HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
  • Full Frame
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital Surround
    English, Dutch
  • Deleted scenes
  • 2 Teaser trailer
  • 5 Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Animated menus
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Interviews
  • 23 Storyboards

Bat Thumb

Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 29 mins . PG . PAL


Hot on the heels of Steve Oedekerk’s riotous Star Wars spoof Thumb Wars comes the newest film to get the funny yet freakishly-disturbing 'Thumbation' treatment. Mercilessly despoiling both the dark Tim Burton classic and Adam West’s camp 1960s television series, Bat Thumb is a digit-laden re-imagining of Bob Kane’s nocturnal caped crusader.

A story that is familiar to all, Bat Thumb recounts the adventures of millionaire Wuce Bain (Oedekerk) and his masked alter ego; an avenging angel who, striking mild unease into the criminal population of Gaathumb City, is dedicated to cleaning up the streets of the crime-laden metropolis. And life is certainly looking good for our masked crusader. For despite never quite mastering the art of the action one-liner, Bat Thumb is finding life as a super hero agrees with him; he’s a hit with the ladies, and the scourge of timber-wielding thugs throughout the city.

"Are there any women there? – Great, I’ll be right over!"

But trouble is on the way in the form of Bat Thumb’s arch nemesis - a criminal genius by the name of No Face - and while Wuce is bedding the self professed blonde and hot chick Vicky Nail, No Face is robbing the Gaathumb Savings and Bank to fund his latest evil scheme. For No Face has finally perfected ‘the formula’ - a gas capable of removing the faces from all the residents of Gaathumb. And so, accompanied by his whiny, uninvited side-kick Blue Jay, Bat Thumb sets off to save the day. But when our mildly dynamic duo fall into No Face’s clutches, it looks like curtains for our heroes and for the city. Can Bat Thumb escape a highly elaborate, domino-powered trap to save the citizens of Gaathumb…?

If you’ve yet to see one of Oedekerk’s 'Thumbation' productions, it’s hard to describe the experience of watching human digits caper about miniature sets from your favourite films. Digitally endowed with a variety of eyes and mouths from their human actors, the effect is weird, but funny - very, very funny. Indeed, with only their eyes, eyebrows and mouths with which to create a performance, the actors are forced to exaggerate and overact. There’s nothing close to subtlety here, but it all adds greatly to the humour. Despite the overacting, the characters so-created are remarkably ‘believable’; so-much-so that after ten minutes you find yourself forgetting that you’re watching thumbs at all – a pretty amazing feat.

With less emphasis on digital effects this time around, Bat Thumb relies more heavily on costumes and characters to sell the parody. Drawing on every conceivable cliché from the franchise, including homo-erotic references and "SOCK!" and "BIFF!" melee from the original Adam West series, as well as a brooding, verbally stilted Bat Thumb cast in rippling rubber, Oedekerk and his team have managed to capture both the dark broody feel of Burton’s opus, and the self-deprecating capering of Batman’s first incarnation. Remarkably, the two sit nicely together and the results are an amusing spoof that had me chuckling, and cringing, in all the right places.


As with Image Entertainment’s release of Thumb Wars, with only half an hour of full-frame footage on a single-layer disc, Bat Thumb displays an almost flawless video transfer. Indeed, beautifully sharp and completely free of aliasing artefacts, the image conveys the often-subtle detail found in the sets and costumes flawlessly with thumb-prints visible on the faces of most of Gaathumb’s residents. Importantly, this high level of detail continues into the depths of the many shadows to be found lurking around the dark steamy streets of the city.

Meanwhile, colours are also faithfully rendered (indicated by perfect, erm, skin tones) and these are supported by deep solid blacks. Sullied by neither compression nor film-to-video artefacts, the only blemish in the otherwise excellent image is inherent in the source material - a small amount of background grain that accompanies the action throughout. But despite this small flaw, Bat Thumb looks great; maintaining the series’ perfect track record for video transfers.


