Monday, November 12, 2007

Tim Burton: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

Burton's first full length motion picture was as a director for comic persona Pee-Wee Herman(Paul Rubens), the star of a popular stage act called "The Pee-Wee Show" and later the popular Saturday morning television show "Pee-Wee's Playhouse." (How people ever thought that Pee-Wee was a character for children I'll never know.)  Though critically lambasted upon it's initial release, "Adventure" has gone on to be something of a cult classic; Burton's involvement with the project has made many look back at the film anew.  Though the movie lacks the director's signature mise en scene, it nevertheless exudes a idiosyncratic visual style and offbeat sensibility that is a good fit for both director and star. Hint's of Burton's genius are glimpsed sporadically and make the film worth watching again.  Of course, Paul Reubens is hilarious and deeply committed to the lunacy of his adenoidal, man-child character. Reason enough to watch the film right there.  Perhaps, most importantly, it was the first collaboration between Burton and composer Danny Elfman. Elfman's eerily childish timbre would be a perfect fit for a director's who's movies are grown-up realizations of (somewhat twisted) childhood fantasies. Perhaps "Adventure's" best scene is Pee-Wee's encounter with mysterious Truck Driver "Large Marge." For your viewing pleasure....

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