Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)

Genres - Comedy, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy, Family-Oriented Comedy, Road Movie  |   Release Date - Jul 26, 1985 (USA), Aug 9, 1985 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Brendon Hanley

Director Tim Burton's first feature film already displayed his distinctive visual style. The absurdist comedy has a look reminiscent of German expressionist movies of the 1920s, filtered through a pop-art sensibility of cartoons, horror serials, and Gothic fairy tales. The result is a surreal, mystical world, yet one very close to our own. Much like Burton's subsequent heroes, Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, Pee-Wee (Paul Reubens) travels through this dreamy world as an unabashedly quirky, innocent outsider. The character of Pee-Wee Herman was the creation of comedians Reubens and Phil Hartman, and it had been a staple of Reubens' nightclub act for years before the film. Reubens selected Burton to direct the Pee-Wee feature on the basis of his Disney-produced short Frankenweenie, which the studio had deemed unacceptable for kids. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure propelled Burton to many opportunities, including the first Batman, even as it predictably typecast Reubens.