Sep 102020
 

Beetlejuice is still a fun and creative movie from Tim Burton featuring Michael Keaton giving it his all in his few scenes as the titular character.

 

 

Beetlejuice
(1988)

Genre(s): Supernatural, Comedy
Warner Bros. | PG – 92 min. – $24.99 | September 1, 2020

Date Published: 09/10/2020 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Tim Burton
Writer(s): Michael McDowell & Larry Wilson (story), Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren (screenplay)
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder


DISC INFO:
Features: 3 Bonus Cartoons, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2


Audio (4K): English (Dolby Atmos), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (Dolby Digital 2.0), Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0), Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 1.85
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C


The studio provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.


THE MOVIE — 3.5/5


Note: This portion was copied from my 2008 Blu-ray and despite being 12 years later, my thoughts pretty much remain the same.

The 80s were chock full of classics like Predator, Commando, Batman… and Beetlejuice. For my money, the latter is probably the one that has not aged too well. I know I won’t make many friends by saying this, but I actually think it’s a bit overrated and this is coming from somebody who remembers enjoying it a decade or so ago. But over the 10+ years since I last watched this movie, it has not held up very well for me. I still liked it, overall, but I don’t feel it is one of the quintessential 1980s movies either.

The story, though, is simple: Married couple Adam (ALEC BALDWIN) and Barbara (GENA DAVIS) have a beautiful house and living the great and quant life in a small Connecticut town. On the way back from town to pick up a few things, their car narrowly misses a well placed dog and goes over a bridge into the water below. They somehow return home only to realize they’re actually dead! And to make matters somehow worse, their home has been sold to an odd family from New York City. The mother (CATHERINE O’HARA) has a strange taste in decorating; father (JEFFREY JONES) is a businessman; and the daughter (WINONA RYDER) is a bit gothic, though she can see the ghosts.

After dealing with the whole dead part, Adam and Barbara work on trying to rid this family from their home, but find the task difficult, especially after scaring the crap out of them, they only want to stay all the more (and make the home into a ghost museum of sorts). They turn to a bio-exorcist named Beetlejuice (Keaton) for help, but he has his own unique and nonsensical plans.

What was most striking about Beetlejuice wasn’t how 80s it looked with the style, albeit Burton’s unique style or the stop motion visual effects but the cast of who’s who 80s/early 90s stars. Alec Baldwin, while still visible with 30 Rock on TV, the others were especially in their prime during the era. Jeffrey Jones rise to cult fame came from 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Catherine O’Hara is, to me at least, best known as Kevin’s mom in the Home Alone movies; and then Geena Davis, a talented and charismatic actress who hasn’t been relevant since 1991’s Thelma & Louis (she was also very good in A League of Their Own). And the late 80s was the rise of Michael Keaton who got his break with Beetlejuice followed by Batman and Batman Returns.

Mind you, it’s not a knock on the movie, just an observation and it did not count against my rating of the film itself…

I know many can overlook the illogical plot and that’s fine because this is by all accounts memorable for Michael Keaton’s oddball performance, but that in itself was my problem with the film as a whole: there wasn’t enough of him. Maybe he had more screen time, but he never is really fully seen until about 45-minutes in (of 92-minute running time), after which he’s only full embodied for what seemed like only a few minutes. It’s interesting that the title character of a film is barely in a third of it.

Beetlejuice may not have lived up to me nostalgic side, but for what’s there and Burton’s always unique vision, it is certainly worth checking out one more time. Like other Tim Burton movies (*cough* Batman *cough*), it doesn’t exactly age too well, but there’s still plenty of fun that can be had. It is, on the other hand, probably perfect for viewing on Halloween night with friends and family. Beware of the PG rating as today it would definitely get a PG-13 for language, scary images and violence.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5


This two-disc comes housed in a standard black HD slim case and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. There are no bonus features on the 4K UHD disc.

Beetlejuice Animated Series Episodes:

  • A-Ha!
  • Skeletons in the Closet
  • Spooky Boo-Tique

Theatrical Trailer (1:27)

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


Warner Bros. releases Beetlejuice onto the 4K Ultra HD format where it’s presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio (versus the 1.78 open-matted AR on the Blu-ray). Although Tim Burton movies tend to be dark, his unique style and oft out-there designs do shine quite nicely in the 2160p high-definition resolution. Detail here is sharp and well defined while colors do have some nice pop be it Beetlejuice’s gross design, the otherworldly make-up or the great production designs.

AUDIO – 4.5/5


The audio has been upgraded from a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 to the newer Dolby Atmos, which honestly I found to be perhaps slightly better, but not especially significant. Dialogue does come through with good clarity but the biggest difference are during the more action-heavy sequences like the afterlife door opening, when Beetlejuice first rises up into “our world”, etc. Danny Elfman’s score comes across with some nice depth alongside the soundtrack.

 


OVERALL – 3.5/5


Overall, Beetlejuice is still a fun and creative movie from Tim Burton featuring Michael Keaton giving it his all in his few scenes as the titular character along with Winona Ryder who has some nice moments, playing emo before it was uncool and worthy of mocking. This 4K/Blu-ray combo pack has great video and audio transfers but sadly the features are lacking.

 

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