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Beetlejuice [Blu-ray] | DVD Review

Unfortunately Beetle Juice has aged less like wine and more like that forgotten meal in the tupperware at the back of the fridge.

Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice is 20 years old and with that anniversary comes Warner Brothers “Special Edition” anniversary re-release on DVD and introductory release on Blu-Ray. Unfortunately Beetle Juice has aged less like wine and more like that forgotten meal in the tupperware at the back of the fridge. Not entirely inedible, but definitely not the way you remember it tasting.

Burton’s second feature film (the follow up to Pee-Wee’s Big adventure) is a story about a married couple who happen to find themselves dead and haunting their old country house when an obnoxious upper-middle family and their morose daughter move in, not allowing them to…um…rest in peace. In order to rid themselves of their unwanted guests they engage the services of a psychotic poltergeist named Beetleguise. It is at this point that hilarity is supposed to ensue.

It does not.

You will achieve an occasional smile and the odd chuckle, but most of the humor feels unsophisticated with bouts eye-roll inducing droll. Even the much loved and lauded “Banana boat scene” has lost its former luster and most unfortunate of all is the title character and how thoroughly unlikeable he’s become. There is no denying that Michael Keaton gives a terrific performance, however it’s a terrific performance of a really obnoxious character. He’s loud and abrasive and not really funny.

At the time of its release, Beetle Juice was something fresh and unexpected, and was big hit upon its initial release followed by a long and very strong following as a rental. But it’s not easy for a genre-comedy to age well and unfortunately Beetlejuice just isn’t in the same league as other films like Young Frankenstein and Ghostbusters.

Your 20th birthday is usually a pretty big event. A milestone certainly. Now imagine that it was your 20th birthday and all you got were some gift certificates for McDonald’s and someone had forgotten to order the cake. There is no love shown to this film on any level on this disc. The picture and audio quality are decent, but nothing to get excited over for Blu-ray and the special features are just… ugg.

All we get is the trailer, a soundtrack sampler CD and 3 episodes of the Beetlejuice animated series that are just unwatchable and somehow manage to make BJ even more insufferable.

Missing are the things that we have come to expect on DVD’s that are promoted as anniversary editions. Things like; director commentary, interviews, making of, a look back, and for a film like Beetlejuice a few stills of concept work.
Maybe there holding off on all that for the inevitable 25th anniversary release.

Soundtrack Sampler
The sampler has 5 tracks consisting of a few of composer Danny Elfman’s dittys and the signature Banana Boat song….Meh.

Beetlejuice the animated series
These are just terrible. There are a few design flourishes that show some influence from the WB’s own Merry Melodies, but not enough of anything good to make them worth sittng through.

Episode 1: “A-Ha” Beetlejuice and Lydia try to solve a mystery.

Episode 2: “Skeletons in the Closet” Beetlejuice and Lydia get caught up in a web of lies.

Episode 3: “Spooky Boo-tique.” Beetlejuice and Lydia open a clothing store.

If you already own the previous iteration of the film on DVD then there really is no need to spring for the re-release. If you don’t own it but remember liking it from that time that you saw it years ago. Then rent it first.

Movie rating – 2.5

Disc Rating – 2.5

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