Customer Reviews: Beetlejuice
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on November 20, 2002
When this movie first came out about fifteen years ago, my father owned a video store and every Wednesday night was "Beetlejuice" night. I'm older now, obviously, but I still cannot get enough of this movie.
Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play Adam and Barbara Maitland, two Connecticut yuppies who die prematurely in a car wreck. Within a couple weeks, their home is overrun by an ultra-trendy New York City family, Charles and Delia Deetz, and their Goth daughter, Lydia (played respectively by Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara, and Winona Ryder). Adam and Barbara want their house back, and attempt to scare the Deetz's out of the house by wearing sheets and even by possessing them over dinner, making them sing and dance to Harry Belafonte's "Day O." Those attempts fail and enter Michael Keaton as Betelguese, "the afterlife's leading freelance bio-exorcist." The movie is dark without being scary and funny without being ridiculous.
In my opinion, one of the real gems in this film is the late Sylvia Sidney as Juno, Your Case Worker. Sidney was pushing eighty when this film was made, but turns in a great performance as the embittered equivalent of an afterlife social worker. Love how the smoke from her ever-present cigarette comes out of the slit in her throat.
If you've never seen this movie, see it. If you have seen it but don't own it on DVD, get it. The picture quality is better than ever.
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I love this film. Barbara and Adam Maitland, a young couple madly in love (played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) discover that they are not only dead but trapped in their home as ghosts waiting for the bureaucracy of the afterlife to set them free. When a New York couple (Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones) and their teenage daughter Lydia (wonderfully macabre Winona Ryder) move into their beloved house, the Maitlands want nothing more than to remove them. The problem is, the Maitlands are too nice to truly scare anyone. They meet a rogue ghost, the ribald, disgusting Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) who promises to drive the family away, with a few strings attached. Lydia, whose goals aren't that far from the Maitlands and who has a morbid, poignantly sad outlook, discovers the ghosts and tries to help them. But Beetlejuice has his own agenda.

The casting for this movie is perfect, with only Alec Baldwin's performance less than memorable. Michael Keaton is suitably slimy and decadent, while Geena Davis plays the earnest innocence of her character equally well. The most startling performance is a young Winona Ryder, who shows tremendous range in her role as the morbid but good-hearted Lydia.

One of the most hilarious, dark scenes ever filmed is contained in this movie, when the New York couple throws a pretentious dinner party and the Maitlands take over. Director Tim Burton uses sight gags, situational comedy, and one-liners that all bear his trademark quirkiness to make this film inventive and, even years after its release, fresh. What's most amazing in this film essentially about the weirdness of being dead is the emotional drive of it. The Maitlands' yearning to reclaim their home even in death and Lydia's wounded, lonely adolescence lend humanity to an otherwise wild comedy.

I highly recommend this off-beat film for its hilarity and irreverence. Parents of young children should be warned that the film contains off-color humor as well as images and ideas that might disturb young minds. -- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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on July 25, 2009
I had a hard time finding this information when I searched for it, so I thought I'd type it up in case anyone else was wondering what comes free with your new Blu-ray copy of "Beetlejuice":

1. Danny Elfman - "Main Titles"
2. Danny Elfman - "Enter ... 'The Family'/Sand Worm Planet"
3. Danny Elfman - "The Aftermath"
4. Danny Elfman - "Showtime!"
5. Harry Belafonte - "The Banana Boat Song" (worth the price of the Blu-ray disc itself!)
6. Danny Elfman - "End Credits"
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VINE VOICEon October 14, 2008
Why oh why do studios stamp "Deluxe Edition" on movies and then provide nothing to make it worthy of that title?????? I absolutely LOVE the movie Beetlejuice, and just about anything else Tim Burton has done. The Blu-ray version of this movie looks and sounds better than any version I've seen before. The colors are sharp and the sound is greatly improved over other DVD iterations I have seen before. The movie comes with a nice slipcover featuring the cover art in lenticular motion. That's about the only really special feature you are going to get on this disc. With it being the 20th Anniv. of this film, I thought that surely something would have been included about the making of the film, but there is NOTHING. There is no commentary track, no making of doc., no interviews with the cast.......NOTHING. Oh you do get 3 episodes of the Beetlejuice cartoon.....yaawwwwnn and the original theatrical trailer. I'm not complaining too much, because I do love this movie, and it is worth the price just to see it in High Definition. It just ticks me off a little when studios stamp the "Deluxe Edition" on the cover, when there is nothing Deluxe about it.
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on December 10, 2015
Haha....I hadn't seen this movie in years....well maybe decades but who is counting. My son hosted a movie night on the projector and invited a crowd. They laughed and giggled and had such a great night. It's an oldie but great to watch for some good old fashioned humor.
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on September 19, 2008
My one-star refers to this so-called "20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" of this hilarious and eye-popping delight from director Tim Burton.

Since the inception of the DVD format, I have been waiting for a proper DVD of Beetlejuice with commentary and special features.

I am sorry to say that this pathetic disc is NOT what I have been waiting for.

Though they supposedly have spruced up the picture, the ONLY special features are three Beetlejuice cartoons and I think some music track or something.

NO commentary, NO behind-the-scenes, NO nothing.

So -- NO sale.

I'm still waiting...
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on February 10, 2013
Alec Baldwin is everywhere, these days. Big, fat, old, Alec Baldwin. Like the rest of us, his age. Folks not familiar with the handsome Baldwin brothers will be shocked at the studly, youthful, Alec Baldwin in this film. Sadly, he's fully dressed for the entire film.

Oh well.

