In October of some year, three student filmmakers went into the woods to shoot a documentary about "The Blair Thumb…"…without a tripod.
The Blair Witch Project is an easy target for parody. Soon after its release I remember seeing movies on local video shelves starring Pauly Shore and Linda Blair with titles like The Bunk Witch Project, The Blair Bitch Project, De Hip-Hop Witch, and The Bogus Witch Project. And that's not including the porn film titles I've seen (err, uh…I mean, not SEEN. Just, uh…you know…seen. Uh…never mind). As you can see, I think that the Blair Witch comedy knock-offs have run their course. Or, maybe not. Now comes director Steve Odekerk (The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Patch Adams) and his parody The Blair Thumb. Starring a bunch of cuticles and some very strange eyeballs, The Blair Thumb is the second in an upcoming series of movie spoofs starring real thumbs (the first being a spoof of Star Wars, Thumb Wars Episode I: The Phantom Cuticle). The Blair Thumb is now on DVD care of Image Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Does "The Blair Thumb" really exist? This is a question posed by three student filmmakers (who are really just thumbs, but why ruin the suspense?) who are about to embark on a quest to film a documentary about the existence of evil. Led by Stressy (Megan Cavanaugh) and her two cohorts Jish (Jim Jackman) and Vic (Steve Odekerk), the threesome are about to come face to face with the most evil force the world as ever known! Will they discover horrible hangnails? Terrible toe fungus? Or will this filmmaking team come face to face with…The Blair Thumb!?!
The best compliment I can give The Blair Thumb is that it knows its limitations: clocking in at around 28 minutes, the filmmakers knew that was all audiences would need for a film of this magnitude. Just when I was starting to get bored, the movie quickly ended (with a funny take-off of the end of The Blair Witch Project).
So, the major question everyone is wondering: is The Blair Thumb funny? Yes, to some degree. This isn't a fall-on-your-butt comedy filmette. There are some funny moments (I especially liked it when the thumbs were running through the woods at night. One character screams "Get back to the tent!" and another quips "Oh sure, the tent's safe! Nothing can ever penetrate the nylon!"). While the movie is silly and broad, it also helps to have seen The Blair Witch Project and have a working knowledge of the horror genre. However, that's not required—this is, after all, from the guy who brought us the Ace Ventura movies. You don't need an encyclopedia set and a think tank to figure out the jokes.
As parodies go, The Blair Thumb is better than some, yet not nearly as funny as others. The thumbs are certainly weird and intriguing to watch (their eyes are too close together, they have no noses, and their mouths are humongous). Many moments made me chuckle (I loved it when two small town hicks divulged that their favorite actor was Ned Beatty of Deliverance fame), and a few other just made me groan (note to filmmakers: excessive screaming for screaming's sake is not always funny).
If The Blair Thumb is anything like Thumb Wars Episode I: The Phantom Cuticle, this should be easy to find for around ten bucks or less. If you like wacky comedy as portrayed by ugly thumbs, then you've found your calling with The Blair Thumb.
The Blair Thumb is presented in a full frame version (which is, I'm sure, the original aspect ratio). Colors and black and whites are all even and well balanced. Since this isn't a movie that relies heavily on a crisp picture, The Blair Thumb includes a more than passable transfer.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as Dolby Digital 2.0. Why a 5.1 track was put on this disc is beyond me, but there it is. The 5.1 kicks in a few times when some "scary" music is playing in the background, but otherwise this is a relatively subdued track. No subtitles are included on this disc.
A few special features are included on this thumbtastic DVD, including two separate commentary tracks: a "sane" commentary and an "insane" commentary. The sane commentary track includes participants Steve Odekerk, producer Paul Marshall, effects man Dave Merrill, director Tom Portugal, and editor Tim Rosehow. As expected, this is a chatty track that has everyone recounting stories and telling jokes as fast as a barrage of gunfire. The insane commentary track is the equivalent of watching six drunk frat guys watching their favorite movie. Much yelling, many jokes, lots of obnoxiousness. You just gotta see it to believe it.
Also included is a "behind-the-scene" featurette, which is just a reason for the creators to do some more thumbatic comedy with our stubby little friends. Interviews abound as all the "thumb" people make jokes, recount fake production stories, and just act goofy. If you liked the movie, you'll get a kick out of this feature. Some outtakes are humorous flubs by the thumbs (not really outtakes, these look as if they were scripted or improvised). Two mildly funny deleted scenes are included, one about the "wood shark" and another where Jish complains. A section filled with storyboards will make fans of cheap cartoons happy.
Finally, there are two "teaser trailers for The Blair Thumb, plus trailers for the upcoming (?) thumb movies Bat Thumb, Thumbtanic and Frankenthumb.
Have you EVER seen a movie about talking thumbs that involves a gag about urination? Me neither. The aesthetics alone of how a thumb could pee just blows my mind. For around ten bucks or so this isn't a horrible stretch on your wallet. The Blair Thumb has a few hearty chuckles, and the extra features are pretty extensive for a movie well under a half hour.
The Blair Thumb is free to go, as is Image for having the gall to put this out on DVD.
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