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In the surreal, wonderfully cartoon-like comedy Beetlejuice, a childless couple, Barbara and Adam, move to the country only to be killed in a car accident while passing over a quaint covered bridge. Their ghosts return to their beloved Victorian home, and find the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, which not only lets them know they're dead, but comes in handy when they learn that they can continue to live in their house, even though a new family—from the land of the living—is moving in. The new owners, fresh from the city, are quite a strange group themselves, and include the overpowering hipster mom Delia, her pompous SoHo interior designer Otho, her meek husband Charles, and their morose teenage daughter Lydia, who befriends the ghostly couple. Though the threesome attempt to scare Delia from ruining the house with redecoration and her unpleasant personality, their attempts fail. As a last resort, they call upon the services of the demented, terrifying, but hilarious "bioexorcist," "Beetlejuice".
For more about Beetlejuice and the Beetlejuice Blu-ray release, see Beetlejuice Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on November 12, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder
Director: Tim Burton
» See full cast & crew
Beetlejuice Blu-ray Review
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, November 12, 2008
I am a huge Tim Burton fan. His unique and creative mind is never ending, and when combined with a Danny Elfman score, you are sure to have an interesting if not creepy adventure. Add an all star cast (of the time), you have a sure recipe for success. As usual for a Tim Burton film, we are treated with a cast of unusual characters, unusual creatures, and an unusually creative storyline, things that Tim Burton does best. Made in 1988, and now released as a twentieth anniversary edition, its good seeing Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin looking so young, and having fun with this Tim Burton creation.
After the success of Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Tim Burton was considered an "A" list director, and as such began receiving many scripts to look over. He found them mostly unimaginative and lacking in creativity. Instead of pursing them, he instead began working on the script for Batman while working on Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice's budget was set for $13 million dollars, with $1 million set aside for effects only. Considering the visual effects included stop motion, replacement animation, prosthetics, puppetry and blue screen backgrounds, $1 million seems rather a rather paltry amount for them. Burton wanted his visual effects to look like the movies he grew up on, so he wanted to make them look cheap and purposely fake looking. He was definitely a success, as the movie won an Academy award for its make up in 1988.
Adam and Barbara Maitland (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis), the ideal couple decides to spend their vacation at home rather than going out of town. Adam needs some supplies from his hardware store, so He and Barbara set out for town. On the way back as they are crossing a bridge, a dog gets in the way and causes them to go over the bridge. When they return home, they are spirits, having died in the crash. Their world is turned over even more when the Deetzes move in. The Deetzes, Charles (Jeffrey Jones) his wife Delia (Catherine O' Hara) and daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) are one of the most dysfunctional families around. Charles has cracked up, Delia is neurotic, and Lydia thinks she is the Princess of Darkness. As the Deetzes settle in, Lydia spots Adam and Barbara in a window, and seek to discover who they are. However Lydia is the only person that can see Adam and Barbara, so when she tries to explain to her parents that they have ghosts, they do not believe her. Delia trying to get used to suburban life invites interior decorator friend Otho (Glen Shadix) to come and fix up the place. This imposition horrifies Adam and Barbara, and they set out to scare the Deetzes away. None of their efforts seem to work, so they end up hiring Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a freelance "bio-exorcist" to scare them away. However Beetlejuice has another plan, that plan excludes marrying Lydia so he can live in the land of the living again. Beetlejuice is out of control though, and pushes his own agenda. The Maitland's and Lydia decide to team up to defeat him, and banish him forever to the afterlife.
Beetlejuice Blu-ray, Video Quality
This freshly minted 1080p/VC-1 encode framed at an accurate 1:85:1 aspect ratio is just beautiful to look at. It is one of the most natural looking films that I have seen come to Bluray disc in while. The source is pristine, without a hint of physical blemishes such as scratches, dirt and pops. Blacks are very inky, and in some places crushed and muddy, but only in some of the darker scenes. Contrast can sometimes look a little crushed on the bottom end, but it is not that distracting. The color palette is very well saturated, with red being particularly striking. Grain structure is very fine, well managed, and nicely preserved with no signs of compression noise, DNR, or artifacts. Detail and fine details are quite good; sharpness is very good with no presence of edge enhancement. There are some shots that look a little soft, but I attribute that to the source being film based. This twenty year old film looks dang good for its age! Good job Warner.