This is one of the early works of Tim Burton, and like pretty much all of his stuff, it's a twisted, delightful, piece of work.

A nice, decent, young married couple drive off a bridge avoiding a dog and find themselves haunting their own house. The house has been sold to a couple of city folks; the spineless husband is nice enough, but the grasping artsy wife and her entourage are as repellant as they are meant to be. Their daughter---a goth teen---however, can see the dead. And she meets up with our recently deceased couple. They, on the other hand, are finding it difficult to manage the transition to being dead, and while seeking "official" help, end up caving to the weakness of man's soul, by calling Beetlejuice, to help rid their old house of its new occupants.

Oh dear.

The film is pure entertainment, from beginning to end. A bit facile, too quick to please, a tad sweet, but that's only because we've seen later Tim Burton stuff, and we know where he went. Try to remember that when this came out, we didn't have that advantage.

Few directors these days turn out so many consistently good works in a single genre. Tim Burton is one I still pay money to see in the theater. And I love to watch this every now and then on DVD.
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on January 10, 2010
Beetlejuice has always been a family favorite. I was very glad to order this from Amazon. Unfortunately I thought I was ordering the 20th Anniversary edition shown in the picture with the special cover. NOPE.....I received just the standard Blu of the movie. I told Amazon over a month ago and they refuse to fix this ad. If you just want Beetlejuice...this is for you. If you are looking for what is shown in the picture, you won't get it.

???? What happened to false advertisement ????
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"Beetlejuice" announced the arrival for a lot of people of Tim Burton. He had already done the exceptionally funny Pee-wee's Big Adventure [Blu-ray] which promised some great things from this former animator. Although his career has had its ups launching pop culture franchises(Batman (20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book Packaging)--which took the gamble and won of casting Michael Keaton a quirky vision of The Dark Knight) and his downs Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray]--where he missed the entire point of what was so appealing in the original and in the material itself)but through it all he has remained an interesting director (even if he continues to have problems with the third acts of his films).

This "deluxe" 2008 reissue of the title on Blu-ray looks decent on Blu-ray although skin textures are a bit over smooth for my taste and detail not quite as sharp as I'd hoped. The colors DO pop and while depth a hallmark of an exceptional transfer is better than the DVD it's not all it could be. While this film is nearly 25 years old, there are OLDER films that Warner has done transfers for that look better in the departments of textures and depth. The audio sounds quite nice with an immersive 5.1 mix for the film.

The problem isn't with the film itself but in calling this a "special edition" at all--while we do get three episodes of the cartoon spin off as part of the extras along with an isolated music track, we don't get a commentary track nor a retrospective documentary on the making of this film which was important to the careeres of the three main actors--Keaton (it made him a star), Alec Baldwin (ditto) and Gena Davis (it helped her career quite a bit)as well as launching Burton into his own Steven Spielberg quirky orbit as someone who could get a film green lit just by his name attached to the project alone.

The image quality for the cartoons is so-so; it's clear that the show was assembled on video and it has all the flaws for a video to DVD transfer. The shows are presented in standard definition which makes sense given the format they came from and all.

So for those fans who just want a nice looking, inexpensive version of the film in high def this edition of "Bettlejuice" will fit the bill. For those (like myself) who like the bells and whistles that SHOULD be part of a special edition this is a bit disappointing given the popularity of the film. This edition reminds me of what happened when DVD was first introduced--we got the films with little in the way of special features and while, ultimately, the film is the most important element here for those who have seen it before, the special features would have refreshed the experience and made it somewhat new again.

I'd recommend this edition although I'm a bit disappointed more care wasn't taken in preparing the 20th Anniversary release of the film. Hopefully Warner will it get it perfect one of these days.

Five stars for the film, Four (as I can't know what the interpositive or negative looks like in terms of detail--some of the issues I mentioned COULD be due to the type of film stock used-- and my memory in seeing it in theaters is just that--an inaccurate memory) for the transfer and two stars for the special features.
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on July 14, 2016
4 Stars. Tim Burton [Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Big Fish (2003), and many more imaginative films] brings to life the dead with a remarkable and memorable film. Adam Maitland (a very young and skinny Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) are taking a stay at vacation to relax in their peaceful town in their old house that a realtor wants to sell. While returning from a trip to town, they swerve to avoid a dog, causing them to go off a bridge and drown. Now dead they are stuck in their house for 125 years, which is surrounded by sandworms. Soon after the Deetz family moves in with their daughter, Lydia (Winona Ryder), and start changing the house into a gaudy artistic mess. After seeking advice from their caseworker in the realm of the dead and the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, the Maitlands try to scare the Deetz family only to find that the Deetz want to meet them and exploit their ghost powers. Against the wisdom of their caseworker, they enlist Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) but find his ways to murderous. Then the Deetz’s family friend, Otho, tries to make the Maitlands appear, using the Handbook, and it goes horribly wrong. Lydia unleashes Betelgeuse to save them, but it turns out to be a disaster. This is Burton’s 2nd feature, and he doesn’t pull any punches. The movie is soaked with his visual style, including some stop motion animation, in a cross between weird, creepy, and funny. Like any of his movies, it’s a marvel to watch, but this one set the tone for what was to come. Since this was early in his career, the script was good, and Burton doesn’t ham it in like he has recently [Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Dark Shadows (2012)]. Michael Keaton shines the most as Betelgeuse in a performance that he probably won’t out perform but is barely on the screen. Needless to say, this is still classic Burton and a must watch. Burton has also announced a Beetlejuice 2, which will star Winona Ryder.
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