“Beetlejuice” was Tim Burton’s second film, and it’s the best live-action representation of the highly imaginative director’s style, at a time before his name became an adjective.
The kooky comedy is about married lovebirds (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who die, yet live in their comfy country home as ghosts. New city folk move in, much to the spooks’ chagrin, so they hire the freelance scare services of Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) to make them move out.
He’s the self-proclaimed “ghost with the most,” but he’s little more than a rude, crude annoyance, which, of course, provides the movie with its best bits. Although “Beetlejuice” isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, it’s forever amusing and has aged reasonably well, remaining a quaint comic fantasy. Its stop-motion animation effects may be antiquated two decades later, but they’ re more inventive and enjoyable than today’s computer-born alternative.
For an anniversary edition, this DVD lacks in extras. The picture looks good with Burton’s colors burning ever so bright, but where’s a commentary or a documentary? The sole addition from the existing disc is the inclusion of three cartoons from the 1989 ABC “Beetlejuice” series “ cute, but disposable.
A word of warning to parents: Despite being rated PG, the film’s midpoint features a rather brazen dropping of the F-bomb. That’s not something I remembered, but by the time my kids heard it, it was too late to reach for the “mute” button. —Rod Lott