Beetlejuice

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By: The Dweeb

 

August 2002

DVD Features

Video: 1.85:1 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1

Interactive Menus,
Production Notes,
Scene Access,
Theatrical Trailer

Theatrical release: 1988
DVD released on 9/3/1997 by Warner Bros.
Running time of 92 minutes

Starring: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Michael Keaton, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder

Director: Tim Burton

Plot: After Barbara and Adam Maitland were killed in a car crash, they find themselves trapped as ghosts in their beautiful New England farmhouse. Their peace is disrupted when a yuppie family, the Deitzs, buy their house. The Maitland’s are too nice and harmless as ghosts and all their efforts to scare the Dietz’s away were unsuccessful. They eventually turn to another ghost ‘Beetlejuice’ for help..

 

 

This review reads like stereo instructions. Well, this movie could read like stereo instructions, but Tim Burton didn’t let that happen. Welcome into the twisted mind of this popular filmmaker. Beetlejuice takes the familiar haunted house film and twists it into this bizarre comedy, well, really dark comedy. Its probably the strangest perspective look on death and the afterlife I’ve ever seen. This film comes from an era of Tim Burton’s finest work, the late 80′s, where he cranked out a few unique films like this one.

Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice is just perfect, why he doesn’t do more outlandish stuff like this I don’t know. I guess he prefers the more reserved characters that he plays now. Keaton really steals the show in this one, flinging out one liners and snakes from his pocket at every turn. Just don’t say his name. “Because if I tell you, you tell your friends… your friends are callin’ me on the horn all the time… and I gotta show up at shopping centers for openings and sign autographs and sh*t like that and it makes my life a HELL. OK? A living HELL.” Love the makeup job.

Another great performance I thought was done by Winona Ryder as Lydia Deitz. When I think of this actress, I always picture her from this movie. Here she’s this dark brooding teenager, who wouldn’t be with parents like that. This role may have locked her into playing many other similar characters in future films, this was only her third movie at the time. We see a little bit of Lydia in a lot of her characters.

When I watched this movie again, I noticed it hasn’t aged very well. I think if Burton would have waited another five or six years, computer animation would have really worked for it. The special effects for the most part are stop motion, and it tends to be a little distracting. Especially that snake thing, very poorly matted against real objects and people. Maybe someday they will remake this movie, but it will probably suck. That’s a nice outlook I have isn’t it? Lydia must be creeping into my brain.

The DVD they released for this movie is okay, but its very plain jane. There isn’t much on here as far as extras. The film itself can look rather grainy at times, I noticed a lot of artifacts, even a film break at one point. They picked a really poor print to transfer to disc. The sound at least is very good, presented in Dolby Digital. Plus you can shake your booty to calypso music if you desire, there is a soundtrack only option. There is also the choice of either watching in full screen or widescreen.

Because this DVD is such poor quality, I can’t give it my highest rating, especially for the retail price. You might just be better off catching the endless reruns on TBS.

Reviewer’s Opinion: BORROW IT!!

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  1. [...] reviewed this DVD a long time ago, and even then I complained about its lack of quality features. At least for this [...]

  2. [...] not the top. Who could be more perfect to direct such a film, the man who gave us such classics as Beetlejuice and Edward [...]

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