Thumbtanic (1998)

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Released 21-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Trailer-Thumb Wars;Frankenthumb;Bat Thumb;The Godthumb;Blair Thumb
Theatrical Trailer
Audio Commentary
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 26:38
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Todd Portugal

Warner Vision
Starring Steve Oedekerk
Mary Jo Keenen
Mark DeCarlo
Paul Greenberg
Jim Hope
David Floyd
Rob Paulsen
Megan Cavanagh
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"One Love. A Thousand Thumbs. Two Lifeboats".

     Thumbtanic. The very name conjures images of unimaginable luxury, and yet who can hear that name without thinking of the tens of hundreds of digits who lost their lives on her maiden voyage. Fingerprints erased from the face of the world, smudged beyond recognition.

     This film is a heart-rending depiction of one of the most tragic of all journeys, working hand-in-glove with a beautiful love story handsomely told in all its digital glory. The story is related through flashbacks of a now aged thumb, Geranium (played by Mary Joe Keenen), survivor of the fateful trip from England to America. We learn how she meets Jake (Steve Oedekerk), a poorer, shorter, lighter thumb she meets onboard. Jake, a talented but penniless artist, cannot believe his luck, having won free passage on this skyscraper of the sea by winning a bout of...thumb-wrestling. The two find love on the ocean waves, shortly before the Thumbtanic strikes an iceberg and is destroyed before it can reach its destination. Sadly, nobody manages to discover in time that the hold is full of (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) inflatable life-rafts, iceberg radars and hull patch kits before tragedy strikes. If you are familiar with the slightly longer "Titanic", the story will be quite familiar - I say 'quite' because Oedekerk introduces a few surreal twists to this version of the story. Any sensitive fans of Celine Dion and Kate Winslett should avoid this movie.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with the work of Steve Oedekerk, the above paragraphs will be a little puzzling. The basic idea of his "filmettes" is that he spoofs major films, making use of costumed thumbs (yes...thumbs), with superimposed eyes and mouths and with disturbingly absent noses, to play all of the roles. Whilst this may sound a little surreal - and it is - it is also rather funny in places. In Thumbtanic, the scenes on the prow of the ship and the ship sinking scenes are laugh-out-loud enjoyable.

     The stage dressing, props, costumes and voice acting are all of a very, very high standard. The extensive use of CGI effects are extremely well done, and the quality of the cinematography would put many a fully-fledged modern blockbuster to shame. The shots of the boat in the water are truly impressive.

    Eschewing the temptation to make use of famous hand models (rumours that David Duchovny was approached for the role of Jake after his cameo appearance in Zoolander are no more than hearsay), the cast is made up of a handful of relative newcomers. The director however, is not such a "green" thumb.

     Steve Oedekerk is a multi-faceted player in the world of cinema. He has directed genuine full-length feature films including "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" and "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist", whilst as a producer his resume includes "Patch Adams" and the upcoming "Kung Pow 2: Tongue of Fury". As an actor, he voices characters in his "Thumbation" series as well as appearing in several "proper" films like "High Strung" and "Nothing to Lose". His talents extend even further to include writing credits for the excellent "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" and the slightly less excellent "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps". This is one talented guy.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The overall video transfer of this disc is very good indeed.

    The filmette is presented in a ratio of 1.33:1 which is the original televised aspect ratio. It is not therefore 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very sharp and does not suffer from grain.

    Blacks are solid with no low-level noise evident. Colours are bright and lively where needed, with only occasional over-saturation and colour bleeding of the reds used in the boiler-room sequences.

    The transfer is free from significant MPEG artefacts. The only film-to-video artefact is some noticeable aliasing evident on a few occasions - mainly ship railings - for example at 11:32. Edge enhancement is not an issue per se, but there are a few occasions where a slight (green) coloured edge can be seen due to the superimposing of the thumbs against the scenery (green-screen).

    Film artefacts - scratches and flecks - are totally absent.

    There are two subtitle tracks present; English and Dutch. On watching the English subtitles, they follow the dialogue well.

    This is a single-sided and single layered (DVD5) disc, and therefore has no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The overall audio quality of this disc is very good with no major defects witnessed.

    The main audio is an adequate Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack in English encoded at 224 kbps - the surround flag is embedded. Additionally, there are French, German and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks available, also encoded at 224 kbps. The director's commentary track is in Dolby Digital 2.0 (English) at 224kbps.

     Listening to the main English soundtrack, the dialogue was always clear.

    Music plays a supporting role, particularly in the dramatic and romantic scenes of the filmette - with the obvious inclusion of a cruel, yet very funny, lampoon of Celine Dion's strangely popular "My Heart Will Go On". This version, by Stevine Odion (sic) is entitled "My Heart is a Thumb", and inspires similar emotions to the original. The music track is generally well suited to the on-screen action at all times

    The surround channels were quietly used throughout for the background music and subtle background effects.

    The subwoofer was silent.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are several entertaining extras on this disc.


    The menus are well put together, with swirling video effects and short clips from the film to accompany selections. They offer the choice of audio selections, extra features or one of fourteen chapter stops.


    Theatrical trailers for several of Oedekerk's other "Thumbation" movies:

     These are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack in English, encoded at 224 Kbps. They all made me laugh, and whetted my appetite to see more of this craziness.

Audio Commentary

     This is a commentary running for the 26:38 duration of the movie, with the main audio playing quietly in the background. Steve Oedekerk, Dave Merrell (video effects supervisor), Jorg Dubin (set builder) and Paul Marshal (producer) provide highly enjoyable and intriguing (although probably occasionally hoax) insights into the making of this miniature epic. Not too many trade secrets are revealed, but the witty banter makes for a worthwhile viewing experience nonetheless.


    A short (0:47) sequence of pencil sketches illustrating original storyboard ideas for the movie.

Cast Interviews

    An amusing series of on-the-set "interviews" with several of the cast thumbs running for 3:35.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 DVD of this movie appears to be essentially the same as the Region 4. The Region 1 includes an additional English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, but misses out on the trailers for "The Godthumb" and "The Blair Thumb". In this instance - I'd call it evens.


    Thumbtanic is a half-hour of good ole fashioned fun, with humour that hits the mark far more often than it misses. For a short film, the production values are very high indeed. For those of you who like the work and the humour of Steve Oedekerk, this disc will not disappoint. For anyone who has ever owned a thumb, or for fans of the movie "Titanic" with a weird sense of humour, this will certainly tickle your funnybone. With a running time of only 26:38, the jokes come thick and fast but will probably wear a little thin on repeated viewing once the initial element of surprise has been used up, so it's "One Thumb Up" from this reviewer.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good, without any significant flaws.

    The extras are surprisingly good for such a short feature.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Saturday, May 03, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationONKYO TX-DS484
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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