, and any grown-up who doesn't realize that place would be an absolute joy to live in doesn't deserve to be a grown-up! This movie is complete 80's nostalgia for me since I saw way too many times as a baby of the 80s. Oh yeah, and who can forget the pet-store scene! This movie rocks! That's right it does, it just completely rocks all!!!
on October 18, 2011
The picture quality is fantastic and although the audio doesn't quite reach the same height, the music score is very dynamic and makes the weaker sound effects less obvious. It's definitely the best presentation of this film I've ever experienced, except perhaps at the cinema, and I can't see it getting any better than the blu-ray anytime soon. Highly recommended!
on February 5, 2015
When I was 4 years old, Pee-Wee Herman was one of my favorite guys to watch. I had the whole chase scene at the end memorized, and even though I didn’t get a lot of the jokes, they still seemed weird and silly to me. When Pee-Wee’s Playhouse came on, it just made me like the guy even more. Years went by, and after some controversy with Paul Reubens, he quickly faded from the public eye. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he made a good comeback, and the beloved character is just as good as he was 20+ years ago. For whatever reason, I never went back and watched Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure until just recently. The last time I saw it was probably in 1990 or so, and all I remembered were a few parts in the beginning, and the big chase sequence, so I may as well have been watching it for the first time. I’m happy to say that the movie not only holds up, but it made me laugh out loud and feel good while watching it. How many times can you really say that for a movie- that it made you feel good? It wasn’t just select parts of the movie either. I felt like a little kid again, watching this big little kid go on a crazy adventure to get his bike back, and I felt like was right there with him.
The basic plot is simple- Pee-Wee Herman, if you don’t know him, is a man-child, who lives in what most kids would consider a dream home. It has all kinds of contraptions and weird objects that are there just to be fun or cooky, and his bike is even better. It has all kinds of insane features like jets, an ejection seat and more. His rich, whiny neighbor Francis wants this bike of course, and offers Pee-Wee a ton of money for it. Pee-Wee refuses to sell it for any amount of money, but one day when he’s out running errands, it gets stolen. Pee-Wee blacks out, an once he’s on his feet again, he sets out to find his bike. His journey will put him on a strange path with a man who’s on the run from the law, a spooky truck driver, a big gang of angry bikers, a huge movie studio lot, and much more.
The pacing of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is perfect. It never slows down, never has a moment that drags on, and none of the stops he makes feel out of place because of how zany the character is. Pee-Wee is a giant little boy in countless ways, right down to how he reacts to the cute girl at the bike shop (E.G. Daily) when she’s so obviously trying to get him to ask her out. When he and a potential friend are about to be stopped by the police, what does Pee-Wee do to get them by without any problems? Dress up like a woman! Nowhere in Pee-Wee’s tiny hiking bag (the old school kind with your stuff wrapped up in a blanket on a stick) should there be a disguise, but he does it a la Bugs Bunny, and the two manage to keep going. The whole movie is ridiculous fun, and it’s crazy to think that this was directed by Tim Burton when you look at the kind of stuff he’s put out over and over again for the last 10 years. I don’t want to give away anything else, because I’d like to think most people who read reviews on here are people who haven’t experienced the product on the page they’re looking at, rather than people who already have. I don’t want to ruin any of the hundreds of jokes in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, and it’s the kind of movie where you’ll notice something new on repeated viewings. I do have to say that the big chase at the end is just as tremendous as I remembered it.
If there’s anything that holds the movie down, it’s that now that we have better tvs, it’s easy to notice a lot of things that you couldn’t notice back in the 80s or 90s. In one scene where a bunch of animals are revealed in the night, you can see the black backdrop because of how the lighting is, and it -looks- like Pee-Wee’s on a stage, rather than outside. I’m sure a lot f parts of the movie were filmed on a stage, but when you see it now, the scene seems a little off because everything else looks so natural. That’s really it. All the acting, music and jokes are perfectly done, and even now at 29 years old, I still want Pee-Wee’s bike. I remember being 5 and the two things I wanted the most in the world were a Proton Pack from Ghostbusters, and Pee-Wee’s bike. It’s that cool.
It’s hard to believe, but we’re in 2015 now, and there are plenty of people who haven’t seen this movie, which is considered a classic by many. If you’re one of those people, and you’re looking for a happy movie full of crazy imagery and a wacky main character that isn’t over the top (that’s really hard to say, all things considered), I’m sure you’ll enjoy Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. The movie just breezes by, and when it’s over, you’ll want to watch it again and again.
on March 10, 2015
The movie itself is funny. My husband and I both watched it when we were kids and now that our kids are older, we wanted to watch it with them. They are 11 and 8, they liked it too.
The quality, that is a different thing. It was not good at all. We stopped 6 minutes in and switched over and watched it on Netflix!
on February 24, 2016
The combination of first-time director Tim Burton, and first-time composer Danny Elfman creates the perfect balance of surreal charm.
Everything from the soundtrack to the scenery to the overall story and characters just works. This is not a kid's movie, nor is it only an adult's movie. It's made for all ages.
I've enjoyed this movie since I was a kid because of the goofy situations and the breakfast machine at the beginning of the movie. Getting older, I started to enjoy this movie more for its message, the hilarious (and quotable) dialogue, and the down-to-earth characters. It's a movie that shows people from everywhere can be friends, and it'll have you smiling the whole ride.