Like Thumb Wars before it, the region 4 release of Bat Thumb misses out on the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix afforded other regions; supplying instead a serviceable yet uninspiring Dolby Digital surround track. Without sampling the 5.1 mix it’s hard to discern what we’ve actually missed out on, but if the surround mix is anything to go by, then the answer is probably – not much; especially considering Oedekerk’s obvious budget constraints. For the surround channels, whilst active for much of the running time, are limited to providing only a balanced portion of the score; a musical accompaniment that takes its cues from both Batman’s old and new incarnations as scenes require. The remainder of the sound is rooted squarely in the front channels, with dialogue coming clearly and distinctly from the centre and foley effects distributed evenly, with reasonable channel separation, across all three. The subwoofer is used subtly and sparingly to add body to the more dramatic portions of the score, as well as the thumps and thuds of plastic arms on digits and the whoosh of the flame fuelled thumb-mobile. Overall, whilst certainly good enough to sell the parody, Bat Thumb’s audio mix is nothing special.


As is becoming standard for the 'Thumbation' titles, Bat Thumb defies the expectations of its rather meagre running time to provide a quite reasonable number of extras - all accessed via a set of nicely animated menus.

  • Commentary – director David Bourla, DOP Mike Deprez, set dresser Frank Kowal and production designer Jorg Dubin: These four wacky guys bounce off each other for the duration of the commentary; taking the piss out of their creation and making faux-technical comments about the lighting, acting, direction and so on. Reasonably entertaining, but definitely only good for a single viewing.

  • Behind the Scenes: Some piss-take footage of the thumbs on the set, getting costumes arranged and ruining takes with flatulence.

  • Deleted scenes: Three small cuts from the finished production show more toffs at Wuce Bain’s party, and his drunk butler Fred. Nothing to get excited about.

  • Cast Interviews: (3:48) interviews with the thumb actors about working on the film. Some great laughs here.

  • Storyboards: 23 images covering scenes from throughout the film.

  • Bat Thumb Teaser: (0:37) A great rip off of the dark brooding trailers for burtons original.

  • Cartoon Teaser: (0:41) A weird short that uses over-painted stills from the film to introduce the main characters.

  • Thumbation trailers: Full frame trailers for current and upcoming releases Thumb Wars, Thumbtanic, The Blair Thumb, Frankenthumb, and The Godthumb.


While slightly less impressive than Thumb Wars, Bat Thumb is still an entertaining (if short) distraction. A well-written parody of the Batman franchise, and filled to bursting with off-beat and entertaining thumbs, most fans should get a laugh from the insider jokes and crass humour. Certainly, if you enjoyed Thumb Wars then I definitely recommend you check out this release too. However, if you are new to Oedekerk’s brand of humour and Thumbation's unique visuals, then I suggest a rental would be a great start. Enjoy!

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2303
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
      And I quote...
    "Another two thumbs up…"
    - Gavin Turner
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Toshiba SD-2108
    • TV:
          Panasonic TC-68P90A TAU (80cm)
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Speakers:
          B&W 602
    • Centre Speaker:
          B&W CC6 S2
    • Surrounds:
          JM Lab Cobalt SR20
    • Subwoofer:
          B&W ASW-500
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
      Recent Reviews:
    by Gavin Turner

    Daddy Day Care
    "Steadfastly walking the firm, middle ground of ‘family-values’ entertainment, it’s a light, sometimes funny and often enjoyable film full of cute kids and obvious gags. "

    Please Teacher! Volume 1 - Hot For Teacher
    "It’s one of the quintessential schoolboy fantasies…"

    "What's in a title? Returner may well be a self-fulfilling prophecy… "

    Hulk: CE
    "Collector's or Special Edition? That is the question..."

    "Combining camp Summer-blockbuster with compelling, human drama, Ang Lee's Hulk is essential viewing."

      Related Links
      None listed


    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright © DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5