"Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice"
A young couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) are driving back from town one day when they crash their car and die. It takes them a while to realise though as they end up back in their house but with a new family, father (Jeffrey Jones), Step-mum (Catherine O’Hara) and Goth Daughter (Winona Ryder) moving in. As they become aware of their death they try to haunt the family in order to get them to leave but despite turning to the ‘Handbook for the Recently Deceased’ for help, they are unable to be seen. Instead they turn to a bio-exorcist called Betelgeuse, a crazed, perverted and unstable dead man who agrees to help scare the family off.
Unbelievably I’d never seen this film before having confused it in my head with Candyman, a film I saw aged about seven which caused nightmares for months. I’m so glad I’ve finally watched this bizarre comedy/horror. The film contains everything that the best Tim Burton films do; odd characters and locations, unusual and distinctive sets and darkly comic plotlines.
Michael Keaton is almost unrecognisable as Betelgeuse, to such an extent that my girlfriend who has seen the film before asked me who played the title character. He delivers an extraordinarily weird and wonderful performance, quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Winona Ryder is also great as the Goth teenager
She seems much more mature than she was at the time. Catherine O’Hara is good
in a quirky and unusual way. Other cast members tend to blend into the
background behind the more wacky characters and bold set design. Lydia
Something I liked about the film is how
manages to incorporate different types
of effects. I’m a big fan of stop motion, especially in the vane of Jason and the Argonauts and the original
Clash of the Titans which were
completed by the great stop motion creator Ray Harryhausen. Burton uses effects very similar to those
made famous by Harryhausen and indeed considers Mars Attacks! to be a tribute to the great pioneer. Other effects
used are some great puppetry, blue screen and prosthetics, all of which looks
fantastic but purposely cheap. Burton
I think that the film is incredibly funny in places and can be quite subtle at times. I was quite tired while watching and I’d like to see it again because I’m afraid I might have missed some of the subtler jokes. I think my favourite scene was the dancing around the table scene but there aren’t many bad scenes anywhere. In my opinion it trails off slightly towards the end as the various strands get tied together but I’d already had so much fun that this didn’t bother me too much. The film is only 92 minutes long so things move at quite a fast pace anyway.
Beetlejuice is a quirky and funny film and the sort of thing I wish Tim Burton was making today. Its fantastic looking and unlike anything you see today. Michael Keeton gives a career performance and this is a character I’d like to see him return to.