Top critical review
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Bright and hugely colourful zany comedy.
on 19 November 2000
You really need to be in the right mood to fully enjoy and appreciate the qualities of this film, Burton's first feature as director following his tour of duty as a Disney animator. His film-making apprenticeship is certainly reflected in this debut outing, a bright and hugely colourful zany comedy made in the style of a feature cartoon. Some of the set-pieces are truly original and brimming with vitality and off-beat humour. But you have to be at ease with the character of the eponymous hero, a grown-up body encompassing the soul and behaviour of a ten-year old, and an exaggerated ten-year old at that. Clearly there was sufficient interest in the character created by Reubens ...to spawn a sequel, "Big Top Pee-Wee". If you are unable to assimilate his creation into your sympathy, his adventures become galling as a result of his very screen presence and it is likely that the visual delights of the film will be lost to you. However, if you can accept Pee-Wee into your heart, you will be able to enjoy a hugely entertaining, at times very funny, and certainly very original picture bathed in a vividness and colourfulness which contrasts so markedly with the same director's "Batman", only four years later.