Beetlejuice Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are a lot of tracks to choose from on this release. There is a very good 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track at 16/48khz, a 5.1 English Dolby Digital track at 640kbps, a French Dolby Digital track at 192kbps, a Spanish, Latin, German, Italian, and Japanese stereo Dolby Digital tracks. Subtitles are designated in 14 different languages. Naturally I chose the Dolby TrueHD track as it is superior to the rest. This mix is very front centric, but very spacious sounding with good envelopment. The surrounds are used to open up the mix a bit, but are largely silent throughout the movie. Bass is mainly handled by the main front speakers, but there is occasional LFE usage to support the bass in the front channels. Dialog is always clear and never buried in the overall mix. Danny Elfman's film score is well recorded, so much so you can tell the orchestra is smaller than what is commonly used in today scores. I have always like the creative way he uses instrument textures and nice melodic running instrumental lines in his music, and they come forth well here. The Dolby digital track at 640kbps has a truncated sound field in comparison to the lossless track. It sounds flat, not as dynamic, and muddy in comparison. This soundtrack does a good job of enhancing the storyline without becoming the focus of the film.
Beetlejuice Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Beetlejuice comes to Bluray disc with a fair amount of extras, but I expected a lot more coming from an anniversary edition.
"Beetlejuice" Cartoon Episodes (36 minutes) : Includes animated episodes from the Beetlejuice television series. Featured here is "A-Ha!" "Skeletons in the Closet" and "Spooky Boo-Tique" presented in a 4:3 (gray bars on sides) aspect ratio, and encoded in 480p. While there is presence of dirt and scratches, images are decent enough.
Music Only Audio Track features Danny Elfman's score isolated from the dialog and effects, and encoded in 640kbps 5.1 Dolby Digital audio.
Theatrical Trailer (1.5 minutes) Presented in 1:78:1, encoded in 480p with stereo audio.
"The Beginners' Guide to Seeing Ghost" booklet: is an accordion folded pamphlet featuring photographs of the film's major ghosts, and eight tips on how to identify spirits.
CD Sampler: Contains five tracks from Elfman's orchestra score, and the "Banana Boat Song" made famous by Harry Belafonte.
Beetlejuice Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Danny Elfman and Tim Burton's history extends back to 1985 with the movie Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Elfman has scored all of Burton movies with the exception of three movies. That would be twelve films in total, and when you look back at those films, they are all critically acclaimed movies, with many of them getting either Academy or Grammy recognition. Beetlejuice was only their second film together, but you could see their genus combination quickly evolving. Just like all of the movies they have done together, this one has stood the test of time. It was as enjoyable this viewing as it was sitting in the Ziegfeld Theater in 1988. In my humble opinion this is a must buy for any movie collector, and if you already own the DVD, get the Bluray and sell the DVD.
Beetlejuice: Other Editions
Blu-ray bundles with Beetlejuice (6 bundles)
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Off the wall, witty and one of Tim Burton's most unique films, Ed Wood makes its Blu-ray debut and is up for preorder. The fascinating biography of this unique director and the Touchstone movie are the subject of this Silver Screen column with a history of the ...
• New Details and Date for Beetlejuice Blu-ray - August 6, 2008
Warner Home Video has announced new details and a new date for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Beetlejuice: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition', now due to hit store shelves on October 7th. The release, which will come out three weeks after the DVD, will come on ...
• Warner Announces Beetlejuice for Blu-ray - May 26, 2008
Warner Home Video has announced that they will bring a newly restored version of 'Beetlejuice' to Blu-ray on September 16th, day-and-date with the DVD re-release. This 20th Anniversary Deluxe edition will feature 1080p VC-1 video accompanied by a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. ...
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